During this term I personally interview all the girls who have applied for places in Y7 for September 2014. I like to interview them all partly because I very much enjoy meeting the girls and their parents but also because I think it’s really important for me to learn more about the girls than just the test scores that they will attain in our 11+ exams.
Exam results alone won’t tell me any more than how they did on one particular day.
The scores won’t tell me:
- much about what they are really like; their interests & hobbies
- whether they have been tutored for the exams or not
- whether they have benefitted from excellent teaching in Y5 & Y6 or have had a variety of supply teachers
- whether English is their first language or not
- if they were very nervous or felt unwell during the exams and are actually far more capable than the test results would indicate
- if they are articulate and confident or shy and retiring
When I meet them they can tell me about the clubs that they attend and the various activities that they enjoy. They also show me some of their current schoolwork, in particularly Literacy and Numeracy, so I can see how they are doing in school. Their parents can also pass on any information that they feel relevant and I get asked all sorts of questions from the very challenging “Please describe the school’s ethos in three words” (I could talk about this forever!) to the straightforward “What’s your favourite colour?”
Once the exam papers have been marked, and we sit down to make decisions about offers of places and scholarships/bursaries, we have so much more to go on than just test scores. This helps us to make better informed decisions and is a much fairer selection process for all the girls.
Over the past few weeks I have enjoyed talking to numerous delightful girls and have been impressed by the quality of their school work and the effort that they put into activities as varied as rock climbing and writing stories. A particular delight was the little girl who played me a tune on her ukulele. I often think that being a Headteacher must be the best job in the world!