I always approach the Results’ Days at the end of August with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it does concern me that the focus on these days runs the risk of detracting from the pupils’ other achievements, be they academic, co-curricular or personal. It would be a real shame if our assessment of a young person’s time at school was reduced to some numbers and letters on a sheet of paper. I think back to the young man who seized the initiative and put on an opera; the committee that raised over £84,000 for Amref Health Africa; the basketball team that won through as LISBA champions; the young man whose art portfolio secured him a place at the Royal Drawing School; or the group of boys who put on a student-written play to raise awareness of homelessness in London. I could go on. But none of these things make it into a set of exam statistics.
But, on the other hand, it is obviously wonderful to share in the exam success of the young people who we have been privileged to teach. Watching Edwin (and his mum!) as he opened his envelope last Thursday, to learn that he had received A*s across the board in his A-levels, thereby securing his place at Oxford, was a moment that will live with me. Edwin joined City on a bursary in Year 9 (one of 11 boys in his year): he has thrown himself at the opportunities that have come his way, he has been a stalwart of the School’s percussion section in the Music Department, and he has been a role model as prefect. This was the icing on the cake.
Expanding access to a City education is central to our vision for the coming years – and Edwin’s story serves to reinforce why that is so important. Transformative bursaries are just that. In reaffirming that message, results day served a useful message for me this year – and reminded me of what it is that makes this such a great job.