A school in Lancashire, England, sent test scores home Monday to its year six students — that would be sixth-graders in the U.S. — but along with the scores came a letter that was so heartwarming that it immediately went viral on Twitter and has won praise for Barrowford Primary School from all over the U.K., and overseas as well.
And while this is a genuinely heartwarming story, it comes with a twist, so stick with us to the end.
While the letter from Barrowford Headmistress Rachel Tomlinson declared the school “very proud” of the students’ test results, Tomlinson went on to say, “We are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it that make each of you special and unique.”
Assuring students that “there are many ways to be smart,” Tomlinson wrote:
“The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you – the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do. They do not know that many of you speak two languages. They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day.”
Barrowford School says it takes a different approach to education than most other English schools, with the goal to “provide individuals with the ability to learn what we need to in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.”
The letter even produced calls for Tomlinson to be named Britain’s new education secretary.
“They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play or participate in sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister after school,” the letter continued. They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, every day, to be your very best… the scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything.”
Now here’s the twist that we told you about earlier. Whether it changes what you think about the message sent by Tomlinson to her school’s students is up to you.
As pointed out by Twitter users, the letter appears to be ripped off from a note sent home by an American school principal last year, and quoted in this blog post.
That letter read, in part:
“We are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do.”
And so on.
Either way, we wish every school sent a letter like this home to kids.