Premiership Football and Exams!

For those of you who like soccer, I am confident that this will be an interesting article. For those who are not so keen on the game – hopefully the analogies I make will still make this an interesting article for you.

Let’s have a look at some data - The English Premiership and winning teams since its inception under this name.

Manchester United – winner 13 times
Chelsea – winner 5 times
Arsenal – winner 3 times
Manchester City – winner 3 times
Blackburn Rovers – winner 1 time
Leicester City – winner 1 time
Liverpool – winner 1 time

To focus on one club - Leicester City – they had quite a season five years ago for what would be considered a ‘small’ club – did they expect at the beginning of the 2015/2016 season to be lifting the trophy after 42 matches? I am sure that they hoped – but perhaps not thought - it could truly be a possibility. There are some ‘big name clubs in The English Premiership and with that brings money and hence the affordability of big squads and star players. And so, as Leicester sat at the top of The Premiership during that season, the experts predicted that their reign would be temporary - it can’t last, the ‘big’ clubs, one of the clubs that always seem to win, would overtake them - and win. Snatch the trophy from them at some stage before the final match.

But it didn’t happen - Leicester City showed remarkable resilience, tenacity - and of course talent – they stuck in there and won.

So, Leicester City, said the ‘experts’ – had a lucky season – less injuries than the other clubs, some of the refereeing decisions ‘went their way’. They won’t ever do this again! 2016 – 2017 Leicester finished 12th. Perhaps the ‘experts’ had finally got it right? 2017 – 2018 they finished 9th – better, but no trophy. Same in 2018 – 2019. 

We now come to 2019 – 2020. It would be nice to end this part of the story with a win (unless you support Liverpool Football Club) – but they didn’t – however they did come fourth.  

My question to the Year 11 cohort in an assembly this term – how many of you are prepared to show the same tenacity, drive and determination as Leicester City did when you approach your examinations? And not just this year, or next but every year. Keep trying and keep competing. 

Our Year 12 students are presently sitting their external examinations and after the targeted revision and support of the last few months and the absolute determination they have shown in their work - hopefully they will have the confidence that Leicester City had during the 2015/2016 season and demonstrate just how good they are at each of their subjects. 

My Year 12 Physics class haven’t always ‘won’ (to use some footballing parlance) every match. Sometimes they have ‘drawn’ and sometimes they have ‘lost’. But what made me proud, as their teacher, was the determination they showed to improve after each ‘loss’. The analytics carried out on what had worked and what hadn’t – analytics that would have made a Premiership Coach proud. And then the learning and search for improvement. And this is true not just of my class. The new Australian Tertiary Admission Rank has certainly presented the odd challenge and all of our students evaluated each challenge and then found ways to overcome it. You can’t really ask for more than that. 

To conclude, exam success needs a solid foundation - just as a club who wins the premiership will have prepared, so does a student. Early, focussed revision with a planned revision timetable and effective revision techniques all help. But, to be truly successful it needs to be coupled to that resilience and tenacity – and don’t fear failure in the lead up (Leicester City were almost relegated from The Premiership the season before they won it) – just learn from failure!

Richard Worsey
Director of Teaching and Learning