Last week I outlined why we value independence and what it looks like in learners. As promised, this week I want to focus on how to achieve this. Independence is intrinsically connected to responsibility, resilience and confidence. Its development is a complex and non-linear process. Below I have tried to outline a general approach that can be used in learning and other aspects of school life and beyond.
How do we develop independence?
Give children the freedom to make their own decisions and choices, encourage them to do so. The level of freedom awarded is highly dependent on the child. It should be phased based on prior behaviour, maturity and experience. Children should know that this freedom has to be earned.
Be clear that they will be held accountable for the consequences of their choices. Ensure they understand that they are responsible for the outcome.
Where the result of the freedom is not evident to you, speak to them about whether they managed it well and if they were successful. Try not to cut them out of this ‘checking’ by contacting others and confronting the child (although this may be necessary in some cases), show trust in them.
Hold the child accountable for the outcome.
If the outcome has been negative, such as forgetting sport kit, homework or a poor grade, teach them how to manage the situation. Demonstrate or outline how to cope with failure. Support your child through this by modelling what can be done to recover.
If the outcome is positive, praise their ability to cope with responsibility. Be specific about what they have done and ensure they understand that you now trust them more and they have demonstrated that they are ready for greater independence.
Each time the child demonstrates a greater capacity to cope with independence the scope of the responsibility can be increased.
Through this learning a parent can develop independence by offering your child control and responsibility to manage certain aspects of their school life. This could start with managing their homework, preparation for assessments, packing of school bag or care for belongings. However, as they move through school, and certainly by the end of Year 13 you should expect that your child can manage all aspects of their learning.
A Year 13 student should be able to provide you with a summary of their progress and attainment which is accurate and detailed. They should feel empowered and able to seek your support and guidance when they feel they have a choice or situation that they cannot manage themselves. At this point we can be confident they are ready to embark upon the next step of their education and leave us for university.
Happy new year, I hope you all enjoyed a restful break.
I would like to thank those parents who took the time to brave the adverse winter conditions to attend the PTA Open Meeting where Ms Rachel Rhodes and I presented on the role of service learning in our school and why we so passionately believe it has a place in a well-rounded education. If you were unable to attend, it is the intention to discuss this aspect of learning at a later point in the term.
The importance of developing independence
An education that is far more than academic outcomes lies at the heart of a British International Education. As a school it is our aim to ensure that when our students leave us at the end of Year 13 they do so equipped to thrive at university and beyond. A critical element of this is the ability to be successfully independent, able to shoulder responsibility, make good choices and cope when things do not go as planned.
Additionally, developing independence is one of the best ways to build confidence. When you teach children to make decisions for themselves, you send a clear signal that you believe that they are capable.
Over the next two weeks I will outline what independence looks like in school and how we can work together to achieve this.
What does independence look like in terms of learning?
The hallmarks of independent learners are many and varied. However, I have outlined below some that are mentioned in research and are frequently observed in students who possess high levels of independence in their learning. Such students will:
Be committed, determined and will persevere: they will be aware of the consequences of their actions and will understand they are responsible for success and failure;
Demonstrate resilience: they will have experienced, faced and moved beyond failure and challenge in a manageable way. This will mean they feel confident to cope with adversity;
Take risks: they will have developed ways of managing failure or coping with mistakes and this will lead to them being confident to try new things;
Take responsibility for their learning: they will understand that whether they experience success or not in their learning is connected to their actions;
Know when to ask for help: seeking guidance and support will be a strategy they will have rehearsed;
Be organised: they will be aware of the consequences of being poorly organised and understand that this is their responsibility;
Practise: they will have made connections between their conduct and approach and outcomes in learning. Hence, they will value and engage in positive learning habits including practice.
Through their schooling as students grow and mature they will establish, refine and develop these attributes. If we, in partnership with parents and students, can equip young people with these skills and dispositions they will be well set to succeed within and beyond school.
Exactly how we can go about helping young people become more independent, assume responsibility and manage aspects of their learning will be the focus of next week’s newsletter piece.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Today we drew this term to a close and celebrated all that we have achieved so far. Our final assembly today reflected on the events and activities inside and outside of our classrooms and looked forward to some of the exciting features we have coming up in Term 2.
