A workshop in excellence…what will we find?

Schools are consistently asking how they can achieve excellence in the differing areas of educational life, whilst trying not to be see as being elite. But what is excellence? Is it how many A-A* grades that a school attain in a Calendar year? Or is it how many results are highlighted in green (meaning the school have won) on the School Sports website? Or perhaps it is how many pupils the school have got through their grade eight examinations in music?

The truth is, in order to decide what excellence is, one has to understand what they mean by this? To be excellent for one pupil may be gaining an A* in history, but for the next, it may be achieving a B? Thus, it is surely a very individual criteria that needs to be set I order for each individual to feel they are achieving their goals. Crisfield et al (1996) discussed how a multi layered goal setting approach in sport needed to ensure that goals are felt to be  achievable for a team or individual for them to be useful in motivating a player. This pupil-centred approach to an education then becomes a more detailed analysis of each pupil in what they are wanting to accomplish from their time in education.

PRC Elite’s work in one school has led them to develop an excellence forum whereby pupils (and staff) talk with each other about the key concepts that lead to the development of excellence in their eyes. A county cricketer, a leading musician, high level academics and promising actors meet amongst a group of motivated young people, in order to look at how they are each trying to achieve excellence. What are the main areas that they can learn from each other in order to help each through their own personal journeys? Are there similarities between each, even though many schools have the issues of these separate departments fighting for the pupils’ skills.

This blog will continue to update as to the key concepts that arise from these talks. There is a null hypothesis, through my work with other sportsmen and women, that there are areas that pervade each of these disciplines that are essential in the striving towards excellence – we shall see if they are proved wrong or right!

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Nick Tester Written by:

Nick Tester is a leading figure in Sport and Education, having been Head of Cricket at Chigwell School and Head of Boy’s Games, Football and Cricket at Ardingly College.