Tuesday, 11 December 2012

National challenges but local celebrations.

There has been plenty of coverage in recent days about Michael Gove's proposed exam reforms and the imposition of an EBacc - now being described as the EBC (English Baccalaureate Certificate).  It has to be said that the debate is becoming seriously polarised with a range of high profile opponents including the Chair of Ofqual (the examinations regulator), the Chair of the Commons Education Select Committee (a Conservative MP like Mr Gove), teaching unions, exam boards and leading academics.  Mr Gove does not shy from a fight but it will be interesting to see the extent to which he engages with the concerns being raised or whether he sticks his ground, being certain that he knows best.

 An interesting development has been the recent involvement of HMC in the debate.  HMC represents the 250 leading independent schools in the country (including King's Rochester) and one of the key points being made is that our schools value diversity and choice while the EBC represents a 'low trust' approach towards our level of expertise.  I have written in previous blog posts about this debate and there is a reasonable summary on the TES website (click here).

While the debate continues (and will do so for some time), I found myself reflecting on more positive matters closer to home.  The school is abuzz with that wonderful feeling of the anticipation of Christmas and coming up in the next five days we have carol services for all three schools in the Cathedral as well as nativity plays and our Cathedral Choristers singing at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham on Wednesday evening.  The Prep and Senior Schools have House matches this week and the boarders' black tie dinner on Thursday.    Meanwhile The Sunday Times is currently my favourite newspaper, having featured Rochester as an excellent place from which to commute to London and being blessed with beautiful surroundings (click here, although subscription needed) and also placing our Prep School in their Top 100 Parent Power table.  We have also recently concluded the process of defining the distinctive characteristics of King's and reaffirming our Aims of Education which I look forward to publishing shortly.

There are some important decisions to be made about the future of education but that should not come at the expense of noting and celebrating all that which is good.