No mermaids here…

I once gave an assembly in which I asked the pupils in front of me if they wanted to be a giant, a wizard or a dwarf.  Most were happy with the range of choice apart from one girl who put up her hand and asked “what about mermaids?” I, not wishing to see my assembly derailed at such an early stage, said that there were no mermaids, being a mermaid was not an option.  Again the hand went up and was immediately challenged with the immortal line “but I am a mermaid”.  It wasn’t my most successful assembly ever.

In modern education there is a bewildering range of options.  It is at this time of year that many students are asked to consider important choices.  Be it selection of a school for next September, choice of GCSE subjects, A Level subjects, BTEC options or the choice of university offers, there is generally something to be decided.  I hope that this week’s information evenings, forthcoming tours and other information sessions prove valuable for students and parents alike.  We hope to be able to provide the information that you require to make the right choices.  We accept that there is no one size fits all solution and that some decisions take time.  I hope that we provide the necessary range and scope of options to meet the needs of all of our students.

We as a school have made a significant choice in following a British style curriculum.  In the coming years, changes to public exams and the National Curriculum will alter the way that we do things, but it won’t affect the quality of what we do.  The changes being made may well reinforce the credibility of the British system still further.  We don’t offer a dual system which offers differing routes to contrasting examinations because we are confident that the current UK suite of qualifications will offer a sufficient choice to a wide range of pupils and we know that it will open doors at schools and universities across the world.

Similarly, we don’t offer a range of qualifications because we believe that to fully prepare students and to develop our own expertise then we have to commit to a particular approach.  In doing so we avoid “The Paradox of Choice” and still allow our students be they in Reception or Year 13 a choice of educational experiences and academic challenges.

Other schools may offer a range of possible exam paths. They often talk about the benefits of choice.   Such a lack of commitment to an educational philosophy is not for us; even if that means that after all, we can’t be mermaids.

Nicholas Hammond