Written by Sam Johnson – Deputy Head Teacher
It’s hard to believe that year 11 and year 13 have just 4 weeks left in school before their exams begin. Every year this final push comes around quicker than we can comprehend but, as always, they are ready.
Throughout their journey at FBS we have prepared them; we have never shied away from the importance of exams. From the first term in year 7 we teach boys how to revise, we test them on knowledge recall and we guide them through the skills required to be successful in each examination. At least twice each year all boys experience a mini exam series to give them the chance to demonstrate what they have learnt, help them understand what it will be like and learn how to cope with the inevitable stresses that come with exams.
Once boys are in key stage 4 and 5 this is ramped up; we guide them through revision techniques, we put on additional intervention classes before and after school to help fill any gaps in their knowledge and to grapple with the hardest skills. Over the last 2 weeks of the Easter holidays we have run an incredible 39 revision sessions just for year 11 and year 13. Why? Because we want them to achieve the very best results they can. We want each of them to reach their potential. We want them to open their results envelopes in August and feel proud of what they have achieved.
Exams matter. Results matter. These GCSE results for year 11 will open doors for them; each grade will help determine which subjects they go on to study at A level in the Sixth Form or on more vocational courses at college. In turn, the A level results will determine which universities they are accepted into and which subjects they will read. There is no denying that these results matter.
But, grades AREN’T everything! At FBS we passionately believe this. It’s our job as a school to teach our boys the foundations they need in life; the knowledge required in Maths, English and Science and we must ensure they develop greater expertise in the subjects they need for further study, but that’s not all we need to teach them.
We teach them life skills; in the classroom we help them develop financial literacy, political understanding, we give them sexual health and relationship education, we teach them the harms of drug taking and what it means to live a healthy lifestyle.
Outside of the classroom we help develop their character; to understand the importance of religion in our world and explore their own beliefs, to build friendships that matter, to find sports and hobbies that they will enjoy for the rest of their lives, to contribute to local society, to know what it means to be entrepreneurial and philanthropic.
In and outside of the classroom we teach boys how to be enterprising; to be resilient, to tackle failure head on and never give up.
These things are far more important than a grade on a piece of paper.
So, whilst we do invest huge amounts of time and effort in preparing boys for exams, we never do it at the expense of personal development. Just a few weeks ago we had the whole school out of lessons for an entire day for the annual Eisteddfod; sacrificing curriculum time for the arts, the chance for boys to demonstrate their skills and passions and to have the whole school celebrate them. It was a highlight of the year.
Over the next four weeks we will ensure every minute counts for year 11 and year 13 but we will also spend social time together and celebrate their time at FBS.
Grades are a reflection of hard work. We want our boys to know that hard work matters; it makes a difference in your life and should be rewarded and celebrated. But the grades do not define you; your character, the person you are and the ways you contribute to the world are what makes a real difference.
We wish you great success in the summer boys and whatever happens we are very proud of who you are becoming.