Happy 2021! I hope that you and your family had a relaxing, enjoyable and safe and healthy holiday.
As you know, the Ministry of Education has closed all schools in Bangkok until Friday 31st January, so this morning we began Term 2 through our Virtual School Experience (VSE). All High School students started the term with an extended Registration/Tutor period during their first lesson, during which Tutors went through our VSE Guidelines: Student version and answered any questions.
You can find more details about the VSE at High School on our VSE website, which includes a link to our full High School VSE 3.0 Guidelines. Please feel free to contact your son/daughter's Tutor or Head of Year if you have any questions.
These guidelines are very similar to the VSE during Term 3 last year, with some changes based on survey feedback from students, parents and teachers at the end of Term 3.
The major change for this new period of VSE being our new requirement that all teachers and students now have their video cameras on during Google Meets.
I am sure that many of you made video calls to friends and family around the world during the holiday, and know that being able to see each other makes a huge difference to the quality of conversations. This is especially true for more complicated discussions, reflecting George Lakoff’s highlighting, in Metaphors We Live By, of the number of times that we use metaphors about seeing to describe understanding, e.g. “I see what you mean”, “look at it this way”, “my point of view”, “a different perspective” and “seeing the big picture”.
During the last period of VSE, we found that those students with their cameras on were significantly more engaged, both educationally and socially, in their lessons. Google Meet's new Change background feature means that all students can now engage fully in their lessons without any privacy concerns, and it has been great to hear, from many teachers, how the students have really embraced this change in today’s lessons.
The current school closure has had a significant impact on the Term 2 calendar, which we are currently reviewing, optimistic that we will be allowed to open fully from Monday 1st February.
As it says in the VSE Guidelines, our current plan is that Year 13 Mock Exams will be delayed one week, and will now begin on Monday 1st February. This is the same week as Year 11 Mock Exams and the first week that we currently expect students to be back in school.
Our planning for Year 11 Mocks is not currently affected by the recent news from the UK about GCSE exams, as Year 11 Mocks will be very important for Year 11 students whether or not the (I)GCSE exams go ahead. Last week, both Cambridge International and Pearson/Edexcel repeated their commitments to running IGCSE exams in May/June even if GCSE exams are cancelled in the UK.
Head of High School