A record – best ever or steepest decline

As dawn on Thursday 25 August broke, the news channels were welcoming GCSE students and their families with best wishes prior to visiting school to collect their personal GCSE results. The narrative this year is different because the government has changed so many of the ground rules about what the exam boards are able to publish and how they (the DfE) are going to measure school performance.

Here’s the editor of Schools Week’s, Laura Mcinerny, take on the matter, writing on the 24 August: “Not having knowledge of these headline measures tomorrow will be massively annoying for school leaders trying to work out how well they did nationally”. It has not been annoying just to school leaders but to the press as well, so instead they find the following headline to run from about 10am:

BBC headline

So that’s typical of lazy journalism for you, seeking a fear and doom headline to attract clicks and attention.

Before I continue with the above ‘bad news’ stuff, I’d just like to confirm that Claires Court students have had an excellent year, beating all sorts of previous high tide marks in specific subjects, and more generally, doing very well thank you kindly.

We are a school that values the talents in all of its children and our 108 Year 11 students cover the full ability spectrum. For 90% to gain 5 or more GCSEs indicates outstanding outcomes for the cohort, reflecting the hard work put in by our students, teachers, and it must be said families, over the past 2 years. Elsewhere will see overall % pass rates stall as GCSEs revert to terminal examinations only, yet I am delighted that so many top grades  have been achieved across our really broad and innovative curriculum offer. We don’t narrow choices and the breadth of these successes means our students are able to proceed into Sixth Form studies in a myriad of subject styles and mix.  Boys get a really bad press at this time of the year, given their failings nationally to demonstrate high levels of  academic achievement, but when 93% gain 5 or more GCSEs, a school record performance in the last 10 years, that does need mentioning! Boys and girls will be rightly celebrating when they open their results this morning, and actually if their results are not quite as high as they would like, after 5 years in a good school, maybe this is indicating that a different subject mix of approach is needed for that next set of steps. 

The Independent Schools Council publish our results next week, and good though our results are, ISC vet our work for quality assurance purposes. You’ll already know the DfE do not accept that at least half of the GCSE taken by Independent Schools are to be included in their data trawl, and schools such as Eton are recorded as having Zero% gaining 5 or more GCSEs. This winter when DfE reports on school results, it is to ignore our sector completely, Praise the Lord, so the ISC published data becomes even more important as a source of information on school performance.

Here’s Laura Mcinerney at the close of her article: “As schools are judged by a series of measures, rather than just the 5A*-C grade pass rate, and as those results get harder to work out (which they will in upcoming years due to more changes) it means the focus of results day will go back to where it should be. The hard work of pupils and their teachers. All we will be able to tell is that individuals got the grades they needed for the next step, or they didn’t. And concentration can go on ensuring everyone is going to an appropriate course, job, college, university, whatever, that will best help them learn the next things they need to learn”.

Now back to that ‘lazy journalism’. The decline in performance does not mean that pupils are doing worse or that standards have risen. Actually no one really knows what this set of one-off figures means for sure but in essence the big changes are:

From this summer, State schools are being measured for their attainment and progress measures against a narrow basket of subjects, and Science, History or Geography and a Language are all in there. BTEC is no longer permissible at this level, so there has been a massive increase on 22.5% entry in Science GCSEs for example. Likewise, Geography, History and Languages are really demanding disciplines, and if candidates are switched in to them from non-exam based courses because of the new system, then expect to see an apparent drop in pass rates, because more weaker students have been returned to these core disciplines. So it is not a real decline, just indicative of the narrowing of the curriculum in state schools so that they meet the performance targets set for them.

As ever, we now have the target becoming more important than the process, which is not an approach that I welcome for our country’s state schools, and the headlines that results are getting worse is a crap welcome to the day for those opening their GCSE envelopes today.

And finally for the record:

CCresults2016

 

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“Building a better Britain.”

An open letter to our Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP.

Dear Theresa,

Firstly, on behalf of the Claires Court community, may I congratulate you on becoming the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.  You have been Maidenhead’s only MP ever, since 1997; before then, the constituency used to be shared with Windsor, whose castle of Royal residence for reasons of history and heritage somewhat overshadows our larger suburban town to its north.

