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Potential

Just a one word title this week: Potential. It is a word commonly used but perhaps not always understood. According to the dictionary ‘potential’ as an adjective means ‘having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future.’ As a noun the same underlying intent is confirmed; ‘latent qualities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness’. It may surprise you therefore to learn that there is no test or assessment that can measure a child’s potential. All assessments measure the here and now, they can provide a snapshot of the child but they do not provide that illusive glimpse of the future.

Potential is often discussed in education and sometimes the talk is contentious. When educators talk about a promise to ‘teach the child to enable them to reach their potential’ some query this statement choosing to interpret it as a statement of limitation. The critics suggest that this approach does not allow for truly open ended teaching allowing for limitless progress but rather suffers from a narrower aim to meet the child’s ability and not aim for infinity and beyond! I suspect it is a case of semantics for potential as you can see from the definitions above is all about the future.

When you have a small baby and toddler you do not know what style of learning will best enable them to progress and indeed which academic strengths or weaknesses they will have; 7 is a key age. Historically 7+ tests are favoured by educators because by the age of 7 you have a good overview of the child’s learning styles at this magical age and it is a good time to review choices of school and learning environments.

This month is an exciting time for our children who are in the middle of their 7+ tests and we wish them all success as they continue on their educational journey. Wherever they go, they will take with them the ‘limitless’ approach that has lovingly been applied in their foundation stages. We concentrate on irresistible learning and extraordinary opportunities. By inspiring our children in every area of the curriculum we really do take the lid off education and allow the children to rise to the sky. Nothing is impossible. Dreams matter too. What counts is an extraordinary curriculum built to produce a truly exceptional child. The Inspectors praised our ‘irresistible learning’ and excellence in all areas as evidence of their conclusion that we offer ‘the best possible start’. The 7+ tests are limited; they only reflect one step of a life long journey.

Any school lucky enough to receive a St Christopher’s child on the next chapter of their wonderful journey needs to remember that here is a child with their whole future ahead of them. We will have inlaid values such as curiosity, resilience and a passion for education to name but three. For those children the sky really will be the limit.

Annie Thackray
Head Teacher