A small rant: Prefects and Brands
Right, so quite a bit has been happening.
Firstly, the year tens were able to apply to be prefects. This was a process riddled with problems because of various different roles that they have introduced into the prefect system.
There are 10 general prefects but on top of that there are 10 specialised prefects who take on duties in certain area of the school, for example community (maybe litter picking?), teaching and learning (putting up displays), events (they will be organising the prom, the year book and other Americanisations) and Sport prefects (I think their creativity ran out a bit here and they decided to create a role that no one really understands).
There are two senior prefects as well as a head boy and a head girl in year twelve. The whole system of having people apply for different roles left people feeling disappointed about only getting a general prefect role, despite this still being really great considering that 71 people applied for 20 spots. Anyway, the prefects will begin their duties in the next half term as the current year 11 prefects leave after their exams.
Talking of exams, I’m doing my maths and biology GCSEs next week. I have been revising a lot, but even with only two GCSEs, it seems like a lot of work. I’m not sure how I’m going to manage next year when I’ll have millions of exams back to back.
Amidst all these exams (5 in total) we have a languages controlled assessment which counts towards 15% of our grade, although less important, we still have to memorise six paragraphs in our chosen language whilst revising for our other exams. The annoying thing is that these controlled assessments can be at any time, but they decided to schedule it in the midst of all our other exams and revision.
The stress (although a lot less than what we will face in a years time) has been getting to people with one girl being taken into hospital for ‘stress induced trauma’ (sounds very dramatic).
I’ll keep you informed about how these exams go and what people think about them.
Another thing I wanted to talk about was the school’s brand. Brand is a funny thing when it comes to a school. In my view schools shouldn’t have a brand, but with parents thinking that the school affects the child’s grades/achievement/potential ect. more than ever, schools, especially ones which don’t have exactly a great reputation, have resorted to tactics such as advertising on busses and handing out leaflets at other schools open evenings (I know right!!).
While our school hasn’t done anything so stupid and money wasting, it has invested in incredibly expensive banners to tie to the school gates boasting of our recent ‘good’ Ofsted. This comes at a time when the art department has no gluesticks.
In a more general note, the need to make everything into a ‘brand’ or ‘campaign’ is seeping through to school life. Apparently, Ofsted said that we need to ‘refine’ if we want to ‘excel’. This bullshit (no one, not even the teachers know what this means) is being preached to us through assemblies and what I like to think of as propaganda (posters everywhere ordering us to refine to excel). WE ARE A SCHOOL NOT A COMPANY. Yes we have targets and we have customers (parents it seems) but we are not government - we do not preach bullshit to our citizens.
Also, ‘Empowering Student voices week’, it’s very empowering apparently even though nothing actually happened. Or ‘50 days to make a difference’ to what? It sounds like a political campaign.
What is one of the ‘bad’ kids suddenly decided to turn their life around, take care in their school work and get the grades? Well how do they refine to excel? What sorcery is this?
The thing is that Ofsted is so full of bullshit, you can’t really take anything it says seriously, let alone create logos, tag lines and posters based on their ridiculous recommendations that might as well be in ancient greek.
Teachers, let me give you a piece of advice, to improve a school, teach better. Don’t create stupid phrases and brands to give to your students, get better teachers.
Infact, I’m going to go as far as to say that all students are the same (unless you’re in a private school in which case all the kids are white, middle to upper class and have no real bearing on the world as it is). It’s not the students that make a school better - you can’t get the students to refine and excel and therefore improve the school. It’s all down to the teachers, and not the senior staff. No, it’s the teachers who are really on the front line, battling to get the syllabus down the kids throats every single day. If they inspire and connect with the kids, then it’s a job well done, an outstanding school and excelling (as well as of course refining) students.
Ultimately, no one apart from the head teacher is taking this whole refining thing seriously. Why? because it’s ridiculous that a school’s energy is going towards trying to create a brand out of getting the students to walk instead of run in the corridors instead of actually getting the teaching to a really high quality.
If the teaching’s good the rest will come.