Dear Parents and Students
I am pleased to announce that we have completed the first phase of our curriculum review, which was driven by our vision, “Be challenged and inspired today, challenge and inspire tomorrow”. We are extremely excited about the improvements that we are planning for next academic year and are convinced they are going to allow our students even better learning opportunities than are currently provided.
Based on feedback from students, parents and staff, we set out to answer the following questions:
1. How can we enable our Qatari students to take part in IPC lessons?
2. Should we be adopting a school-wide thematic approach to teaching and learning?
3. What will the MIT initiative look like with STEAM (introduce robotics and/or computing)?
4. How will we integrate Juilliard into our curriculum (music, dance and drama)?
5. Should we continue with Cambridge science or adapt science into IPC?
6. How can learning be meaningful for all of our learners, including EAL students?
7. What courses should we be offering at IGCSE & A-level and with what exam board?
At the parent information session that we hosted Tuesday 8 May, I presented our answers to the above questions, which can be found here.
Prior to implementing changes to our curriculum, we needed to decide on a structure for our timetable next academic year. The start and finish times of the day remain unchanged; however, we will have six lessons per day. This new structure will allow us to have a one-week timetable instead of our current two-week model. Additionally, we will no longer have a lesson split over a break time. The breaking up of lessons has had a negative impact on students’ learning. By offering 4 x 50-minute lessons of Arabic per week, we will be fully compliant with Ministry of Education requirements. I hope you agree that the new model brings many advantages to the everyday learning that will take place at NAISAK.
I will provide a very brief overview of some of the changes. Perhaps the area where the biggest concerns raised with our curriculum by everybody is that our students who speak Arabic as a mother tongue are not able to study the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) in the Primary School. We are adapting our Primary curriculum to address this, which will enable all students to take part in IPC lessons. The model is as follows:
|Arabic mother tongue
||Non Arabic speakers
|4,2,1 (Arabic, Islamic, Qatari History)
||1 Qatari History, 1 Music, 1 Languages, 4 STEAM (could be MIT, PBL, Coding, Literature/Language Arts, DT)
|All Students: 6 Numeracy, 6 Literacy, 2 PE, 1 Assembly, 0.5 Golden Time
|Integrated curriculum: 3 Science, 1 ICT, 1 PSHE, 1 Art, 0.5 Library, 1 Performing Arts (Juilliard)
We will adopt a theme-based approach to teaching andlearning across both Primary and Secondary School. From next year, we will adopt the International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC) in Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9). The implementation of the IMYC will be over three years in Secondary allowing us to adequately prepare for this exciting development. Here is an article that highlights some of the benefits of thematic learning.
I am delighted to report that we have appointed Kathleen Lyons, Victoria Maclean and Tracey Phillips to oversee the implementation of the STEAM curriculum in the Primary School. Stephen Newnham will coordinate the Secondary STEAM curriculum as we implement our collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). We have also employed a Computer Science teacher in the Secondary School, which may lead to the introduction of Computing Studies in 2019-20. We will adapt our science curriculum in Primary to ensure that it is more practical-based and meaningful for our students.
We have appointed a non-specialist leader to look at integrating our Juilliard initiative into Primary classrooms. We have also appointed a fantastic dance specialist who will take the lead bringing the dance aspect of Juilliard into our Physical Education curriculum.
Subject specialists will reflect upon the various syllabi to identify which courses best suit our students at IGCSE and Advanced Level next year. We will also look to identify which courses we need to introduce to further enhance our course offerings from Years 10 to 13.
Should you have any questions or would like further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me to further discuss.