The green light for statistics

1st February 2008 at 00:00
I totally love teaching. There, I've written it and I've not been struck by a bolt of lightning and neither can I hear a cacophony of incredulous laughter. How about this one then: I totally love statistics. No lightning and no laughter, but instead a shocked silence mocks my creative right brain. I'm an optimistic and messy arts graduate who used to have pink hair for heaven's sake. I should not get off on CVA data and FFT data, but I do, I do, I do!

The school I was at previously was the highest achieving school in the county and achieved a CVA of 1017 - pretty good. The English department achieved 84 per cent A-C against an FFT D-band prediction of 74 per cent - pretty good. So when it came to looking for a new job, statistics were definitely going to affect my decision. One nearby school had a CVA of 1004, which was obviously ok and my boss recommended the school. "You could help get this higher," she said. But then the school that was at the bottom of the county league tables advertised for a head of English. This school had a CVA of 954. Oh, this was so tempting. Tempting because behind every statistic are events and opportunities that affect young people's future life chances.

So here I am, just starting my second term, still totally loving teaching and also, admittedly rather sadly, totally loving my new phone that holds the current working and target grades of 850 students. It's great to work in a place where there is opportunity to make a difference. There is a very supportive senior management team, terrific colleagues and fantastic students. The catchment area includes the poorest ward in Leicestershire which, of course, has its issues, but it's not somewhere to write off and neither are the kids. Quite the opposite. Some may think I'm an optimistic fool, but I love both the taste of and the potential of optimism. Listening to some of the kids lately, it also appears to be rather infectious. Of course, it won't be until results day, August 21, 2008, that I'll find out if optimism converts into statistics, but I'll happily buy cream cakes all round knowing that, whatever the results, we did our best.

Finally, one other thing that appealed about this school from a statistical point of view was the fact that there was only one set of traffic lights on my journey to work. This compares to my last school where there were 24. I'm clearly just a geek after all.

Genevieve Lovegrove, Head of English at King Edward VII, Coalville, Leicestershire.

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