Senior Head's Blog: Adapting to the Changing World

Just over a week ago, the guidance was produced for what will happen in the summer, if exams are once again disrupted.  I am hopeful that this guidance will not be required, as I do feel that it is in the interests of most people that exams do go ahead again, although it will be impossibly difficult to compare the experience of young people across different parts of the country, and different schools.  Even within a single school, the experience of the last two years of education can be hugely different, and we should almost certainly be thinking more deeply about assessment in the coming years, and not just working to put back what was there before.

 


We are expecting exams to go ahead this summer.  We anticipate that the grading nationally will be more generous than it was back in 2018-19, but not as generous as it was for the summer just gone.  All of this creates challenges for Universities and Employers (what value should be attributed to the grades awarded?), and to the students themselves (how well have I really done?).  However, I believe that we should be looking at this in a different way, and instead thinking about what significance does the awarding of a grade have, and are there better ways in which we can determine the qualities that we want to see in our students or employees, or, perhaps most importantly, citizens?


I do understand that we cannot simply rip up the current system, and generate something that replaces it immediately, but I do feel that we should be working towards a system that recognises the personal qualities and values, and not just the ability to do well under exam conditions.  The world is changing rapidly, and the demands of the workforce are changing.  Schools could embrace that change, and now seems a very good time to be looking at whether our current exam driven approach is the right one for the decades ahead.  In the meantime, at Felsted, we remain committed to developing young people who have an aspirational academic education, but one that is balanced by a wide range of opportunities, and social development, to prepare them to make a difference as they move on to the world beyond Felsted.


Have a very good week.


Chris Townsend


 

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