Our Head, Mrs Stephanie Piper, was featured in the September issue of Twickenham Magazine discussing the new opportunities brought by the start of the academic year to expand how and what we teach. We are pleased to share the full article below. You can also view the full article here on page 46 of Twickenham Magazine’s online edition.
September is always such an exciting fresh start in school, a time to press reset and take the opportunity to refocus on what makes a great education. We have just been through yet another turbulent results season, with a mixed bag of GCSE and A-level results across the UK. The usual questions have taken place about the efficacy of these exams. While the results are useful, and an important benchmark, they can only provide a very narrow measure of the attainment of our pupils. Education is much more than the ability to perform under exam conditions on a given day.
It is through a broader education that we equip our children with the skills to flourish in the modern world. It is a world where much information can be found at the touch of a screen, what employers require is skills and the character traits to enable them to navigate a fast-moving working and social environment. In 2015 Nicky Morgan, then Secretary of State for Education, argued that developing grit and resilience in pupils is as important as a sound academic grounding. This idea has entered the mainstream in recent years: employers are increasingly relying on their own psychometric tests which identify such character traits in candidates.
The Covid years shone a light on what builds character. Teachers and pupils who faced teaching and learning in a dramatically different way, the lost social interactions of the playground, classroom and shared endeavour of clubs and societies that is such an integral part of school life. It is through these that schools develop resilience, leadership, kindness, respect and compassion in their pupils. Plus, a curriculum which flexes and bends to support the individual, supporting learning and providing opportunities for each child to develop these key character traits. Schools recognise that skills such as the ability to face challenges cannot just be taught in one lesson but need to form part of a carefully prepared environment where children are confident that they are safe to fail. Let the media focus on the results. As we start a new year, schools should focus on the work that goes into developing that character which will give the next generation the skills to thrive in the future.