We mostly think of school as a place to learn subjects like math, history, and chemistry. But in truth, those aren’t the only things children need to succeed in the world.

Rachel Tomlinson, a head teacher at Barrowford Primary School in England, recently sent her students home with a letter regarding the class’s test scores on a recent KS2 state exam. Some of the students hadn’t done very well, and she felt like she needed to remind them of something…

Each of the students received a letter like this one from their teacher, Rachel:


The full text reads:

“Please find enclosed your end of KS2 test results. We are very proud of you as you demonstrated huge amounts of commitment and tried your very best during this tricky week.

“However, we are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what 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 our teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do. 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. 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. They do not know that you have travelled to a really neat place or that you know how to tell a great story or that you really love spending time with special family members and friends.

“They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, everyday, to be your very best… the scores you get will tell you something but they will not tell you everything.

“So enjoy your results and be very proud of these but remember there are many ways of being smart.”

It’s so important for kids to learn to believe in themselves and not value the judgements of others too highly. How wonderful is it for this teacher to recognize that and to try to instill it in her students? If only more teachers did things like this!

Share Rachel’s wonderful letter with your friends. You’re never to old to learn to love yourself!