I have previously written about the importance of encouraging our students to become more independent in order to help ensure they are successful in later life. This article focuses on the personal traits that are necessary for success; fundamentally if a student does not attend school regularly, it matters little what opportunities are on offer here. There are significant single events in a person’s life which will unavoidably prevent attendance for some students. My concern is about a pattern of poor attendance over a number of years which leads to a significant effect on overall achievement. In order to measure by how much, I have looked at examination results, but the conclusions of this analysis apply equally well to other aspects of life, including the softer skills of building social skills, involvement in extra-curricular activities and ultimately building a successful career.
There is a fundamental mis-conception regarding what makes someone successful. It is often said that how rich you are or how clever you are determines your future. I disagree, believing that it is how you respond to difficulties you encounter that is more important. This morning we had a snow fall; our normal attendance is 96%, today it dropped to 91%. Most students managed to brave the colder weather and get to College; a few did not. It is these people who are likely to make similar decisions when other minor adversities face them that over the long-term would cause them to have less chance of success in life.
This resilience is important in many aspects of life. When you fail a test do you give up on the subject and say you are no good or does it make you more determined to do better next time? When you get into trouble do you accept that the fault lies at least partially with yourself or do you blame someone else? When your boss chooses someone else for promotion do you blame it on a poor decision or do you make sure that next time you are better prepared in order to ensure future success? It is how we respond to adversity that is critical to our own success and happiness.
We offer students the opportunities to embrace challenge, not be afraid of failure because by learning from our mistakes we can only get stronger. There will therefore be on occasions at Catmose, just as in life when things won’t go as you hoped, perhaps not being picked for a sport team, or for sports day, performing badly on a test or failing an audition for a scholarship. That you took part and did your best is important, not to give up however is even more so, how we respond to the challenges of life is the key to being successful. By building in in opportunities to be challenged, take risk and respond to failure are as important as participation.
We want to help students and our children to build resilience so that when the going gets (a little) tough they are able to keep going, learn from their mistakes and those of others; it is critical to their future success.
The following slides give an overview of the assembly which followed this theme.