After such a busy and active term I encouraged our students to take a well-earned rest and enjoy the time with their family and friends and return to us refreshed and full of energy in January.
I would like to thank you all for your support throughout this term and wish you a wonderful break and a happy new year.
As we promote our Term 2 Co-Curricular Activity programme and celebrate the success of the ENASA Volleyball Tournaments and Winter Concert, I wanted to outline why in particular these aspects of our CCA programme are so critical to an all-round education.
The Value of Participating in Sports Teams and Music Ensembles
As parents there are a range of dispositions and skills we wish to develop in our children. If you wish to support your child to become confident, enjoy school, take risks, shoulder personal and shared responsibility, possess excellent social skills, build strong relationships, work effectively with others (even under pressure) and recognise the value and importance of practice and determination then you would be hard pushed to beat what they will gain from becoming part of an ensemble, supporting back of stage or joining one of the school sports teams.
Confidence: Taking opportunities to perform in public, on stage and sports fields allows children to become accustomed to taking risks, experiencing success and realising that when things don’t go well it is possible to recover. All ingredients for developing confidence.
Collaboration: Participating in ensembles and sports teams require students to perform as part of a team, to work as a single unit. This requires an ability to communicate verbally and non-verbally as well as manage and maintain an appropriate mindset and mood through periods of adversity. Above all performing at a high level on a stage or a pitch requires exceptional social skills, communication, flexibility and empathy to draw the best out of all members.
Determination: An ability to work through periods of difficulty and a recognition of the value of practice is a critical element of sports training and developing competence on a musical instrument. Experiencing the impact of practice on skill level helps students to value such an approach.
Sense of belonging: Being part of a sports team or music ensemble provides a shared collective experience; a critical element of feeling part of something. In the rehearsals and training, performances and matches, periods of downtime backstage and in changing rooms and finally, the celebration following the closing of the match/tournament or performance, children share an experience. A rollercoaster of emotions, success and failure, adversity and finally a sense of collective achievement will establish and strengthen their relationships with their peers.
Commitment: Being part of something larger than yourself will demand students to make choices which may be counter to their individual wants and needs for the greater good of the collective. They will be required to give up their time, perhaps when they wish not to, in order to support their peers. It is through such behaviour that they will learn the value and importance of consideration of others and the relationship between personal and collective responsibility.
Enjoyment: At least as important as the skills development listed above is the enjoyment children will gain from being involved in sports and music. Such social activities and the sense of achievement and celebration present before, during and after committing yourself entirely to something as part of a group was abundant and obvious on the faces of all those who walked off court last weekend or as our performers left the building on Wednesday evening after their performances.
Lastly, with sports leading to improved physical and mental health and many studies suggesting that music leads to improvements in intelligence it is hard to argue against the value of students’ involvement and the importance of this aspect of schooling.
Of course, music and sport represent a small slice of the range of CCAs on offer so please take the time to look through the CCA booklets on our website here and on Firefly. CHQ Login will open at 06:00 on Tuesday 11th December 2018 and will close at 23:59 on Thursday 13th December 2018.
As we edge towards the end of a very busy first term of the year the classrooms remain busy with lots of exciting and vibrant learning. However, as I stated in our presentations to parents at the start of the year, our co-curricular learning provision is as important to us as our curricular learning. As such, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight and share some of the learning outside of the classrooms taking place over the next couple of weeks.
Enrichment: Ritangle Mathematics Competition
Some of our students have been taking part in the annual Ritangle competition run by GCHQ in the UK. Five questions have been released over the course of October and early November with 20 more released every weekday until 4th December. The final question which is released next Wednesday at 10:00 Budapest time is a race against the other team times competing.
Sport: ENASA Volleyball Tournament
We are hosting the under 19 Boys and Girls ENASA Volleyball Tournaments over the next two days. Our teams will compete against Nord Anglia Education teams from across the region culminating in the final on Saturday. I am sure they would welcome your support so please do come along and cheer them on Saturday in the Sports building.
Performance: Winter Concert
On Tuesday and Wednesday next week we have a wide range of our students performing in our Winter Concert. A range of musical ensembles, drama groups involving our students, parents and teachers will all take to the stage to share the product of their practice over the course of this term. This promises to be a fantastic event and we look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible.
