It's been a bit of a week in the Minerva household. First was the turn of the Eldest daughter who received her A2 results last Thursday. They were, thank goodness, super so the day which also happened to be her 18th birthday did turn out to be a good one. This Thursday comes the turn of my twin daughters who receive their GCSE results. I am a bit of a worrier, to be fair, and I am not just worried about the grades in an absolute sense but also about the relative equality.
There is another question though as well. My daughters go to private schools. I don't justify it, but they do and their results and the results of their fellow students are outstanding. My eldest daughters' friends all achieved their offers several with the same kind of fantastic results that my daughter obtained, A*s aplenty. I teach at a State school - a reasonable State school where our results are improving massively but they are still low.
I keep going over and over this again and again. Why are our results so much worse? Yes there are some parents/boys who are difficult (it is a boys' only school.) but the dedication and time that the staff put into the school are just the same or even more so than the private. There is a dearth of extra curricular activities at our school as teachers seem to focus on their lessons, and their marking which is as it should be, shouldn't it? In research, class sizes have been shown to have nothing to do with achievement but I do feel that although it may not ostensibly be a class size issue, there are associated issues which may impact on the grades the students gain. An example of this would be quick feedback. Research shows that quick marking of work is a factor in achievement, and a class of 12 is obviously quicker and easier to mark in depth than a class of 30 especially in English, for example.
But this can't be the only answer. I am determined, however, for this to be personal mission. I want to be part of a school where our results are as good as, or better than independent schools. Where the faces of the students who open their letters on results day are beaming with smiles, and where their parents, like this one, cry with pride.
The question, and it is a huge question, is how? Every journey starts...etc.