The Meaning of Life?
Every now and then I find myself pondering the fundamental question as to what is really important in life. The past few days have been dominated by thoughts of the future, more specifically the future of our current Year 11 students as they begin to make plans for next year. They are being sent their unlocking codes by Connexions, receiving explanations regarding procedures they need to go through and also beginning to take a more focused interest in what is available for them as they enter life after GCSEs in September 2012.
Occasions such as this present very particular challenges for school staff when offering advice to students. On the one hand it is very important that we are not seen to be offering criticism of any other post 16 providers of education or displaying bias towards our own 6th Form, whilst at the same time knowing that all previous statistics indicate that continuing their education at Fulston Manor provides students with the best possible way to achieve good examination grades and progression routes of choice. Naturally there will be students who are looking to take courses we don’t offer whose best interests are served by moving on, but for those planning to study subjects taught at the school there should really be only one choice.
There are a number of reasons why this is so, including, of course, the excellence of our staff (!), but there is also much to be said for continuing on in an environment where a student is known and where continuity may be maintained. The partnership with Borden and Highsted adds to the range of subjects on offer and provides students with the opportunity to experience a subject elsewhere without losing the benefits of a stable base.
Having spent a long time wrestling with the dilemmas outlined above (how to communicate the quality of provision without appearing arrogant, how to draw attention to previous success without criticising other providers, etc) we once again structured our 6th Form Open Evening last week in such a way as to provide maximum information for students about the things that matter (the content of courses on offer, how the partnership works, exam statistics, career opportunities, success of previous students in university applications and so on), safe in the knowledge that our young people would value such details above all when choosing their next steps in life.
At the end of a very well attended and successful evening I was approached by a student who had one burning question regarding our 6th Form and, after all the focus we had given to other matters, it was this that has led me back to my musings on what is really important and how that might vary from person to person. Whilst I was thinking that life-changing decisions would be based on the stuff mentioned above, the young seeker after knowledge had, in fact, only one enquiry the answer to which, it appeared, would shape her journey through life: “Sir, can girls wear leggings in the 6th Form?” There is, I feel, still some work to be done……