Performance: A Doll’s House
On Monday and Tuesday of the final week of term we have two performances of A Doll’s House written by Henrik Ibsen. Please see the posters in school and LCD screens for more details.
This Saturday is the annual BISB Christmas Fair; the product of exceptional amounts of hard work from our PTA which we are immensely grateful for. We very much look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible. Please support our Secondary students as they raise funds as part of the International Award, Tanzania Expedition and various charities including Csodalampa and Age of Hope.
As teachers it is central to our profession to do everything we can to support students to flourish academically, personally and socially. So, when I came across this quote in a book I have just finished I felt I should share it:
“Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and the flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?” - Walker, Matthew PhD (2017) "Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams " .
Matt Walker is talking about sleep. In our students’ daily lives where school, family, friends and hobbies fill their days it is often sleep that is forgone. However, there is mounting evidence that sleep before learning refreshes our ability to make new memories and sleep after learning is how the new information is preserved in our minds. Furthermore, it is not practice that makes perfect alone, it is practice followed by a night of quality sleep that hones skills and understanding. Couple this with the fact that sleep deprivation works against the developmental phase of life during adolescence, a stage they are most vulnerable to psychiatric disorders, and the importance of a quality nine-hour sleep pattern for teenagers is brought into sharp focus.
During my conversations as part of the learning reviews with our Year 11 students, I have been reiterating the importance of balance during their Christmas break. Revision and time with family and friends must be carefully balanced with ensuring they are enjoying at least nine hours sleep a night.
Perhaps we could all benefit from this advice.
Have a wonderful (and well rested) weekend.
Over the last few weeks several competitive sports fixtures across a variety of sports and age groups have taken place. There will be more in the upcoming weeks. In addition, our competition to put an image to our mascot, the Wolf, concluded today and we will be announcing the winner shortly. The sports department are always looking for new team members so if your child is not involved this term please encourage them to do so next term. Being part of a sports team or recreational club is a great way of building collaboration, leadership and communication skills as well as maintain a good level of physical fitness.
Last weekend saw a range of our football teams taking to the pitch within the DVAC tournament. They enjoyed remarkable success and should be commended on their performances and conduct throughout. Well done Wolves!
This weekend sees our U19 boys and girls competing on the volleyball court. Good luck! We look forward to hearing how they get on next week.
Please do not allow other adults to use your parent card to access the school site. If you have another adult who needs to enter please inform the tutor or class teacher so that security can be informed and a pass issued upon arrival. If this is a semi-permanent arrangement, we can register the adult and allow them to have a card.
I hope that your household has been alive with Mathematical conversations following our themed enrichment week in the Secondary school. After some fascinating and engaging workshops with our visiting mathematician Zoe Griffiths, mathematical relays, competitions and codebreaking I am confident that our students have, not only had a great deal of fun, but also been provided with opportunities to engage with Mathematics in a very different way to their normal classroom lessons.
In addition to what was on offer for our students, on Wednesday evening we had two classrooms full of interested and engaged parent ‘IB Mathematics students’. Mr Beadle and Mr Moruzzi led lessons on Geometric Series, an element of both the Standard Level and Higher Level IB curriculum. I trust that the parents who took this opportunity enjoyed their learning and felt they had gained an insight into the student experience.
My gratitude to our Mathematics department for arranging such an exciting and inspiring programme.
Enrichment Week June 2019
A reminder that the information regarding our Co-Curricular Learning Enrichment Week Residentials taking place in June 2019 has been sent via email. Confirmation of attendance is required by Monday. Should you have any questions regarding these residentials please contact Mr Kevin Swaine - Co-Curricular Learning Coordinator at email@example.com
Welcome back after the break. Thank you for all your support in ensuring the students return in their full winter uniform. The standard of student uniform has been excellent with the exception of only a few students. A gentle reminder that jeans and leggings are not acceptable and that shoes should be black leather (the sole should also be black).
Organisation and Independence
As our Year 13 students will attest to this term, the value of being organised and possessing sufficient independent learning skills to manage the breadth and depth of their learning in the IB Diploma Programme cannot be overplayed. The IB specifically reference the skills of organisation in their Approaches to Learning. These skills are critical to success at school, university and beyond.