MaidenheadMapMaidenhead…perhaps Maydenhead now…has developed into the town we know, because of its central importance as a transport hub in the South East. The River Thames, navigable at Maidenhead, was the way long distance transport of goods and chattels could take place. The Bath Road, in its heyday carrying almost 100 coaches a day fed, watered and stabled, the large stone bridge over the River cutting the journey time down considerably than on the old route south of Windsor. Brunel’s great bridge over the Thames permitted trains to thunder in ‘Rain, Steam and Speed’ as depicted by J.M.W. Turner in 1844, in a painting that captures both bridges. And of course now, the presence of many of the world’s leading companies are based in the area, assisting us in the use of the superfast, broadband digital highway that now spans the globe.  I have learned this over the past 4 days from one of our 12 groups of Year 10 students researching how their lives are shaped and changed by the circumstances around them. It seems very odd to mention this,  coinciding as it has done with such a period of tumultuous change for you!

turner_-_rain_steam_and_speed_-_national_gallery_file

Maidenhead’s 2 bridges over the River Thames, as depicted in “Rain, Steam and Speed” by J.M.W Turner (1775-1851), to be found in the National Gallery, London.

I watched you speak on the TV on Wednesday night.  You called our country to attention, you asked us to believe that your government will show it has listened to the outcomes of the recent referendum.  Central to your message, you had this to say:

“We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.”

Prime minister, you know our school well; you have visited on a number of occasions, presented prizes and awards, been interviewed by our BBC school reporters, listened to our pupils across the age range and shown us, as you have so many other in our constituency, that you take your responsibilities as our local MP seriously and with goERAyerod humour.  Here are you being interviewed by Ellie Rayer back in 2011, then aged 13, talking about your pride on bringing to the town a local minor injuries clinic, the value of local sports clubs for the development of our youth and the value of volunteering to the health of our local area.

Ellie went on to become our Head Girl, is now studying Sport Science at Loughborough University, and plays international hockey for England. She is one of many children who have emerged from our broad ability independent school, whose core ambition matches yours for your government, to do everything we can to develop the talents in our young people. Ellie was back at school this week, volunteering  with other former pupils in the summer vacation, to give back to the school and wider community.  They are doing as you have asked them to, inspired by your clear sense of purpose.

72785499_130923seymour23We have had other fantastic visitors this week, meeting differing groups of our children dependent upon age and stage. At our secondary girls sports celebration on Monday night, Dr Natalie Seymour, hockey international, triathlete and now professional iron man encouraged our girls to take every opportunity and have no regrets. Dr Seymour’s day job as a clinical psychologist is spent in urban London with some of the most damaged young men of our times, helping them come to terms with their illness and showing them their road to recovery.

row-img_3541-copy-300x200At our junior girls prize giving, Julia Immonen, founder of the Sport for freedom charity inspired our girls to sit up, take notice and do something special to resist the growing presence of modern day slavery that our economy can’t help but encourage. Young people can be trapped into car wash work, begging on the streets, or working in sweatshops. How could the girls not be inspired when someone like Julia speaks to them about her own challenge to row the atlantic, which she did so successfully in 2011, in order to highlight the blight of human trafficking. .

At the Junior boys prizegiving, you would have been so proud of the 160 boys summer musical, an original production written by their teacher, Linda Stay, in which they sang loud and clear about the need to learn to treat others, boys, girls, those unclear of their gender, of all colours, faiths and nationalities as equal and to converse with them and make a better society.  You have been brave enough to choose a new Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, not just because of being the first SoS drawn from a comprehensive background.  It was Justine who tweeted only last month this celebration of her own domestic circumstances:

Greening tweet

I can’t tell you how important this statement is, to the British values agenda we are proud to deliver here in school.  Those predecessors in the Department of Education, recently Nicky Morgan, and before her Michael Gove, have said lots of pious soundbytes, but they have collaborated in undermining most that teachers and pupils hold dear, that being to work together for success and to take pride in their community.

JMSThe headmaster of our Junior School, Justin Spanswick, spoke on Wednesday this week of the extraordinary damage wrought on our state primary schools. Now almost 50% of our children have failed to achieve the target expected of them for English and Maths.  “Was that their fault?” he asked. “Certainly not”, he continued, and then explained that the sudden change in ground rules for assessing what’s needed to pass was not caused by the teachers or the children, but by the Secretaries of States misplaced trust in whim and fancy, rather than grounded in pedagogic evidence and academic understanding. This unnecessary mania for testing is set to reach new lows when the new Year 7s could be asked to resit these tests to ensure that catch up with the standards required. That’s 50% of them, Theresa, and that would add insult to injury.

