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New Year, New Challenges Ahead

19 januari 2017

Dr Hopkin wrote last week of the many opportunities for fresh starts in the year, one of which is January. Traditionally, it’s a time for looking forward and making plans for doing things differently in the year ahead, to be ambitious and to focus on an element of self-improvement.

  • Secondary

Our students have already been working on their New Year Resolutions in respect of their Academic Achievement.  As we move into the second week, we are reflecting with students upon their successes in their subjects through last term and focusing upon ways of taking their learning forward.  You will have received reports at the end of term outlining attainment in each subject and these form the basis of our collective reflections.

For our students in Years 11 and 13, this means looking closely at their practice exam papers, which were completed in mock examinations or for holiday homework.  Our teachers are working closely with them in lessons to pinpoint areas for development, so that they are able to fill any gaps in knowledge and understanding in preparation for the external exams next term.  They continue to take on responsibility for their own learning through revision at home and I would ask for your continuing support in encouraging them in their studies at home.  Teaching staff are experts in their subject and offer lunchtime intervention sessions and ECA support for Year 11 and 13 students, who would be wise to attend in the weeks ahead.

KS3 students and Years 10 and 12 pupils are discussing their Tracker 2 with Form Tutors at the moment, identifying targets for themselves to help them to move forward.  Our Years 7-9 pupils received Individual Learning Records (ILRs) for each subject in December.  Teaching staff will spend time in lessons discussing these with them.   Please expect to be reviewing these with staff at Student-Parent-Teacher-Conferences this term.  We aim to use ILRs to provide accurate and individual feedback for students on how they can take their learning forward.  They will be writing their targets in their planners and you will be able to review these with them over the next few weeks at home. 

Personalisation is one of the keys to the success of our students and the target setting and intervention strategies are good examples of how it is implemented at BISS.  We want all of our pupils to be ambitious and set themselves a challenge for the year ahead, with the support and encouragement of teachers, peers and parents.

As well as a strong focus on academic achievement, we also promise Exciting Experiences at BISS – the new term has begun strongly with many ECAs already underway, including sporting fixtures.  Last weekend saw basketball teams head to various venues across the city and a full day of physical and mental challenge, teamwork and personal achievements.   Thank you to those students who participated and teachers and parents for their coaching and support.  Our swimmers also had a weekend of success in Nanjing, with many personal bests reached and a spirit of challenge and encouragement ever present amongst pupils, parents and teachers.

On Tuesday, Ingrid Kapteyn, Dance graduate alumna of The Juilliard School and star of ‘Sleep No More’ visited the school and spent the day working with small groups of students from across the school – from our budding actors and dancers in the forthcoming primary drama production, to Drama students in Year 8, IGCSE and IB.  We already have an established Music collaboration with Juilliard and Ingrid’s visit marks the start of the next phase with respect to Dance.  Students enjoyed being inspired in the dance workshops delivered by Ingrid and supported by Marta Cotrim, our Head of Drama.  A memorable experience for all involved and one which will hopefully prove useful for all involved in the Performing Arts at BISS.

The school is now firmly decorated in red as we prepare to celebrate the Chinese New Year and a select group of students in Mandarin lessons in Key Stage 3 are preparing for performances in our talent contest at the end of the week.  Thursday 26 January is the last day of this very short half term and we ask students to wear something red to celebrate the festival.

Andrew Lancaster, Head of Secondary