As the weather continued to shine over Suffolk this weekend, most adults will be glad to have put their school exam days behind them – and especially what it meant to be revising when the weather was glorious.
Exams of course are not only a rite of passage but crucial in terms of each young person’s further opportunities.
Exam results are also used by parents of course to help decide which secondary school to choose for their children.
Every year, the Department for Education produces a plethora of figures on every school that have for many years been referred to as the ‘league tables’.
However, it is very much plural as there are many league tables depending on which of the many figures you want to consider.
But we know, and truly believe, that exam results only tell you part of the story when it comes to development and achievement.
Within Samuel Ward Academy Trust, we have been thinking about what success looks like and how to set our ambition over the next five years.
Of course, we want every school to do well in their exam results and Ofsted inspections. And naturally, we want to be an organisation where our staff love working and can be the great teachers that make great schools.
But we also want to achieve two wider ambitions to achieve a successfully rounded education system.
The first of these is that we don’t just want lots of pupils to achieve very well – we want to ensure every pupil does. These include young people who have individual and particular needs and those who struggle in their lives outside school.
One of the very best schools in our Trust is a special school and we are delighted to have been asked to open two more special schools.
We are discussing our ambition for 2023 in all our schools. The second big area where there is a lot of interest is in describing what makes a great education – beyond just achieving exam results.
For some, it’s the broad curriculum that ensures more than just a passing acquaintance with the creative and performing arts, for others it’s a wide participation in sport and exercise, the development of confidence and resilience and educating our young people in being ready for life with all its joys and demands.
It can also be the contribution to society that the best schools make, through fundraising or volunteering, or the understanding and active contribution to looking after our planet.
Of course, we want it all for our children. We are fortunate to have such skilled leaders and experienced, passionate and dedicated teams giving their all every day to try and achieve this.