Headmaster’s Blog, Friday 6 February 2015

I have to admit to not paying a great deal of attention to educational league tables for a number of fairly obvious reasons. But they seemed to reach a new level of nonsense this week with the rather absurd situation that many of the country’s leading schools have fallen to the bottom of the class. At Truro School, we, along with many other HMC schools, have offered the International GCSE (IGCSE) in a number of subjects because experience tells us they are rigorous qualifications and offer a good basis for sixth form study. They have the added advantage of being protected from the vagaries of political decision making. The government decision therefore to drop IGCSE from league tables makes it impossible for those parents who do want to compare raw academic data.

 

My other criticism is the Government’s myopia regarding the need for future creative people – they do not acknowledge D&T and Art as worthwhile subjects by ignoring them in comparisons between schools. This will likely kill off these subjects in the state sector. Take a look at the economic development plan for Cornwall and it is clear just how in demand creative people will be. I’m pleased to say that Truro School is upholding the value of creativity in our curriculum.

 

Having poured scorn on league tables, I am nonetheless pleased that we have achieved the accolade of being the leading A level provider in the county. Based on the measure of average point score per student (a measure of quantity) and average points score per by entry (a measure of quality) we are the top institution for A levels in Cornwall. The more interesting analysis shows that last year 43% of our students gained at least AAB in at least two facilitating subjects – subjects helped them secure places on competitive university courses. This compares with 25% and 18% at the other smaller and larger A Level providers in Truro respectively.

 

On Friday I sent out well over 100 offer letters for entry into our 1st Year next year. Add to this the strong interest at 13+ and 16+ and I hope for a really healthy school roll in September. We have offered our very first drama scholarships to some super young thespians in the making. It’s good to be developing this area of our creative arts curriculum. I’m pretty sure there must be a statistic out there highlighting the employability of students who strut and fret their hour upon the stage.

 

It is unfortunate that with a school as busy as ours I cannot attend every event, and it was with some envy that it was my daughter and wife who attended the Meg Rosoff talk on Wednesday this week (although I did manage to have lunch with her and some sixth form students). Meg is an award-winning author of teenage fiction, including How I Live Now which was made into a film in 2013. Needless to say, both Charlotte and Harriet were buzzing with inspiration when they got home – the talk was a huge success. Meg spoke honestly and openly about her life, her character, her books and her writing – delivering hilarious anecdotes and wise advice on becoming a writer. It was enjoyable for us to have students from others school across the county in the theatre as well and I’m grateful to our excellent team of librarians for planning the event.