6 June 2014

Being a parent is a steep learning curve, I’m sure the mothers and fathers reading this will agree. Not only are you imparting knowledge to your kids, but often they end up teaching you a thing or too as well! When it comes to their education though, it can be difficult to know which path to take.

league ladderHow do you know which school will best suit your children’s needs? I know a number of people who rely on league tables but is that really the best way to judge a school? I’m not convinced that, for a young person, it’s actually about the rankings. I would argue that it’s more about what they take away from school. It’s about the education and the experience. I’m reminded of this every time I see our own kids playing sport or up on stage playing a musical instrument.

Whilst I’m a firm believer in measuring success, I don’t think it’s fair to judge a school purely by its position in league tables, as exam results aren’t everything. For example, can a league table position tell you how many children who previously struggled ended up progressing and improving as a result of being at that school?

Perhaps if a school has climbed up the ladder after introducing a new inspirational head teacher or way of doing things, then you might feel confident about it. But does placing highly in a league table necessarily mean you’re any good at making children happy and dynamic or does it prove that you’re good at helping children to pass exams?

Personally, I think if you focus on league tables too much as a parent you’re missing a trick. Ultimately, it’s not about how many A’s or B’s a school can get overall. It’s about how many opportunities your child or children will be presented with and how much their teachers will invest in their personal and professional development.

The only way to measure education is by looking at society as a whole. If we aren’t motivating young people when they come out of school then we’re not getting it right.

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