Oona Carlin, Head

Ipswich High School Head, Oona CarlinI was very excited to attend the second annual Diamond Model Schools’ Conference last week. It was wonderful to see the IHS initiative, which we started in May, continue to grow. This year the host was Richard Backhouse, the Principal of Berkhamsted School.

The Conference saw attendees from 17 Diamond Model Schools coming together to network and discuss current educational topics. The key focus of the conference was the subject of data research of attainment of girls and boys at the various key stages and how to ensure the best “Value-Added” results for all pupils.

“Value-Added” indicates how well a school has brought on pupils from one test level to another.

One particularly interesting discussion topic was the increase in unconditional offers by universities. This has been reported in the press recently and the common rationale is that pupils with unconditional offers are likely to underachieve when they take their A Levels, as they do not have to strive to attain a certain offer.

Interestingly, the data that Berkhamsted had analysed showed that both boys and girls actually achieved better A Level results if they were working towards an unconditional offer from their chosen university.

The overall “Value-Added” was also higher, with girls having the highest “Value-Added” results if they were holding an unconditional offer.

I remain confident that our Sixth Form students who receive unconditional offers will strive for success, focus and achieve fantastic results.

The next conference will be hosted by William Phelan, the Principal at Stamford Endowed Schools and I really look forward to meeting with the Diamond Model School leaders again; it is the most collaborative group I meet with in the education sector.