You may have seen in the news this week that the latest secondary school league tables have been released. While it’s interesting to see the data in this table and compare school, for me they are flawed. That’s why I take absolutely no interest in them when it comes to my daughters’ educations.
Education is vital, whether that be in school or home education. But, education doesn’t end when a young person leaves the school gates – we are learning all the time. There’s more to school life than numbers and at far too many schools these days students are no longer people, they are cells on a spreadsheet. It’s this thirst for data that our Department for Education has that troubles me and there something important missing.
The happy column
Above are the column headers for the league table as viewed on the gov.uk website. What’s missing?
The happy score. Surely one of the vital measures that can be made is whether children are happy at a school. Do they enjoy their time there? How does the school make them feel?
Being happy in what you do or where you are is intrinsically linked to how well you will perform. Let’s fast forward from school to working life. If you are not happy in your job you will not perform as well as you could in a job you are happy in. You may not agree, but I really believe in this.
So, why can’t our school league tables (if we must have these things) factor in such a thing as the happiness score?
It’s daft to compare
One of the features of these league tables it the ability to compare schools side-by-side. But you have to be very careful with these comparisons.
There is absolutely no value in a parent comparing a rural Yorkshire secondary school with a high achieving school in Bath or London. It’s an irrelevant comparison.
Bure what about comparing two schools where you could send your children to either?
On the face of it you would say the school coloured blue on the above charts is the better school. Academically it’s far and away better than the pink school. But what about the things these tables don’t tell you?
This comparison is actually between our daughters’ old and new secondary school. We moved them last Easter as they really weren’t happy where they were and this was affecting them. In addition, we really felt that the atmosphere at their old school wasn’t great, it didn’t feel nice when you visited during the day. I would also say that there are staff there, at their old school, that I really don’t see eye-to-eye with either.
Which school were they at before?
The blue one!
No, because since their move they have become different girls. Happier, more confident, better friendships and better grades!
So you see, with first-hand experience I can say it’s not all about the data, the grades, the league tables and all of that. The simplest of things – happiness – is the key here.
Thanks for reading.