Eric Halton, who is a colleague from HIAS (Hampshire Inspection and Advisory Service), spoke at the start of this year’s Primary Headteacher conference. As well as celebrating the hard work that takes place on a daily basis in Hampshire schools, through determination and shared expertise, he asked us to consider what we might really mean by high quality outcomes for our children.
- Do we allow ourselves and our school’s to become too narrowly focused on specific academic outcomes?
- Do we ensure a curriculum for life, or a curriculum to ensure our pupils are secondary ready in two core subjects?
- What is our moral purpose to ensure equality and equity for all our children?
Clearly it is not that striving for high academic standards is the wrong approach, but it is about making sure that external accountability pressures (of which Eric acknowledged the Local Authority is part of) do not sway us away from a broad and rich curriculum, that inspires children and sets them up as motivated learners for life
At Cornerstone we have defined the high quality outcomes we want to help all our pupils achieve as:
- Positive, caring, hard-working, balanced and wise people
- Sustained and substantial progress with attainment above LA and National
- Aspirational, courageous, self-fulfilled, collaborative and reflective learners
For me, having this balanced definition empowers us as a staff to argue the case for not narrowing our curriculum or focus. We are also confident that this balance is in the best interests of our pupils, both now and for their future. It is a balance that has the support of our families, staff and governors.