“Remember there are many ways of being smart.” This sage advice in a moving letter from a principal to her students has drawn applause across the world.
Barrowford Primary School in England has had below-average exam results in recent years. About 14 per cent of its students don’t speak English as their first language and more than 12 per cent are from disadvantaged families. So the school has gone above and beyond to make its year six students feel good about their latest exam results.
In a letter sent to children, principal Rachel Tomlinson says the school is “very proud of you as you demonstrated huge amounts of commitment and tried your very best during this tricky week”.
It goes on to say: “However, we are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique.
“The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you – the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do. They do not know that many of you speak two languages. They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day.”
Just spoke to Barrowford school in Nelson: they are bowled over by how this wonderful letter to pupils has gone viral pic.twitter.com/3tHoJPmWIg
— Helen Pidd (@helenpidd) July 15, 2014
It continues: “They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, every day, to be your very best … the scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything. So enjoy your results and be very proud of these but remember there are many ways of being smart.”
The letter has quickly gone viral on Twitter, with some people even suggesting the principal take over as education minister. Twitter user @IrishBankrupt writes: “A classic example of the difference between teaching a child and educating a child.” “It really says a lot about that school and its leadership,” tweets @DorindaDorinda.
The school says it is “overwhelmed by how the letter seems to have captured the public’s imagination”.
(via The Guardian)