Last week was one of the more stressful weeks I have had at St Andrews but the final outcome was well worth it. The Accreditation Team made the judgement to award the International School Quality Mark (ISQM). The team’s judgement was that our school was deemed to be outstanding in all areas and fully complies with the requirements for the British Schools Overseas (BSO) Award.
The Education Trust and ONESQA accreditation inspection teams were very thorough and active throughout the four and half days they were in school. They had carefully considered our self review document and had lots of questions, asking to see the evidence for all that we had stated. The team observed over 87 lessons across the school and scrutinised all areas of campus, paying particular attention to displays and the learning environment, and also interviewing staff and children. They met with the Primary and High School student leadership and middle management teams such as the Year Leaders, Curriculum Coordinators and Heads of Faculty in High School as well as a group of parents from the PTG.
Each morning I met with the team leader, Mike Hewlett, and discussed his team’s observations from the day before. Mike would ask for information and who to speak with for clarification about the different issues his team had observed and seen.
On another front, the ONESQA team worked closely with our Thai teaching team and managers, observing many lessons across the school and examining our assessment and planning. They met with Thai parents to hear their perceptions of the Thai programme and how they felt it could be further improved.
At the end of the week, the Accreditation team provided verbal feedback about their judgements on what we had stated in our self review versus what they had actually found to be the case from their four days of inspection, meetings and enquiries. For each of the judgements the team made in the eight standards of operations considered, clear evidence matching our assessment in the self review report must have been observed. They went through each standard and the picture they painted was, I am proud to say, a very positive one.
I would like to thank all the teaching and administration staff for all the extra work this inspection has entailed over the last year, and especially the last four weeks, as we prepared for this final inspection week.
For the next stage in the process, the EDT team returns to the UK and produces their formal report on the school. This useful publication will guide our attention towards areas of further improvement, so we very much look forward to receiving once the report has gone through the full process of recognition with EDT and the British Ministry of Education. It will be finally published on their website and also presented to ONESQA so that our school receives full recognition by the Thai Ministry of Education.
A few other things that are happening in school
This week the High School is engaged with the “Week Without”. It is always interesting to see what individual teachers and students are willing to give up for the week.
It will be a busy week in Key Stage 2 as Year 6 are sitting their SAT examinations. They have had practice SATs all last week and have been working hard on all the areas that they will be tested on. I know you will join me in wishing them all the best in what is likely their first important exam.
Following SAT week is the Key Stage 2 production of The Jungle Book. The Drama Studio looks amazing and I know lots of children have been rehearsing and working together in preparation for the final performances to the public. I am really looking forward to seeing it.
Parking at the Primary School
At the beginning and end of each school day our school car parks get very busy. We have continued to look for ways to alleviate the stress this causes parents when they are trying to find parking so that they can pick up or bring their children to school. This is one of the biggest challenges we face at the Primary School.
To combat this, our school introduced its free shuttle bus service so that parents do not need to park at the Primary School. This service enables parents to board a shuttle bus from BTS Ekamai that will bring them directly to the Primary School. I really appreciate the extra effort some of our families make to use this service. We are continually looking to further develop our free shuttle bus network. From the start of this term we introduced a shuttle bus from MaxValu on Soi 71 to the Primary School. MaxValu has some great facilities and an especially large car park for very easy parking first thing in the morning and at 2.30 p.m. when our school day finishes. Last week a number of families started using this service. Please consider MaxValu as an option if you want to park easily near school and avoid a bit of hassle. These are the approximate departure times of this new bus service, but please take into account that these times will be subject to Bangkok’s mercurial traffic patterns.
Our school has a busy community around it. Our entrance on Soi 20 was developed so that our shuttle buses had a place to pick up and drop off. The neighbours in this area have been very patient over the last couple of years, but recently some of our families have been very inconsiderate to those people living in these streets around Soi 20. Please do not park your car in front of people’s driveways, effectively blocking them in. It would be far better to park your car at MaxValu and make use of the new shuttle bus service. Last term the local police came to the school to discuss the problem of the parking and the congestion in these side streets and the issues it is causing for the residents. They will be wheel clamping and fining individuals who are found to be parking in these side streets.
If your family is fortunate enough to have a driver, please have them park off-site during the day and just come to the school to pick up and not be waiting around in the school parking all day. The school shall be contacting owners of cars or minibuses found to be at school for long periods and hence forming a considerable logjam in the limited parking we have at the Primary School.
We shall continue to look for other parking opportunities and are working with the management group who have the buildings in front of our school so that hopefully in the future we can provide a better walkway from Sukhumvit 71 to the school and more parking along Soi 20/1.
The school has been looking at trying to find other zones especially around Soi 20 that we could rent for more parking similar to what has already been provided off Soi 20. If you know of any vacant areas around the school that would be interested in renting to the school as additional parking, please inform the School Office so that we may start discussions with the owners.