A range of experienced guests judged the year 10’s extensive group project work work on the way they might rise to meet the challenges of the modern era. The winning boys entry was from a combined Drama and Music group, subjects not considered in anyway important enough to be included in the Ebacc measure Mr Gove and Mrs Morgan have pedaled as being vital to the health of our education economy for the future. What made the entry so remarkable was not just the excellent blend of modern technology and  performance skills on show, but the text they based their project on, that being the last published yet uncompleted work of William Shakespeare, “The Book of Sir Thomas More”. In a series of speeches written by Shakespeare 400 years ago, Thomas More makes the argument for the humane treatment of those being forced to seek asylum by being expelled from their home land. Just read here how bad our reputation was as a place of asylum for Immigrants from Northern Lombardy (Italy) travelling over to England in 1517.

“Nay, anywhere that not adheres to England, shakespeare

Why, you must needs be strangers, would you be pleas’d
To find a nation of such barbarous temper
That breaking out in hideous violence
Would not afford you an abode on earth.”  You can read more here.

What is remarkable about the way we encourage our pupils to work is that they create beauty and depth from ‘chaos and ignorance’, not just spout a litany of cant that I know annoys you so much.  It is with reason that Ken Clarke has made unguarded remarks about you being a “bloody difficult woman”.  As the press have all made clear this week,  you loathe any sense of impropriety in public service, of sloppy and self-serving behaviour leading to injustice.  If I may take you back to Shakespeare for a moment, we do have some really hard work to do to impress Europe that we are not a nation of racist bigots, and sadly in recent years, the cronies in government have let down so many.  We all know you have done your best to include women into careers in parliament, and forced your own party to recognise its ‘nasty’ face.  As Prime Minister, I do encourage you to keep on this tack, as we know only you have the courage and spine to deal with it.

Theresa, there are some that say this Independent school cannot speak for all of education, because by our very nature we are ‘exclusive’, requiring of our parents that they pay fees, beyond the reach of most.  Our Nursery is of course open access to all, and many of the parents of the other 1000 children, many being nurses, policemen, shopkeepers and teachers like me, might reply that “these costs are choices we make for the benefit of our children, because first above all for anyone must be an outstanding education”. This independent school is training 15 teachers currently, we have vocational education and apprenticeships seen as important here as A levels and University entry. We commence our undergraduate programme in September, in partnership with the University of Winchester, so we can develop even more key workers as experts in Childhood Studies. Claires Court is a microcosm of all that is fine and noble in English education, perhaps as our area is too, with its rivers, industries, natural beauty and business bustle.  We’d love to help more, from all financial backgrounds, but as we are like Maidenhead itself as a constituency, the first school of our kind, our ‘newness’ does not give us the resources to reach everyone.

As a conservative, you were not voted for by those whose ballot spoke for Liberal Democrat, or Labour or other political hue. But you have made it clear that whatever the majority vote, you are going to represent that majority view.  It’s not just that ‘Brexit means Brexit’, but that you plan to champion those “left behind”, people struggling financially who voted to leave the EU because they didn’t see how things could get worse.  In educational terms, honestly, I am so pleased you have come to power because we in education have been traduced by that loathing of ‘experts’ that Michael Gove used to such good effect in the referendum. I understand perhaps as well as any that you are both willing to listen and change your mind to well reasoned argument.  Please permit us to help, to demonstrate and to be part of the nation’s solution for education. I have no doubt that if you could include our sector as an offer for all of our children, standards would indeed rise immeasurably.

In conclusion, I don’t expect you to concentrate on this small beacon of excellence you know well in your constituency any time soon. But as and when you turn your attention to education, as you so surely will, I’d ask you to remember us here back at Claires Court, and that we continue to model effectively that any good school can look after the whole of the children, can focus on building character first, establish a modern values system that transcends faith and class, culture and nationality, whilst still concentrating on delivering world class academic results and sporting success. As world skeet champion, Amber Hill goes off to represent Claires Court, Maidenhead, Great Britain in the Olympics in Brazil, you and I will both be supporting her ambition to bring back Gold. And we know that she stands every chance, because she has worked at her skills for many years, and she now has the opportunity to express her talents to the full.

