Thrive, not just survive

Our Year 11 and Year 13 pupils have recently completed their Trial (mock) examinations and are currently receiving their results. We know that this can be an anxious time for them, especially where they are targeting certain grades in the summer for university entry. So, we stress that mock examinations are a learning process, and we blend important realism with constructive feedback and encouragement.

At the same time, we have been holding assessments and interviews for entry to the school. As we consider each candidate, my question is always: “Will this child thrive on the challenge and opportunities of Leicester Grammar?” However disappointing it might sometimes appear to parents, LGS is not the right school for every child, and I never wish to see children’s self-esteem suffer. In the vast majority of cases, I believe that we get the judgement right and that those whom we welcome to the school are then capable of making positive and happy progress. That is one reason why we always look first at effort grades as pupils move through the school, as hard work and a willingness to rise cheerfully to challenges are generally key to success.

I have referred before to the Ivy House leadership course we deliver in Year 12. Yesterday’s session with my group was ‘My Confidence’ and we discussed situations in which pupils felt less confident and how they might overcome that feeling. Ivy House recommends this approach: “Know it! See it! Say it! Do it!” I.e. the recognition, visualisation and articulation of our fears and how to overcome them (with practice being really important) can go a long way to helping us build our confidence and achieve our goals.

I was reminded by one of our Heads of School in the summer that my final exhortation to the year group before study leave was to “smash it”! I then asked: “What are you going to do?” and they responded enthusiastically: “Smash it!”

And smash it they did – but not without hard work, self-belief and lots of support.

Best wishes,

John Watson