To a degree, of course, all children and students get better. It’s because they are growing older, developing and having more experiences. For all children and students, learning of some kind is always happening wherever they are.
Because this kind of learning is inevitable, it isn’t something against which schools can and should be judged. Schools have to do better than ‘what happens naturally’.
What ‘better than that’ looks like is often called ‘added value’. This means that good schools are able to show that they have had a real impact on their children and students. What they have learned can be related directly to things the school has done and the ways it has provided support.
Added value is a challenge we accept. We want our children, students and families to be able to say, “It is because I have been at an ISP school that I have done better than I thought I would.” Or, as one of our students in Mexico said in 2017, “I owe everything I am to this school.”
However, even that isn’t enough for ISP. We want more than that. We want all our children and students to experience amazing learning.
Amazing learning happens when our learners simply surprise themselves – and their parents and teachers, too – with the levels of learning they have reached. They have got better to a level beyond that which they thought was remotely possible.
Because this level of learning is amazing, it doesn’t happen every day. But it should happen every so often for everyone in our schools. We want our children and students to leave us with a memory of how they were supported to reach a level that they can’t quite believe they achieved. We want them to take that memory of excelling beyond themselves into their adult lives.
We have an unshakeable belief that all of our students continually achieve learning that is ‘added value’ and, occasionally, experience learning that is truly amazing.
It’s what our children, students and families deserve. It’s why we have set the bar as high as we have.
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