Close

Twitter Wall

17/09/19

Retweeted From Carol Chandler-Thomp

Lovely morning at Wemyss Road- so rewarding to see the girls enjoying their inspiring spaces https://t.co/VYz2nqokRM

16/09/19

Retweeted From Sarah Skevington

Yr5 https://t.co/KeTdB1UAyM

16/09/19

Retweeted From Sarah Skevington

And more warriors https://t.co/QkZl3kqRQi

16/09/19

Retweeted From Sarah Skevington

Amazing work from Yr5 bringing maths into an environmental project - https://t.co/pTpX1vDCcf

16/09/19

Retweeted From Sarah Skevington

Great break time meeting with Head Girl team. We look for in our leaders and these four are full of it! https://t.co/qB11hHUFMU

12/09/19

Retweeted From Natalie Argile

So impressed with this prototype that one of our students made on her work experience at . https://t.co/Mtxc3N1EHw

12/09/19

Retweeted From Carol Chandler-Thomp

So much food for thought from our first lecture of term by - I particularly liked the thought that ‘Plan B doesn’t have to suck!’ Thank you so much for visiting and sharing your wisdom. https://t.co/RVtshTkKfT

11/09/19

Retweeted From Natalie Argile

Stumbled across this in the common room and I just love it 😊 https://t.co/wZarQ2wDvU

10/09/19

Retweeted From Carol Chandler-Thomp

What a treat - one-off special performance of Edinburgh fringe production! Hugely enjoyable 👏🏽 https://t.co/meiArFziZn

09/09/19

Retweeted From BlackheathHigh Sport

Fitness Club this morning!! What an amazing turn out for 7:30am! 💪🏼 https://t.co/JddMX7GoFx

06/09/19

Retweeted From GDST Skills

Fantastic day with students from for our Inspire Conference. Thank you to all our speakers, and especially to our new sixth formers for being so brilliant. https://t.co/VZ3ubvX1Cz

06/09/19

Words of wisdom on university applications, courses and utilising the GDST network from Blackheath alumna Liz Isaacs in the Alumnae Network session https://t.co/XPn4yzXg2V

06/09/19

Retweeted From Hayley Barnard

Thank you so much for letting me be part of your brilliant event again.

06/09/19

Retweeted From Natalie Argile

Autumn term club lists bursting at the seams https://t.co/C2rpJvyvzv

06/09/19

Retweeted From Norwich High

Mingle bingo! Great to see girls from a number of schools at today’s Inspire East conference https://t.co/LFUAEvyvOD

06/09/19

Motivating and practical tips on cultivating resilience from for Sixth Formers today at the conference at Churchill College in Cambridge https://t.co/TxIL0Ir3gv

05/09/19

Retweeted From Natalie Argile

Lucky Year 11 students off to see Macbeth for GCSE English. Great being so close to this! https://t.co/6B11D6HvTF

05/09/19

Retweeted From BlackheathHigh Sport

Starting the morning right with year 6 tag rugby 🏉 🌞 https://t.co/HNmatKkt7Q

05/09/19

Another spot on the shortlist for our inspired buildings. Congratulations https://t.co/RKjwKm1mKr

05/09/19

Off to a strong start in Year 7 Maths with a group "Unique Handshake" exercise to demonstrate triangular numbers 🤝🤝 https://t.co/xyiZns1gb1

05/09/19

Retweeted From BlackheathHigh Sport

Record breaking number of Year 7s at the Netball trials tonight! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 https://t.co/frFlnk8z69

04/09/19

As we start our second academic year in our beautiful new Senior school it isn't at all surprising that have been shortlisted in the Architects' Journal 2019 for their work on our stunning new buildings. Congratulations to the team! https://t.co/m6FTh28GKT

03/09/19

Retweeted From GRΔCΣ

👍This pic says it all! She had the “best day everrrr” & “it was amazing” thank you so much ⁦⁩ 🙏🏼 seniors 💐 🤩👍 https://t.co/u9yldy51BT

02/09/19

Absolutely stunning. Thank you so much for your generous support https://t.co/eCHRx7yqzT

02/09/19

Welcome back to school everyone! Thank you for the welcoming wave, featuring the stunning, newly installed, stained glass panels at the Junior School. https://t.co/AKvDwSSG4k

30/08/19

Our annual KS3 Art exhibition is just around the corner! Find out more here: https://t.co/zwe1UmuSqe https://t.co/fsDHMJhOa2

30/08/19

Retweeted From GirlsDaySchoolTrust

Your back-to-school checklist: Hopes ✔️ Dreams ✔️ Perseverance ✔️ Energy ✔️ Enthusiasm ✔️ Fun ✔️ Kindness ✔️ Imagination ✔️ Intellect ✔️ Wit ✔️ And pens. You can never have too many pens. 🖊️

23/08/19

Retweeted From GirlsDaySchoolTrust

All Ahead - girls achieve best ever results for their school! https://t.co/zfXc3b9lKD

22/08/19

So proud of our students' wonderful GCSE results, reflecting their hard work, dedication and talent. Read more here: https://t.co/51Vd7L1fjW https://t.co/8TacyAk8q7

22/08/19

What a year for Mia. From having her artwork selected to hang in the to star studded GCSE results, Mia commented “So surreal to see my artwork in the Royal Academy and so surreal to see my results here today” https://t.co/L6weaWp8OY

22/08/19

Trisha is celebrating straight 7/8/9 or A/A* grades and can’t wait to study Biology, Chemistry and Maths and pursue her dream of becoming a paediatrician. Well done Trisha! https://t.co/yAfXWc85KY

22/08/19

Miriam, who has just completed work experience at Cambridge University is celebrating 9 A*’s and an A and will go on to study French, Biology, Chemistry and Maths . Her puppy, Tess, was also overjoyed! https://t.co/AXLWrawE81

22/08/19

Dilmi is thrilled with 11 8/9/A*s and looking forward to studying Biology, Chemistry and Maths with a view to studying Medicine at University https://t.co/TBW7MQVym7

22/08/19

It is an honour to be able to celebrate our best ever GCSE’s with students as they receive their phenomenal results. We’re so proud of all of you, girls! https://t.co/S4tS5OuG7s

22/08/19

Retweeted From Steven Henderson

Very best wishes to all students collecting results today. Please come in via Westcombe House from 9am.

