With only a few days remaining in 2017, we begin to reflect on what the year has brought, and speculate about what 2018 could bring.
The largest talking point in education this year was undoubtedly the introduction of the way GCSEs are to be graded. The new 9-1 numbered system replaced the A*-G ratings, which had been in place for nearly 30 years. This change caused much head-scratching for parents and pupils alike as they tried to understand what the numbers equated too.
Hopefully, by August 2018, when next year’s results are revealed, everyone will finally understand that grade 4 is a minimum pass (in line with the old C grade), and 9 is the very top end of the scale, positioned above the previous A*.
But what lies in store for education over the next 12 months? Although I don’t have a crystal ball or claim to be a prophet, here’s my educated guess for what the new year might hold in store for schools.
During 2018 more schools will begin to identify, collate and communicate better than ever before their unique vision. Being clear, and establishing exactly what a school’s aim is, means that pupils, staff and parents can all collectively buy-in to the vision. If everyone understands, believes and stands united in reaching the same goal, then we could see more strong, thriving schools emerging.
If you speak to any member of staff in an independent school and ask them to name three words that sum up the establishment, one key word that is cited repeatedly is ‘community’. Being involved and working with the world outside of the school gates is so important as it benefits everyone, not just the students. The involvement reinforces bonds, creates positivity and forges partnerships. These new friendships can then pool and share resources.
Here at Bickley Park School we have been doing this for many years in various ways. For example, our younger children visit the local retirement home at Christmas to entertain residents with their festive songs, while our neighbours have access to our swimming pool throughout the year. We will continue to forge these links with the community during 2018 and beyond.
Media headlines were filled with the news of a large-scale cyber-attack in 2017, as computers in over 150 countries were attacked. With a digital future ahead, we will understand further how technology will impact everyone, so we should witness an increase in the ways education is delivered. The experience in the classroom will focus on learning real IT skills (PowerPoint, Word and Excel) and expand in line with the technology readily available at our fingertips.
I believe that next year people will really start seeing, and truly valuing, the benefits of the wider curriculum. This element allows children to explore and spend time on subjects like the arts, sport, music, and the outdoors. It adds an important element to school life as pupils gain life skills and get to explore their capabilities outside of the classroom. Given this opportunity, the children can explore their full range of talents and find new interests and hobbies, giving them a true opportunity to grow and shine.
Here’s hoping that 2018 will be the best year ever for turbo-charging education, inspiring more students and letting them uncover, through schools’ help, their full potential to achieve greatness.
For more information about Bickley Park School, please visit www.bickleyparkschool.co.uk.