Developing the skills to manage learning across a number of subjects, multiple deadlines as well as commitments outside the classroom represents a challenge to young people. The development of these skills throughout a child’s schooling is a gradual process: from Year 7 students learning how to organise their equipment for each day and navigate around the school through to managing the array of assessed components of the IB Diploma in Years 12 and 13.
Understanding the level of support a child needs at each stage of their education is not easy to identify and it is an area where parents and teachers must work together particularly well on. As we head into a series of parents' evenings through the next weeks and months I would encourage you to pay particular attention to the development of this in your conversations with your child’s teachers. Students will certainly benefit from these often-undervalued skills as they move through their education and into more demanding learning.
We are delighted to announce that having selected a school sport team mascot of The Wolves we are now seeking a logo design. Please see further details of how you can enter in this newsletter and on Firefly.
Have a wonderful weekend.
As international week draws to a close it is worth considering the role such events play within an international school such as ours. To me such events must have at least two elements. Firstly, a celebration of our diversity, the rich and varied backgrounds, cultures and nationalities that make up our community. Secondly, such an event should provide the chance to focus on what it means to be a global citizen or demonstrate international mindedness.
In this second focus we have been considering what it means to be a global citizen, specifically, our responsibility to address the issues facing the world today. As previously mentioned, we have been exploring the Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
It is through exploring these ideas and considering our role in addressing them that we attempt to provide students with a sense of their place in the world, the freedoms they enjoy and the responsibilities that come alongside such freedoms.
Please take the time to ask your children about what they have been involved in today and what they have learned.
Finally, it would be remiss of us not to express a huge thank you to all those parents who contributed to the wonderful celebration of our diversity through the delicious food provided during lunchtimes this week.
Have a wonderful half term break and I look forward to seeing you all on 29th October.
This year we will be marking International Week by exploring one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, we will focus on Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Students will be working in small groups across a range of activities replacing the normal timetabled lessons.
The activities are designed to meet two broad outcomes:
Students develop an understanding of Goal 16 and its importance
Students understand their place in acting towards the goal in their own personal actions and the actions of their communities.
Students may continue the work carried out each day with an entry into the Nord Anglia Education Global Challenge. This is a competition held in partnership with UNICEF and culminating in the identification of our representatives who will visit the United Nations in New York and speak at the High-Level Political Forum along with other winners from across the family of schools.
Celebrities talk about United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in this video.
Students may attend International Day on Friday 19th October in national dress, national sports kit or national colours. No club sports kit, please. Alternatively students may wear school uniform.
This year we are extremely grateful to our parents for providing an enriched school lunch provision with a daily offering from around the world. Our school lunches this year will also be themed to match. We hope our students enjoy the wide range of culinary delights. Learn more about next week's menu here.
Please note that from next half term students should attend school in full uniform. For boys and girls this comprises
White long-sleeved business shirt
BISB school blazer with NAE crown logo
Black leather or leather look polished shoes
Learn more about our uniform here.
Have a wonderful weekend.
In previous weeks I have outlined the key focuses for the Secondary school. Having focused on how we are developing teaching and learning, pastoral support, the house system and co-curricular learning, our final focus is our use of technology.
Enhancing learning through the employment of technology has long been one of the school’s priorities. In conjunction with this there has remained a focus on ensuring our students are equipped to engage with technology safely and responsibly. Many parents will have seen evidence of this through the learning taking place in our guidance programme but also through our visit of Jon Taylor last year to train staff, speak to students and address parents on this topic.
In addition to maintaining these focuses this year we are going to work with our students and parents on effective use of technology to support communication. This will involve an increased use of our main tool, Firefly. Firefly serves as our portal for all members of our community. It is where you should be able to find the information you require, monitor you child’s learning through their homework tasks and also access their school reports. We will continue to develop this throughout this year. Your feedback on this is very welcome so please get in touch regarding your experience on Firefly.
Have a wonderful weekend.
This week has been another lively week in Secondary with our celebration of languages. A week of activities in form time, break time and lunchtime culminated with a fun multilingual karaoke to finish off the week. You can find photos of these events in this newsletter.
Our first school report was published on Firefly yesterday. You will have received an email on how to access these reports. Should you have any issues regarding this please do not hesitate to contact us for further clarification.