20/08/19

Our new Year 7 summer school is in session! This morning we've been enjoying icebreakers, drama sessions and everyone's looking forward to getting crafty in this afternoon's art class https://t.co/MVO18bKedS

19/08/19

Congratulations to our unstoppable alumna Saffron Coomber on being shortlisted in The Stage Debut Awards 2019. Join us in voting for Saffron in the Best West End Debut category here: https://t.co/mP5gOvpHxb

15/08/19

Retweeted From GRΔCΣ

Such lovely accreditations to all the girls for their hard work. Big thanks to the school & all the wonderful teachers & staff for everything they’ve done over the years, truly exceptional, marvellous school 🙏🏼 https://t.co/zBuDtgd1hp

15/08/19

This year we have students leaving us to study everything from Law to Politics, Medicine, World Performance and Aerospace Technology with Pilot Studies. Well done to everyone! Full results day story & photo gallery here: https://t.co/azF7hEFqKW https://t.co/alutaYHc1f

15/08/19

Excelling in English, Zoe will be going on to study English at Cambridge. If anyone is more thrilled by this news than she is, surely it’s our English teachers Ms Beecham and Ms Chandler https://t.co/1UW3XXrBq2

December 13

League tables and the illusion of Parent Power

It is argued that the aim of the annual publication of the 'Parent Power' league tables in the Sunday Times is to provide parents with an informed choice. Armed with a rank order based on percentages of A*-A, SATs scores, choices can be made for secondary and primary school based on cold hard evidence. Well, this is partially true. League tables have utility, they tell you the grades achieved by students in a school in a certain year in public examinations. Sometimes, they even refer to the previous year’s results so that you can gauge year-on-year progress. It is a great celebration of a really impressive achievement of many students and the hard work of teachers in schools.

Unfortunately, that is about all you can tell from League Tables. Suggesting that this limited array of information puts ‘power’ in the hands of parents is a little misleading as it is really just presenting some of the information, as if it were all of the information. This is a classic case of ‘valuing what we can measure’ as opposed to measuring what we value.

Speaking to most parents, all the qualities they really truly value in a school are not visible in these kind of league tables. As a teacher, I have taught in schools at the very top of the league tables, but also those not at the top. All these schools were and are, great schools. A more sophisticated judgement is needed.

Absolute measures, such as percentages of A*, do not demonstrate the progress made by students as they have moved through school. A highly selective school may have a predominance of students whose baselining testing indicates that they are already highly likely to achieve A*s when they arrive in Year 7. It is extremely hard for any school to ‘add value’ in this situation, although of course, students still have to be well taught to reach their predicted A*. In a school with a wider range of abilities, however, a student may arrive in Year 7 with a baseline prediction of a ‘B’ or a ‘C’ but eventually achieve an ‘A’. This grade is not as seemingly impressive as the A*, but the rate of progress and ‘value-added’ is extremely impressive. Great schools work to help every student flourish and aim high, but unfortunately that cannot be reflected in a league table such as ‘Parent Power’. Arguably, you learn more about the selectivity of the admissions process than the effectiveness of the school when only considering outcomes without context. Recently St Olave’s Grammar in Kent came under fire for its policy to ask ‘failing’ Year 12 students to leave the school mid-way through their A-levels in the interests of preserving league table dominance. If a league table place can only be preserved by ruthless exclusion, not inspiration and great teaching, something is going seriously wrong; the student is no longer at the heart of the school. To quote Margaret Attwood: “context is all.”

The plethora and complexity of different testing regimes has also muddied the waters. If a Junior School, such as my own, chooses not to subject 11 year-olds to SAT tests, they simply do not appear in the Primary tables at all, even though the education they are offering is absolutely superb. The impossibility of comparison within a jungle of qualifications (IGCSE, GCSE, Grade 9 with A*, A-level with IB) exacerbates this muddiness no end.

This is only to focus on public examinations, but a great education is about so much more. Sending students out into the world with a clutch of exam certificates and nothing else, is not a great education; they will falter at the first real hurdle. Students need to be confident networking and speaking to people from all different walks of life; they need to present publicly; they need to be resilient to life’s challenges; they need to be creative problem solvers and team-players, they need confidence. All this comes from a genuinely balanced and engaging curriculum and co-curriculum. These are not visible in league tables.

Lastly, the least measurable quality of a great school, but probably the most important, is its values and ethos. Is it a place that a student can genuinely discover their own personal qualities, feel valued and build positive and genuine relationships with peers and adults? Can they be happy and develop their appreciation of non-material aspects of life? It is totally impossible to measure these qualities of a school, but they can make or break a student’s experience. This can only be appreciated in person, through absorbing the atmosphere and sense of community in a school, not through the centre pages of a weekend supplement.

So keep the tables in their place: a tiny part of a very big story.

Also In the News