From entrance papers to GCSEs, A-Levels and beyond, exams are a fact of life for students up and down the country. But how do schools prepare young people for the trials and tribulations of testing and how important are good grades to future success? We spoke to Koen Claeys, heaadteacher at Gloucestershire’s Bredon School, to find out…

Koen Claeys, Bredon School

How did your most recent crop of exam age students fare?
I was very proud of our students who sat public exams last summer. 63 per cent of the GCSE results were A* to C. 100 per cent pass rate was achieved for all the BTEC results Levels 1 and 2. At A-level, 46.5 per cent of the grades were A* to B. And again, at BTEC, level 3 we had 100 per cent pass rate.

What do these results mean to the school and its teaching staff?
To me as head, these results mean that we have entered the students for the right exam courses. Our teachers know their students really well.

Beyond grades, how do you measure “success” in the classroom?
Success in the classroom is when a student does not get a new concept in the classroom and the teacher finds a way of explaining it so that the student does get it in the end. We believe in the idea of “if a student cannot learn the way our teachers teach, our teachers will teach the way our students learn.”

How do you put students at ease during the exam season?
We have regular mindfulness classes at the school which help the students to control their nerves when they sit exams.

Find out more about Bredon School at

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