We have our own challenges of course now, as we set out to expand and consolidate our school on one campus.  In normal times, we’d have expected you to have shown up and taken an interest, because you so often do, but we will forgive you this once; last weekend had its own priorities! But in case you missed all news, our neighbours and community reacted both with excitement and caution. Our nearest neighbours have to cope with our need for change, and we’ll respect their views and work hard to convince them that all is not to become a mudbath and traffic jam.

In conclusion, as with so many things, it’s an ill will that blows no good, and the circumstances leading to the self-destruction of both the Cameron administration and the Corbyn opposition have opened the door for your ‘kind’ of administration.  The news tells us you are building a very new government, and we have every faith that you will take this opportunity.  We wish you good luck and God’s speed. You’ll need both of course, and some extra friends in addition from time to time. You know where to find us if you need our help.

All best, James

 

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Claires Court win the Fawley Cup at Henley Royal Regatta

CCBC2016hrrMedalsThe Henley Standard published this report of the race shortly after it was raced at 3.50pm on Sunday 3 July 2016.

FAWLEY 3.50 Claires Court Sch. vs The Windsor Boys’ Sch. – A local Maidenhead / Windosr derby between two school boy quads. A tough 7 minutes for these boys. Quality sculling from both crews as they come along the Island.

At the Barrier the crews are neck and neck with the boats surging in unison. A very mature performance from both crews, stroke for stroke.

Previously won by Sir William Borlase school, Claires Court are aiming to make this the thrid major winin a row. Claires Court have a slight advantage by about 2fft on the Berkshire station, at Fawley but then Windsor boys push through at Upper Thames. The lead swaps as they trade the lead within 10 strokes.

At the Remenham Club the crowds are yelling and Claires Court gain an advantage again.

CCBC2016hrrHitting the wall of sound at Enclosures both crews increase the rate. Claires Court push through to a length lead. Can Windsor boys respond? Claires Court seize the initiaitive at the Grandstand and push through to the line. Both crews lift again in the last 30 strokes of the race and Claires Court hold on to the length distance they gained. Gladitorial racing at its best.

Claires Court Sch. beat The Windsor Boys’ Sch.

The Claires Court Quad comprised:

Finlay Gronmark at Stroke, Jonathan Cameron at 2, Alex Richardson at 3, and Oliver Costley at bow. Coaches Tom Jost and Chris Clarke.

This Claires Court Quad has also won the School’s Head at Putney and the National School’s Cup at Dorney, winning the coveted ‘Triple’ crown.

Following the event, in  the subsequent GB trials, Findlay and Oliver won selection to the final GB junior squad – Jonathan and Alex are already at that level.

I can only express the entire school community’s admiration for the work of these boys and their coaches. In 2012, under the new Rowing Development plan, we targeted one of these titles to be achieved within 4 years. To win all 3 is extraordinary!

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Consultation – not Presentation

Claires Court opens its junior school’s doors on Friday afternoon 2pm t0 4pm to our own parents and on Saturday from 10am to 2pm to our neighbours, to consult with them on our proposals for the future development of our school on a one site solution.

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Sovereignty v the Economy

Thursday 23 June was polling day in the EU referendum. As I write this post at 5am on Friday morning, 24 June, the votes are not all in but the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union, by an expected margin of 52% Leave against 48% remain.

Secondary pupils were able to post their poll via the school ‘Hub’.  The turn out was small, circa 25%, but their vote was overwhelmingly in favour of ‘Remain’.  Here’s the pie chart of the outcome:

CCPoll2362016

The young boys and girls of course were not Childternable to vote in the ‘real’ referendum, unless they were 18 years of age. As it happens, in terms of the geographical areas of the country in which our pupils live,  their vote followed in the main how our local constituencies voted. The majority vote went to remain in RBWM, Wycombe, South Oxfordshire, Chiltern and Wokingham. South Bucks, Slough and Bracknell Forest voted to leave, giving us a pictorial spread of our school’s catchment area looking as opposite.

The detail spread of voting went as follows:

RBWM etc

It’s a short post this; early in the morning and a sense of ‘awe’ has struck me.  In this Royal Borough, we have clearly voted as Clinton’s aide and campaign campaign strategist James Carville coined “It’s all about the Economy stupid”.

Well clearly it is not, as far as the country is concerned. 48% consider that, but the turn vote of an extra 4% think it differently. JM Barrie had his Peter Pan say “To die would be an awfully big adventure”. I do sincerely hope that those that lead our country from this day forth have amazing navigation skills, as they pilot our country into such uncharted waters, because to say that we are to face uncertain times is very much an understatement. We are a Sovereign nation, and as things turn out, that’s the route we have chosen, to be distinct from our neighbours and separate in our future. So be it.