Next week we will be taking our annual school photos. Students will have tutor group and individual photos taken. The exact schedule has been sent to you by email. We thank you in advance for your support in ensuring that all students arrive in full school winter uniform: white shirt, tie and blazer.
U19 ENASA Football
Congratulations to our U19 Boys’ and Girls’ Football teams who enjoyed a successful weekend. The boys secured third place and the girls first place without conceding a goal in any of their games. Well done to all those involved and thank you to their coaches: Mr Walker and Mr Gibson alongside Ms Scaramella who accompanied the students.
Have a wonderful weekend.
This week has seen Secondary alive with competition as students compete with one another to score points for their houses in our House Week event. Through a range of students-led competitions Kontiki, Endeavour, Discovery and Calypso have been pitted against one another to see who comes out on top. Further details can be found on this in another part of the newsletter.
World Languages Week
Next week sees another lively set of events as Languages Week takes centre stage. Throughout the week during form time, breaktimes and lunchtimes students will be able to participate, demanding the most of their linguistic abilities. Further details can be found in this newsletter and you can follow events by following us on social media.
I referenced in last week's newsletter the importance of a wide and varied co-curricular learning provision. This dimension of our provision has undergone change through the last two years and will continue to do so. Offering students the chance to be involved in the Model United Nations (MUN), international award (IA), service learning, sports, performing arts, residentials, to name but a few is key to providing a complete educational experience.
Through a co-curricular activities programme, trips, residentials and service learning we hope to provide students with a range of experiences that build upon and further develop the skills and dispositions they should be nurturing within their academic learning. Specifically, aspects of communication, collaboration, citizenship, creativity, organisation, entrepreneurship, confidence, critical thinking, empathy, aspects of leadership and resilience. This vast range of benefits offered by learning outside the classroom is central to our educational philosophy.
Over the course of the year we will continue to work on the systems and processes around ensuring students are making informed and balanced choices in terms of their CCL, refining and evaluating our trips and residentials. Our most significant focus this year is ensuring students are engaged in meaningful service learning wherever possible. The last area will be an ongoing area for development over the years to come as we try to ensure that there are enough opportunities available to our students along with an approach that allows them to learn as much as possible from such experiences. We firmly believe that through a rich and varied co-curricular programme we can ensure that our academic learning is supplemented to allow our students to leave us ready and able to engage with the world beyond school.
Last week I outlined our key priorities in Secondary regarding teaching and learning. Firstly, how we will be working towards a goal of every student being appropriately challenged and supported. Secondly, how our goal is to share our passion for our subjects, nurture curiosity in our students and ensure they are engaged and interested in their learning.
As important as the quality of teaching and learning is, a British international school should be about much more. The hallmarks of a British education are the quality of pastoral care and opportunities for learning beyond the academic. These represent elements of our additional key priorities for this year.
Pastoral Care and Support
Over the last two years the school has developed a great deal in this area. We have created positions of middle leadership with our Care and Guidance leaders, we have strengthened our form tutor system through associate and co-tutors and finally we have developed a carefully sequenced Guidance programme. A strong pastoral provision is built on proactive structures to help students make good choices and reactive systems to identify and support them when they don’t.
The reality of adolescence is that young people will make poor choices and require our support to recover and redirect themselves. It is our belief that students should be as well prepared as possible for adulthood through an education that helps them make sense of how to make healthy choices which lead them to a happy and fulfilled adulthood. However, we also believe that when poor choices are made a restorative approach should be adopted to ensure that students understand where they have erred and what is necessary to address the damage done and move forward, whilst ensuring they do not make the same mistake again.
In an attempt to further develop this we have refined and refocused our monitoring processes around students’ conduct and learning. This should lead to our pastoral care teams, form tutors, Care and Guidance leaders and ultimately our senior leaders being better placed to redirect students early in their waywardness. Increased transparency of student conduct and learning will allow us to better work with parents, students and teachers to ensure the learners within our care remain on the right track.
It would be remiss not to also recognise and reward the positive contributions our students make every day. This is an additional element that we have redesigned through the awarding of "recognitions” and “house points”. Positive student contributions in the form of good work, good actions or good deeds will be rewarded with “recognitions”. These will be awarded according to our Mission, that is, Excellence, Integrity, Diversity, Responsibility and Ambition. These are celebrated in assemblies and form tutor times. They are also viewable through Firefly on your child’s page and can be used as a means to support conversations around school life at home.
