Understandably schools celebrate the achievement of their students on each of these days and each school will compare themselves to the UK or global average – usually very favourably, sometimes incredibly impressively. Our school is no exception – we gleefully shared photos of our students celebrating their success in iGCSE and IBDP results and promoted our UK/World-beating averages.
DCIS is a more inclusive school than most and as such, the average only tells part of the story. We live in a world where increased accountability and the need for shorter snappier headlines are a juxtaposition of priorities that don’t lend themselves to getting to the underlying story. Attainment is only one measure of how our students have performed and we are equally proud that our students on average achieved almost half of a grade better than expected. As an example, on results day last year we celebrated record averages for the school and on the very same day our student Annie came up to me to tell me, in equally excited fashion, that she had been accepted at catering college. Annie had been a student at the school for 7 years, in our SEN pathway and this was a tremendous achievement. There are no simple statistics to share the successes in this pathway, each child is following a very unique path. We can and do tell the individual stories, but my fear is that they don’t get the headlines the iGCSE A*/A or 4+ or IBDP average point scores get, as they are more difficult to understand and simply take longer to read and comprehend.
This, for me, is a real dilemma – education isn’t all about numbers, it is about stories. I don’t know the solution yet, but it is something that we have on our agenda at DCIS. How we celebrate every students’ success and make them understandable, so we remain accountable not only for some but accountable for every one of our cohort.