Lanna school’s vision to provide “a quality education so that all students are able to reach their full potential…” is splashed all over our school and its documents. So, how are we doing with this? Are we getting close to achieving our vision?
The first question that may spring to mind is what exactly is a quality education?
Is a quality education all about academic growth? Is it about opening minds and developing creativity? Is it about the development of responsible global citizens? Is it about nurturing students’ emotional and physical wellbeing?
The answer, of course, is that it is all of these things, and at Lanna we make a conscious effort to incorporate these hugely wide ranging goals into what we do. Interestingly, however, it is the more tangible evidence of a “quality education” on which judgements are often based. We are judged upon academic progress and qualifications gained – simply because it is these things that determine much of what happens in students’ later lives. What universities can they access? What career opportunities will they have?
So, how are we doing academically? At Lanna our key ways of assessing this are through our successes in high school external examination courses. For us this means success in the University of Cambridge’s IGCSEs and then A levels.
Students at Lanna follow between 8 and 10 IGCSE courses in Years 10 and 11. These are hugely popular courses internationally, and provide a broad and solid foundation that prepares students for the A level courses that follow them. Our results at IGCSE are outstanding, and we are still seeing improvement year on year, with a pass rate of 71% in 2014, 81% in 2015, and 85% in 2016. This compares very favourably with a 66% GCSE pass rate in the UK last year.
After IGCSE our students go on to study A levels (advanced levels). There has been a huge improvement in our offerings at this level during my 12 years at Lanna. From a meagre offering of 5 A levels we have grown to offer an incredible 18 A level courses – far more than most British schools of comparable size. This has been done so our students can make choices to study courses that really meet their needs and aspirations. Our class sizes are tiny, and results excellent.
Pass rates for A level courses over the last three years have been consistently extremely pleasing with 89% in 2014, 97% in 2015, and 93% in 2016.
So where now? Is it time to rest? 🙂
Education is an ever moving field and we are looking forward to what we can do next to offer an even higher quality educational experience. Is 18 A levels enough? Probably not… We have students who I know would love to study subjects that we don’t offer, such as psychology or media studies. We have students who might be better suited to a different form of study, such as BTECs, instead of A levels. What about design and technology? Where is our wood and metal shop?
As our student numbers grow, and as we look forward to transitioning to a new purpose built school, all of this becomes possible. We are not standing still, but striving to offer an ever expanding range of possibilities for our students, and hopefully not forgetting all of the other important things along the way – emotional and physical well-being, compassion, creativity, open-mindedness… the whole person, and their life after Lanna, is, of course, what really matters, after all.
On the subject of life after Lanna, it would be remiss of me to not mention changes in our students’ university destinations. They are now going off to some wonderful opportunities all over the world. Only 6 years ago 80% went to universities within Thailand; over the last two years 85% have gone abroad, and this year it looks set to be 90% heading off on international adventures. I think this says a lot about the shift in culture at Lanna, with ever rising expectations and aspirations of our students. Interesting times… and an absolute pleasure to be part of.