Friday, 18 May 2018
Last week saw the first of the big written exams for our Year 11s (History GCSE): while they were frantically re-reading their multi-coloured flash cards or manically re-mastering the twentieth century through quizlet, I was watching the Tuesday Afternoon Activity (TAA) drama group’s piece, devised and performed by themselves.
Monday, 30 April 2018
Even if the summer seems to have beaten a hasty retreat no English summer term finishes without a lot of young people sitting exams and tests; for those preparing for public exams the stakes are high and it’s right that we focus on how best to prepare them and how to keep them going as they work longer hours and cut back on the very things that will keep them healthy in mind and body. But the group of pupils I’ve been thinking about of late are those for whom end-of-year tests shouldn’t be much of an event at all, and I’ve been keen to get across the usefulness of these tests as practice for exams that are significant as cv tokens for later life, but not much more.
Wednesday, 21 March 2018
The dates of my blog-posting speak for themselves: I haven’t made the time for a blog, and it’s not for want of good things to talk about. No, it’s the grown-up equivalent of an essay crisis, or just having a bit more to do than usual. Than usual? No, it’s always like this in the second half of the Lent Term – throw together admissions and teacher recruitment, layered on top of the normal routines, and the diary doesn’t leave much discretion about what to do. There must be tens of pupils here who’ve had to make similar decisions about what to cut back on in the face of competition readiness, first nights or competition deadlines, to say nothing of intensifying revision routines. One’s worry, of course, is that it’s time to read, time with family, healthy eating or good quality sleep which have seen the cuts.
Monday, 12 February 2018
I was glad I was sitting down.
I trotted along to assembly this morning (Year 13 followed by Y10, different presentations, but a similar theme: lovely and persuasive attempt to cajole Year 13s into looking after themselves a little more in the run-up to their ‘practice exams; Y10s listened to Y13s talking about how they could learn to ‘be themselves’ and in so doing build up strong mental health – more on this anon), and was mulling over some of the quite powerful testimonies which Y10 pupils and I had just heard when a very cheerful Y13 speaker greeted me and said that she really liked my blog. Now I’m a sucker for praise, and scour the weekly stats for evidence that someone has read the latest post, but it had never occurred to me that students, especially Highgate School’s finest, ever had the time or inclination to do so. I was rather touched, but very surprised!
Wednesday, 31 January 2018
It was when I was just getting up from a lengthy, if productive, meeting about our long-term estate plan that I felt I should own up.
An experienced and sharp-witted professional had turned to me and told me that he read my blog. Now this is someone whose firm does indeed do business with Highgate School but clearly not to the exclusion of other schools and colleges across the land. It was very nice to hear that he turned to Highgate’s website, rather than to others, to be kept up to date on matters educational, and that he found those pages informative and so on. It was then that I should have admitted that when the author of these blogs is pressed hard by events or a lack of inspiration, he turns to his wonderful team of colleagues for ideas, for guidance and for editorial opinion: what you read has had the uncredited benefit of others’ similarly sharp-witted, eagle-eyed attention.
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