When 11 year-old Ben Twist received a letter from his school in Merseyside, England, explaining that he had failed to pass the exams needed to get into high school, his mother was reduced to tears…but not in the way you’d expect.
Instead of a standard letter informing them of the grades, they received a heart-warming response from Ben’s assistant head teacher, Ruth Clarkson, acknowledging Ben’s attributes and achievements outside of the exam room.
Ben, who has autism, was praised for his social qualities and creative abilities – skills and talents that were not measured in the standard exams taken by Ben, his friends and thousands of other children every year.
Ben’s mother, Gail Twist, was so touched by the letter that she posted it to Twitter to highlight the school’s understanding warmth and ability to acknowledge that children’s talents cannot be defined by a simple pass or fail:
“The letter came as a complete surprise, it was just so wonderful and the most beautiful letter I’ve ever read. The fact that they’d addressed it to Ben was just so lovely too, he was so surprised and said how ‘awesome’ it was and couldn’t believe they really thought that about him.”
The school has highlighted the importance of understanding autism and the different ways in which children of all abilities learn and flourish. Essential life skills such as team work, forging friendships, kindness, independence and a positive attitude should be celebrated just as much, if not more, than the pass mark on an exam paper. As Ruth Clarkson wrote in the letter – addressed to Ben personally – that “these tests only measure a little bit of you and your abilities”.
Featured photo credit: Mercury Press via telegraph.co.uk