The “Full Court Press”

24 Nov 2017

For students who are taught by me, it does not take long for two things to become abundantly clear: I am fanatically keen on almost every sport; and I draw analogies to explain things frequently in lessons. So as not to stray from my usual characteristics, I thought I’d combine these two traits to explain the approach we take to learning at Ealing. 

The Full Court Press is a term first coined in basketball in the 1950s to describe the way in which teams could defend, by pressuring opponents through high pressure man-to-man marking as soon as the game begins into falling into their trap, and giving up possession. It’s a highly effective tactic, but one which takes a great deal of hard work as a defending team. It’s also an approach which compares favourably to our monitoring procedures at the College, in the daily match up involving teachers and students.

Firstly, as soon as the term commenced in September, College staff members have been monitoring student movements tightly, and we are very proud to say that we take a ‘man-toman’ approach from the start, with the Personal Tutor taking the lead in the process. Each College student, as important as the next, must meet the standards expected of them, which are universally high. Our regular assessments, in the form of homework and tests, ensure that the level of monitoring is regular and close. With pleasure, I can state that we do not give them an inch for manoeuvre and where we find fault, in effect when they make a personal foul, intervention is quickly put in place, smothering the issue.

Due to our daily break meetings, which focus completely on attendance and punctuality, students know that we are keeping track of their movements, and will seize on any indiscretions in this area. This also applies to work which is not attempted, comes in incomplete or is substandard, and the ‘Extra School’ sessions which the College runs on a daily basis for both GCSE and A Level students ensure they get back on track with set work. Where extra pressure needs to be applied in our full court press, we do not hesitate to use it.

We understand that the approach takes consistent hard work on our part, but we do not shrink from this task – in fact, not only do we do apply it consistently, but we are happy to publicise it, sharing our workings with the spectators, or parents, there to encourage the players, or students. We are also swift to involve these parents where too many personal fouls, or episodes of unacceptable student conduct, bring concern.

We have to work towards the final buzzer of the exam session, but the end goal is, of course, that we all win come results time in August!


Allan Cairns

Director of Studies

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