Marlborough headteachers unite on pressures of the exam culture
Mrs Nicky Edmonson, Principal of St John's Academy, has highlighted the impact current pressures have on the mental of the pressures on young people. She believes that "...education is about building character as much as about passing examinations."
Writing in the September issue of Tower and Town she says: "The pressures on children to succeed academically are possibly greater now than they ever have been, and this may be reflected in the increase in young people suffering from mental illness, anxiety and depression."
"On the other hand, the opportunities available outside the classroom at St John’s are remarkably varied and exciting, and I am often in awe of the talents, commitment and determination our students demonstrate in all areas of school life, from art, drama and music to sport, technology and languages."
In the same issue of the monthly magazine, Jonathan Leigh, who retires at the end of the new academic year as Master of Marlborough College, looks back on 25 years as headmaster of three schools:
"Academically the need for strong results has increased. A generation of parents and youngsters are increasingly obsessed with measurement. The demands that this places on youngsters has intensified. This is reaping concerning results through the pressures created. Heightened mental anxiety is a consequence."
"Also the wider parameters of a broader education have become more constrained. If success is reduced to mere results, then the system has taken over. However, if education means the development of the whole person, whilst affording teenagers the space in which to think things through, then this narrowing of focus is in danger of producing less thinking individuals."
There is a direct link to Tower and Town at the head of our main page. The third part of our recent series on Wiltshire's Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) reported how St John's was responding to mental health pressures. You can read it here.