As we welcome students back at the start of the new school year, we are challenging them to aim high. They certainly have a tough act to follow with this summer’s A level and GCSE results breaking records for the school. These are not only the best in the area, but the best independent school results in the county. Of course we all know that exam grades are only one way of judging a school’s success. Some might say that building character and creating fine young people are even more important. I hope that any visitor to AKS will see that we do that too.
It is often the witnessing of smaller individual achievements that gives me the most pleasure in school. The students who never thought they could get a C in maths achieving a B. The boy who did not feel confident to complete the cross-country course, finishing with a smile on his face. The new girl worried about making friends, being surrounded by welcoming and supportive peers. These small things happen all day and every day; it is why working in a school is so rewarding. But can we measure kindness, creativity, tenacity or ambition?
None of these daily achievements or character developments break records, nor do they get reported in league tables. Clearly we cannot measure everything that is important. Some things one just has to feel, the qualitative rather than the quantitative, stories that are told in narrative rather than in numbers. That is why we encourage visitors, any day of the school year, to see and feel the junior and senior schools as they really are. To hear our stories. We are proud of our students for so much more than record breaking exam results.
M H P Walton