Is this the best headteacher’s letter – ever?

You're so much more than your exam results says brilliant letter to Year 6 pupils - although it may not have been all the head's own work

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At this SATS time of year, a headteacher’s inspirational letter to Year 6 pupils telling them that “there are many ways of being smart” has been helping to ease the stress on Year 6 children (and their parents). 

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The letter to 10 and 11-year-old pupils at Barrowford Primary School in Nelson, Lancashire, was sent out with their Key Stage 2 SATs test results.

Headteacher Rachel Tomlinson and head of Year 6, Amy Birkett, tells her pupils that they aren’t defined by their test results. At a time when so much of our education system is judged on results and academic achievements, the letter talks glowingly about the pupils’ other attributes. 

The letter starts: “Please find enclosed your end of KS2 test results. We are very proud of you as you demonstrated huge amounts of commitment and tried your very best during this tricky week.”

But then it continues…

“However, we are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you – the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do.”

“They do not know that many of you speak two languages. They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day.

“They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play or participate in sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister after school. They do not know that you have travelled to a really neat place or that you know how to tell a great story or that you really love spending time with special family members and friends.

“They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful and that you try, every day, to be your very best… the scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything.”

It finishes with: 

“So enjoy your results and be very proud of these but remember there are many ways of being smart.”

One pupil’s mum was so impressed she tweeted a pic of the letter. It was then widely retweeted and circulated.

“Wow. There are posts all over the world about this letter!” a spokesman for the school then tweeted.

Although it’s since emerged that the letter may have been copied from a message sent to pupils at an unidentified US elementary school from a previous year (ouch), we still think it’s an awesome message.

Photo: Twitter / Tina Boden

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