Moving schools can be a time filled with anxiety for parents and particularly children, who are dropped into a new environment with challenges ranging from building social relationships to finding their way around their new school buildings (which often sounds easier than it actually is).
Not only this, there is the challenge of building a familiarity with that school’s curriculum and, if the student has moved mid-year, catching up on relevant curriculum content. At The British International School of Kuala Lumpur (BSKL) we certainly appreciate this and ensure that processes and support are in place to allow students to excel and progress academically, no matter when they join.
At Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) a full range of subjects are offered, ensuring that there really is something for everyone and the majority of mid-year joiners settle in quickly. Key Stage 4 and 5 (Years 10-13) is where greater specialisation begins and students have the exciting opportunity of selecting their option subjects. Likewise, a highly structured options process, built around student choice, with detailed material and plenty of face-to-face opportunities, ensures that new students and families are supported throughout.
Joining mid-way through IGCSEs or A Levels can be challenging, particularly if the child has come from a school with a different curriculum. However, we try to be as accommodating as possible and work closely with parents and the student to find solutions. Our teachers and Heads of Department pride themselves on personalised provision and are very well versed in supporting mid-year starters in the process of catching up on content and skills in a way that is measured and manageable.
As a new student, one of the most daunting aspects is homework. Our homework timetable at BSKL (created from student voice), which is shared with both students and parents, is designed to ensure manageability, from a well being aspect. We also ensure our homework is both challenging and relevant, promoting student progress.
We have strong lines of communication between school and home, whether pastorally or academically. Likewise, there are touch points most months (either through school reports, parent-teacher consultations, or parent coffee mornings/afternoons) to guarantee that our parent body is fully informed of their child’s progress and available opportunities, as well as providing scope for parents to be involved in school life.
We are ambitious for all of our students, at whatever point they are joining us and for however long they have been a part of our family.
Written by Aidan Edmanson, Deputy Head of Teaching and Learning at BSKL.