The House System
An active and vibrant House system strengthens relationships between students across age groups and builds a sense of school spirit. Developing this aspect of our school was identified as a key focus by our Head Students and Prefects. In line with these goals, students can be awarded “House Points” for participation in house events and gentle competition. These feed into our house competitions culminating in a winning house at the end of the academic year. Students can expect an increased number of house events starting next week. House week will comprise of a series of events each day to secure points for their house. We also now have teachers leading each of the houses: Sarah Knowlden, Tom Green, Jenny Eyes and Joanna Scaramella. These teachers will be looking to appoint students into house captain roles later in the year.
Next week I will outline how we intend to prioritise our Co-Curricular Learning.
Firstly, thank you to all those parents who were able to attend the Parent Information Evenings for Years 8/9 and 12/13. I hope you found them useful and were able to connect with other parents and the form tutors during the event. Should you have any suggestions as to how we can improve these events please do get in touch. All slides are available on the parent resource section of Firefly.
Secondary School Priorities
Over the next sequence of newsletters I want to take the time to outline the areas that we are focusing on within the Secondary School this year. Many will remain ongoing focusses into the future.
As a school our core business is to support learning and development within our students and as such, our first key priority is to develop and improve the quality of our teaching and learning. This will remain a key focus for us, as it should for any school. We have appointed a Lead Practitioner - Teaching and Learning to help with this priority. In particular we will focus on ensuring all students are appropriately challenged and that we are engaging them and igniting their curiosities.
Ensuring that all students are appropriately challenged in their learning is not a modern concept. 2000 years ago the Roman scholar Quintilian is credited with saying, “Virtus preceptoris est ingeniorum notare discrimina”, or “the excellence of the teacher is to identify the differences in talents of pupils”. The idea of amending the level of challenge presented to students within any given learning activity remains an elusive but essential ideal for any teacher. It is our belief that all students should feel uncomfortable at least once in every lesson, but none should feel uncomfortable throughout. This year we will be working on how we ensure this is true of all our students’ experience.
Providing the challenge and support necessary to differentiate takes many forms. Firstly at its most formal it involves building a curriculum model where material is sufficiently challenging for the strongest students (consider Additional Mathematics, Triple Science).
Secondly we need to ensure that concepts, skills and knowledge are explored at an appropriate pace and depth for different students. We do this through the design of the learning activities and also the lesson material itself. These activities and materials expose students to new concepts and build skills and knowledge in a differentiated manner.
Finally as teachers design the learning in their classrooms they may make use of support staff or pedagogical approaches such as skillful questioning. It is through such aspects that we will work to ensure that all of our students are appropriately challenged and supported in their learning.
Curiosity and Engagement
Concepts such as student engagement and igniting curiosity are somewhat more nebulous. It is entirely possible to construct an exciting, engaging and fun learning experience completely devoid of any sense of awe and wonder. The gaming industry has much to teach us about how to do this. This game-based model of occupying young people, ensuring learning is short, sharp and exciting has been championed as best practice and the sole goal within education for some time. However, as desirable as this goal is, for many it remains lacking. Occupying young people and taking them on a journey of being able to succeed in examinations is not enough. As children grow into adulthood and make sense of the world, we in education occupy a position of privilege. Many of us entered this profession to share our passion for our subjects and we relish the opportunity to expose young people to the awe and wonder within the world and specifically, our areas of expertise.
It is our belief that by opening students’ eyes to the world around them, we encourage them to develop their passions and interests, alongside broadening and deepening their academic skills and understanding. Taking students on a journey by exposing them to the layers of beauty within a piece of prose, our understanding of what it means to be alive at a scientific and personal level or developing their appreciation of how the past has helped shape our present is an essential part of our professional obligation. As lofty as these goals may seem, it is our belief that we should be aiming not only to engage and develop understanding but to inspire and ignite curiosity. It is by pursuing both objectives within our teaching and learning that we fulfill our professional roles and for many of us why we became teachers in the first place.
We hope that through an explicit focus on how we challenge and support all students alongside engaging them and igniting their curiosity, we can provide the best possible learning environment for the students within our school.
