Nov. 17th, 2012

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My first reaction on seeing that M's school has been named "Scottish Secondary of the Year" by the Sunday Times was to feel gratified and pleased that M is at a "good" school.  Then I read more closely and a couple of things seemed a bit strange.

The headline hid one details which is that Boroughmuir has been named Scottish State Secondary of the Year.  Well, it's fair enough in my book to have separate lists for state and private schools. But the award, if one can call it that, hid an odder detail, which is that Boroughmuir is only ninth in the Sunday Times list of state schools.  So why was it given this attention?  The article said that this was in part because it had risen from 12th place to 9th - so perhaps it is a recognition of the "most improved" school.  But my cynical mind suggests that perhaps the journalists needed a reason to write about a school they haven't written about before.  And this is the only Edinburgh state school to be in the top ten - Edinburgh being "blessed" with a ridiculous number of large private schools - so perhaps that is another journalistic "angle" on the story.

As you might be able to tell, I don't trust journalists.  And anyway, who are the Sunday Times to tell us which school is "best"?  I already know that the school is pretty good for our son, which is what matters most to me.

After a while, I remembered that I don't agree with league tables for schools anyway.  Usually they say more about the school's intake than about the school itself, although there are exceptions both good and bad.  (I don't feel quite the same about Uni league tables, but that is perhaps a topic for another time).   And a school that is right for one child might not be right for another.

So is this any more than a puff piece?  It still leaves me with a feeling of reassurance, despite my scepticism. It will probably give the staff some encouragement, which is good; it's always nice to be appreciated.  I guess it might persuade some parents not to waste their money on a private education when they can get an equivalent one for free, but the numbers will be tiny.  It will probably sell more newspapers.  So I am conflicted: my emotions say one thing while my mind says another.


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