Nord Anglia Education
Nord Anglia
09 February, 2024

Message from the Head of Secondary

Message from the Head of Secondary - Message from the Head of Secondary
One People One Planet 2 was a wonderful community event, conceived, planned and led by students.  So what is OPOP?  One People One Planet is an idea.  What if we really listened to what our students talk and care about?  What if we hosted a community event that showcased the work that our students do in school to promote sustainability?  What if we invited our community into school to see a glimpse of how the world might be a little better?  What if we encouraged our community to do one thing – or more – a little differently so that we used less, recycled more, reduced our impact?  What if we paid a little more attention to our wellbeing through activity, rather than through consumption?

It's an idea.

Last year, students came up with a Manifesto for Change, a collection of statements that challenged the school community to plan events differently and to ‘set the tone for future generations’.  This year, students picked up that gauntlet and added a different dimension – a focus on Sustainable Development Goal 15, Life on Land whilst trying to stay true to the principles of the Manifesto for Change.  Ideas came from all corners of our school – a sports-shirt-swap-stall, recycled Formula 1 racing, Ted Talks, guest speakers, partnerships with local businesses – and groups of students could be seen across the school plotting, planning, collaborating, risk-taking, laughing, succeeding…

For students the day began with Ted Talks delivered by….student volunteers and sports events planned by….student volunteers.  There were volunteer guest speakers – three of whom were….students and one of whom was….a parent of two of our students!  Across the school on Tuesday morning, students were being encouraged to act and think a little differently.  In the afternoon, the community came together outside to enjoy each other’s company, to have fun and to bear witness to the learning that takes place in our school every day, learning that is preparing young people for a future in which sustainability will – must – take centre stage.  

All of this represents one strand of something bigger, which we believe very strongly in our school – that students voice really matters.   We want our students to feel that they can come forward with an idea and have it listened to, discussed and debated perhaps and, if appropriate, that that idea can be turned into action.  

And there is another idea which was closely associated with OPOP2, that of volunteering.  Throughout our school, we give our students the opportunity to volunteer to help – with Sports Days, with arts events, with each other – and they enthusiastically do so.  Beyond that parents and teachers volunteer too, our Community Group are all volunteers, over 60 of our teachers volunteered to help run the Triathlon this week, students regularly volunteer their time to run and support events.  These people expect nothing in return.  The word ‘volunteer’ comes of course from the Latin word ‘voluntarius’ which means ‘willing’ or ‘of one’s own choice’.  Volunteers expect nothing in return for the work they do, the hours they give.  Volunteers act because they believe in the idea they are supporting, because they want to do something ‘good’ for others.  Being ‘seen’ is not important to a volunteer, doing is.   That so much of our community wants to volunteer their time is a huge compliment to the idea of our school – that it is a place for good.

We hope you enjoyed OPOP2.  We hope you learned a little from it.  We hope you changed a little because of it.  We hope.  And we act.  BIS Abu Dhabi students are volunteering and making a difference.  And they won’t stop.

Chris Lowe

Head of Secondary

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