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School removes board displaying pupils' GCSE progress scores with emojis

Move follows calls for teachers to take emojis seriously

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Move follows calls for teachers to take emojis seriously

A school has apologised after displaying pupils’ GCSE progress scores on a wall alongside happy or sad emojis.

St John Fisher Catholic School in Chatham, Kent, put up the photos and scores of their Year 11 pupils on colour-coded boards illustrated with emojis to show them how they were doing.

It comes after language expert Professor Vyvyan Evans told Tes in July that teachers should take emojis seriously.

But the school has now decided to take down the display board – which was only put up on Thursday – following a backlash from parents. 

GCSE focus

Headteacher Dympna Lennon has apologised for any upset caused by the display board. It gave each pupil a progress score against their own individual targets.   

She said: "Although the display board was not intended to cause any upset, we have taken the decision to remove it as three pupils in total have asked for their details to be taken down and a small number of parents have been in touch with us.

"The focus must be on improving students’ life chances and we will continue to support each pupil and help them work towards their targets.”

Ms Lennon said that the idea was based on "similar good practice" used in other schools, and the aim was to "further motivate pupils" working towards their GCSEs.

Results on display

A number of secondary schools now display ranked lists of pupils' achievements publically on a board after rank order helped to turn around Burlington Danes Academy in London.

But the use of emojis or individual photographs is less common – and in some schools only the top performers in each subject are directly named on the board.

Ms Lennon added that the 118 pupils in Year 11 had been told about the initiative a month before. 

She said: "An assembly was held four weeks ago with the year 11 pupils to advise them that their current overall GCSE progress score would be displayed on the wall and they were offered the opportunity to speak with teachers if they had any concerns around this.

"Only two students raised any concerns with teachers prior to the progress scores being displayed."

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