Walking around the school this week it has become apparent to me just how focused and positive our students are. Every class I have visited has had students on the ball, giving full attention and engaging with their own learning in a very mature way. This is evident in every year group from year 13 to year 9. It is clear that some good exam results, some extracurricular successes, some environmental improvements and some refreshed teachers have all meant a very positive and motivated student body, irrespective of academic ability or social background.
At the start of term in assembly I used the metaphor of progress through school being like a mountain to be climbed. One doesn’t just get to the top by accident. It requires a whole range of attitudes, skills and support. But the sense of achievement and pride, on gaining the mountain top, is well deserved and well worth it. But I also made the additional point that we are all climbing our own personal mountain, not the same one. We all have our own potential to achieve and our own criteria for success. Everyone’s personal journey through school and success at the end is different, but just as valuable and praiseworthy.
Sometimes it may seem as though we only focus on the high fliers and the medal winners, but in fact, at TWBS we take enormous pride in the progress and achievements of everyone. Watching nearly 200 year 9 boys take part in the swim test is as big a measure of success as standing on the podium at Henley, and both achievements are connected. The growth of the music department with huge numbers of participants is one measure of its success, as well as the virtuoso performers, and both are also connected. The school would be nothing without the strength and energy that comes from everyone, not just those in the limelight.
And so it is with our academic performance. All of our students at all abilities make good progress. Already at A level we know we have gained the best ‘value added’ score ever this year, and this is down to the progress made of every individual A level student in the school. And at GCSE for several years we have had a very strong ‘value added’ score (top 30% nationally) which is also due to the success of every individual student; the grade B student securing an A against the odds, or the grade D student converting to a C. At TWBS, the progress of every boy, regardless of their starting points, matters to us and is our primary aim. Some students make enormous progress, and some make marginal progress, but it is still progress and we are formally measured by that rate of progress against others with the same starting points nationally.
So, for once, I would like to celebrate and recognise the average Windsor Boy, the student who may never come first, who may always be in the middle somewhere, but who is steadily working hard towards self-improvement and their own pupil progress, who generally is happy, who makes friends well, who readily volunteers and who cares for the community they inhabit. This week, walking around the school, I saw hundreds of boys like this, who are optimistic and focused and an absolute delight. They all deserve our recognition and our continued encouragement. Well done boys.