This week for many colleagues has seen a return to school, with children coming into pristine, pimped schools – or building sites where promised building work has not been completed in time. For many people, 2 in my own household, this past week has seen a fresh start in a new school and whether an adult or child the anxieties remain; finding your way around, remembering who’s who, making the right impression, fitting in, being able to ‘show off’ what you can do (but not irritating people), avoiding early judgements that last forever – and that’s just part of my list!
However, one of the areas that all schools – regardless of sector or type, will focus on will be the Summer’s exam results. Whether KS2, GCSE, A Level, or any other type of exam that our children have to undergo there are a myriad of emotions. Clearly schools will strive to improve:
However, for some colleagues and children starting a new term can be daunting as for far too many there is so much baggage from their past that they carry. The ‘fresh start’ that many of us look forward to doesn’t materialise for them; either they have created a negative self image over time through which they perpetuate this belief, or because of others’ placing this burden on them. And when I say others, it can be teachers, peers or parents who are to blame; remembering past transgressions, comparisons to siblings, expecting too much (or worse, too little), constantly reminding of tests, etc, etc.
Therefore, for those staff and students who are ‘looking forwards’ to the impending long Autumnal and Winter nights (which seem to have started early this year!) I offer two examples of hope.
Over the Summer, like many, I enjoyed the exploits of the British Athletics Team in the world Championships, but particularly I loved watching the World Swimming Championships where Britain enjoyed unprecedented success – especially through Adam Peaty’s World Records in Breastroke.
Why does this group offer hope, in my opinion? Simply, because after London 2012 the team was vilified in many quarters for underperforming and not meeting [media and public] expectations. The Medal Table shows our ‘failure’
|Great Britain & N. Ireland||0||1||2||3|
As if they swimmers and coaches did not feel wretched enough at not meeting their own expectations, particularly in a home Olympics, they then had the ignominy of external scrutiny – sounds familiar to headteachers I’m sure! However, by learning from these mistakes and reviewing performance a new plan was formulated and, one year from Rio, in Kazan is appears to be working, as we have gone from 16th to 5th, 0 gold medals to 7!
World Aquatics Championships – medals table
|5. Great Britain||7||1||6||14|