Anyway – as life goes on:

Claires Court Old Boys Cricket match is taking place tonight Friday 24 June from 5.45pm at our Taplow playing fields.

Saturday 25 June – Claires Court PTA Summer Fete at Claires Court Junior Boys from 12 noon to 4pm.

Hopefully see you there, and of course happy to talk to anyone about our own exciting journey, announced in this week’s Maidenhead Advertiser. That is a big story too!

CCNewschool

 

 

 

 

 

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Banners – #Remain and ‘The Great Outdoors’

#Spoiler alert – Most of this post will be history after Midnight 23 June 2016

I can’t be the only one that feels something significant is expected of the great British Public today, Thursday 23 June. There are banners in the Town, and posters in home windows – and wall to wall coverage in the Press on the TV and Radio. The debate around the Referendum on Britain’s choice to #remain as part of the EU or to #brexit hit full crescendo last week; only to be silenced in mid step by the appalling murder of a member of our Parliament, Jo Cox. The method by which her death came about is too gruesome for me to write without better evidence – let’s permit wikipedia to suffice:

“On 16 June 2016, Cox was shot and stabbed multiple times in Birstall, where she had been due to hold a constituency surgery. She died from her injuries about an hour later. A 52-year-old man who self-identified as a white nationalist[6]was arrested in connection with the attack”

Much has been written around the circumstances leading up to her murder, of appalling abuse she received via any media outlet you care to mention, threatening her life for months. Her bravery in the face of such hostility it seems is shared by many of our MPs; their standing ovation for Mrs Cox in Parliament on Monday this week testament to their understanding that they had shared their work space with one ‘incredible’ fellow member, whose humanity for all in the world so obviously shone through in everything that she said, did and wrote about. #Respect.

My personal decision for Thursday has always been to #Remain. It’s not that I can’t see the angle that the #Leave campaign take on the matter.  I simply don’t see that any of our current problems we face can be sorted by leaving the very good company of our fellow citizens of the European  Union. The mass migration across the world we currently witness won’t cease globally just because Britain exits from the EU. Currently, the British border is the other side of the channel, and if we were to leave Europe, then the border comes to our side of the Channel.  Hurrah – at a stroke we close the Refugee camp in Calais.  And reopen it in Dover, Folkestone and environs. Inevitably I know we will take a huge financial hit, and there’s no need for us to reduce our GDP by 20/30/40 billion, just to stop paying Europe £8 billion or so.  Simon Schama CBE is an English historian specializing in art history, Dutch history, and French history. He is a University Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University, New York, a Brit, and his article I have linked to with the picture above is worth reading for the clarity of argument he gives for us remaining in Europe – as a beacon of tolerance.

Alongside the  honest Brexiteers, there are some really very nasty bed-fellows to boot, some of them inside political parties of a persuasion I can’t trust, plus some fascist nationalists and criminal thugs  whose other ‘policies/beliefs’ disturb me greatly.  The #Remain campaign juxtaposed Farage and his party’s nasty advert showing a queue of 2015 migrants alongside similar memes from the Nazi regime of

the ’30s. They too had no time for immigrants, foreigners, those of faith, those of none, those whose sexuality differed from the norm, for the sick, the disabled, the old and the weak. And for the last 80 years Britain has been brave enough to think differently. Education, Health, Care, Tolerance and Inclusion have been the bywords for what stands for the British values we are asked to hold dear – indeed we have to teach them really fully in our schools, so that radicalisation of a different kind is not aided and abetted.

 

Whether you be ‘for’ or ‘against’, we will be the wiser for this campaign. Our individual vote, for once, will be counted as such. And we have surfaced all the grossest lies and untruths that our society holds as ‘truths’.  I don’t like what we have seen, and neither do so many others, and I for one believe that a more tolerant society will emerge. After all, (and I believe them to be men of their word), neither Boris nor Nigel actually believe we are diminished by the diversity of the many nationalities that live in Britain in 2016.

