You are here: Home > Headteacher’s Blog > Is it time to go Dutch?

Is it time to go Dutch?

Going Dutch

At our recent training day, I shared with staff the newly published Department for Education Primary League Tables for Wellbeing. It showed primary schools ranked according to fun, enjoyment and happiness, with Highgate Primary rightfully at the top. Admittedly the table had been fabricated by me, but adding in the Ofsted logo ensured everyone was suitably nervous and paying attention.

The point was simply that, all too often, we evaluate success by measuring the wrong things. In primary schools it’s all about attainment and progress in just reading, writing and maths; in society it tends to be material possession, status and wealth. Surely fun, enjoyment and happiness is every bit as important?

According to Unicef, when compared with 29 of the world’s richest countries, it’s Dutch children that are the happiest. An emphasis on quality family time, playing outdoors and no homework might be factors behind such high levels of happiness, however I suspect it’s more to do with the fact that Dutch parents are happy. And with an average working week of 29 hours, you can understand why this is the case.

We know that happy parents tend to have happy children, so naturally the same is true for teachers. At Highgate Primary we are giving real consideration to supporting our teachers’ wellbeing, not just because we like them, but because quite simply, happy teachers tend to have happy classes. And in turn, happy classes, in which children love coming to school, have fun and enjoy learning, make better progress.

We have fabulous teaching staff at Highgate Primary, but the reality is that everyone is working long hours and feeling under increasing external pressure for their children to make outstanding progress. I’m convinced that if my Wellbeing league tables were to replace those currently published by the Department for Education, children’s attainment in all areas would naturally be higher.

William Dean

Headteacher