The BBC Junior School Difference

From the Headmaster

The available evidence suggests that the main driver of the variation in student learning at school is the quality of the teachers. Seminal research based on data from Tennessee showed that if two average eight-year-old students were given different teachers - one of them a high performer, the other a low performer - their performance diverge by more than 50 percentile points within three years. By way of comparison, the evidence shows that reducing class sizes from 23 to 15 students improves the performance of an average student by eight percentile points at best.

A critical factor in the development of a child’s learning is the importance of getting off to a great start, that is, being immersed in a quality educational environment with highly effective teachers in the formative years. There is sometimes a tendency for parents to underplay the importance of primary education and focus their attention on choosing the best secondary school for their son or daughter. However, research indicates that the negative impact of a poorly performing school with less effective teachers is severe, particularly during the earlier years of schooling.

At the primary level, students that are placed with low-performing teachers for several years in a row suffer an educational loss which is largely irreversible. In some systems, by age seven, children who score in the top 20 percent on tests of numeracy and literacy are already twice as likely to complete a university degree as children in the bottom 20 percent. In England, students that were failing at age 11 had only a 25 percent chance of meeting the standard at age 14. By age 14, the chances that a failing student would graduate with the expected minimum set of school-leaving qualifications had fallen to just six percent. Taken together, all the evidence suggests that even in good systems, students that do not progress quickly during their first years at school, because they are not exposed to teachers of sufficient calibre, stand very little chance of recovering the lost years.

It is because of this research, that at BBC we invest so much time, effort and emphasis on the quality of our Junior School; the teachers, programs and learning culture. We want every boy to get off to a great start in their formative years so they are well placed to succeed later in life. We resource our Junior School to a higher level than other like schools and value the introduction of creative and innovative programs and approaches to learning such as; the Read, Write, Inc Program, Passion Project, Music Every Day Program, Robotics, Wakakirri, Writing Workshops, Learning Support, as well as ensuring foundational skills are well developed. The Junior School curriculum is designed to build a successful foundation for future learning and focuses strongly on the development of fine motor skills, phonological awareness and habits of mind.

The quality and dedication of our teachers is second to none and we know that BBC Junior School boys are being provided with a great start on their lifelong, learning journey. We are keen to share this experience with as many boys as possible, so if you have friends or family members who are uncertain whether or not they should invest in the formative years of their son’s education, please suggest to them that they cannot afford not to send their son to BBC Junior School.

Paul Brown

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