Talking of Banners Advertising Good Things – here’s ours: \|/

CaptureAnd we need a breath of fresh air come Friday, once all the electioneering and all that stuff is done. From 11am on Friday, Chair of CCJB PTA, Emma Robertson and her team are assembling our PTA Summer Fete – ‘The Great Outdoors’ for Saturday 25 June from 12 noon. Everybody whose anybody in our school will be there, we hope, as will some amazing Gundogs and their keeper, so please if you are free and local to Maidenhead, feel free to come along and enjoy an amazing afternoon of British Country fete. Licensed bar, Pimms tent, BBQ and all things British are on show, stalls run by the boys and girls and all.

By all means ask us for a Souvenir wrist band, if you wish – just £2 on the door to gain entry.

PTA Arm Band1

And finally … Old Boys Cricket  … Friday 24 June from 5.30pm

On Friday evening, 5030 pm onwards the older ‘old boys’ are playing the younger ‘ old boys’ at our Taplow playing fields, SL6 0NR, Phoenix & Claires Court Sports Club, Institute Road Taplow. Messrs Wilding Jnr and Hammerton are leading out the old and young alike, in a smash and grab limited overs game.

Oldest boys:

Tom Wilding
Will Ballantyne
Simon Ball
Donald Pike
Gareth Miller
Michael Walters
Piers Morgan
Patrick Randell
Patrick Bose
Martyn Goddard
Brad Pennington

Umpires:
Alan Sibley
Trevor Sharkey

 

 

 

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Work matters – linking the worlds of Education and Employment.

I am delighted to announce that Claires Court has received The Education 2
Employment Award, a nationally recognised accreditation for our work in providing

E2Eaward

  • High Quality, impartial careers guidance to all pupils;
  • Encouragement to our pupils to develop professional values whilst in education with us;
  • Ensuring our pupils are well prepared for the next stage of their employment, self-employment or training.

 

This excellence in Careers provision at Claires Court is not new; we have offered all Year 10 independent careers reports for at least 25 years now, which assist in summarising on an individual level where pupils talent, interest and aspirations might take them in terms of further and higher education and/or the world of work. The report itself is provided by Cambridge Occupational Analysts, COA for short, and you can read more about their work here.

3 Year’s ago, the cross party House of Commons Education Select committee made it clear that the government’s removal of Careers Education from local authorities had backfired completely, leading to a  “worrying deterioration” in the overall standard of careers advice.  The Connexions Careers service was reduced from providing human visits to schools and advice clinics, to an on-line website – the National Careers Service.

Such reductionism is almost always the outcome of spending reviews, in short authorising a substantial reduction in the quality of service because ‘new ways’ of working can provide. As the then  chair of the Education committee Graham Stuart said: “”We want a face-to-face guidance to be available to all young people as an integral part of a good quality careers service. They deserve and should receive far better support than current arrangements generally allow.”

Our Careers Adviser, Helen Cole, is a senior sector professional working within Careers Education, and is linked to all of our heads of year and attends many of the parents evenings involving Years 9 and above.  Helen and I both feel that independent careers education is essential in supporting children enter adulthood with a great chance of enjoying happy and fulfilled lives, and like many who work with us, Helen has been part of the expert independent visitors team for many years now.  Helen directly works with our children during Year 9 when they are making subject choices for  GCSE and every year thereafter.  The Careers Report debriefing at the start of Year 11 is a really important piece in the jigsaw, often perhaps the first time that parents and children have worked together to review what the child’s ‘data metrics’ say.

Back to the E2E award; it lasts for 3 years, and permits us to advertise that our provision is of the highest quality. We are already looking to see how to move greater ownership from adults to children in developing their career pathway, and enterprise education is one of the key responsibilities Assistant headteacher Steph Rogers carries within Claires Court. Of course many of our Sixth Form leavers seek to go on to enjoy elite University education, but there is a significant minority that know they need to go to work for their next step. This is not because they won’t get the grades; far from it. What the students are seeking to do is start earning, learn more whilst they work and perhaps look at further vocational qualifications en route. After all, with that University experience likely to give rise to a £40k debt, there’s plenty of incentive for talented youngsters to avoid that cost if the world of work wants them badly. And increasingly, work is stating just that; “some to us with your A levels and we’ll help you qualify whilst working!”

For those interested in reading more on what makes careers education so vital in schools, here’s Dr Adam Marshall, Executive Director of Policy and External Affairs at the British  Chambers of Commerce writing in a recent Education Magazine:  “No one wins if we have a generation of young people lost to unemployment, or an inadequate talent pool for UK companies”.  Page 18 if you are interested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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