Next week I will outline how we have prioritised our pastoral support and co-curricular learning.
Parent Information Evenings
Thank you to all those parents who took the time to attend the Parent Information Evenings this week for Years 7 and 10/11. I hope you found them informative and were able to meet your child’s tutor and other parents from within those year groups. The slides from those presentations will be published onto Firefly for your reference.
Next week we will host Parent Information Evenings for Years 8/9 on Tuesday 4th at 6-7pm and Years 12/13 on Wednesday 5th at 6-7pm. I look forward to seeing parents of students in these year groups at these events.
Parents who were with us last year will be aware that we use Firefly within the school to support student learning and to share information with parents. We will be continuing to develop the use of Firefly this year, building up a bank of resources for parents. You will receive an email today with further details of this as well as a guide as to how to set up your account.
As new students join and returning students move into higher year groups, the start of the year can be challenging for a range of reasons. We will be monitoring students carefully over these first few weeks. However, should you have any concerns whatsoever about your child please get in touch with their form tutor in the first instance.
Have a wonderful weekend.
A warm welcome to all those returning parents as well as to the new families joining our school this year.
After more than a week of preparations prior to the students arriving it was wonderful to see so many happy, excited students arriving into school on Thursday morning. The start of a new school year is a change for all our students. For those returning, it represents a new year and a new set of challenges. For our new students it is a new environment and new friends. The first few days are critical to ensuring a successful and enjoyable year. Should you as parents have any concerns about how your child is settling in please do get in touch with us.
In our first gathering as a Secondary School I addressed the students and made two requests. Firstly, that they seize the opportunities that the school offers both inside and outside the classroom. Secondly, that they support each other as they take the required risks to seize such opportunities by celebrating each other’s successes and supporting each other when things do not go so well.
The following two weeks will see us host Parent Information Evenings from 6-7pm. The dates of these events are included below.
· Year 7 – 29th August
· Years 10/11 - 30th August
· Years 8/9 - 4th September
· Years 12/13 - 5th September
During these information evenings we will provide you with information regarding:
1. Curriculum and learning - Inside and outside of the classroom;
2. Care and guidance – Supporting personal and social development;
3. Parent communication - How we aim to keep you informed of your child’s learning;
4. The specific features of the year group your child is in.
You will also have the opportunity to meet your child’s tutor and senior members of staff. I look forward to seeing you at these events.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Today we marked the end of the year with our final assembly. A chance to reflect on the year that has passed for each of us individually and as a community. As I addressed the students for the final time I asked them to consider what they had experienced throughout the year.
The lessons, learning, essays, experiments, art pieces, musical compositions, dramatic performances, programmes and presentations they had been involved in during lessons. The trips they had taken on bikes, cars, buses, planes, canoes and by foot to compete, explore, climb, trek, perform, debate and learn. I asked them to think about how they had supported the community through acts large and small, from strange hair, bake sales, stationery sales, teaching teachers Hungarian (a tough ask!), cleaning floors, building benches, buddying Year 6 students through to simply holding a door open, greeting each other during the day and sharing a smile.
I asked students to reflect on how they had felt throughout the year, when they had felt stressed, distraught, elated, enthralled, bored, anxious, inspired, nervous, content, upset, terrified or just plain happy or sad. I asked them to think about moments of success and failure.
Mostly, I asked them to think about what they had learned from each of these aspects of their school year. How they felt different, how they had grown. Have they improved a skill? Developed their resilience? Improved their approaches to learning? Deepened their knowledge? Discovered a passion or interest? Or simply learned to be a better person.
Finally, I asked our students to enjoy the sense of pride they should feel as individuals and a group at what they have achieved this year. If they have made the most of their school year they should feel exhausted. The looming break should be an essential part of them "recharging their batteries" so that they can return to us in August refreshed and ready to make the most of what next year holds.
We also took the opportunity in our final assembly to bid farewell to those members of our community who leave us for new schools, homes and countries. For those not returning we took the chance to wish them all the best of luck in the next chapter of their lives.
To all our students, parents and teachers who are returning I wish you a well-earned break and look forward to seeing you in August!
I hope you have been able to follow the many and varied activities taking place onsite here at school and further afield on our residentials through all our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. The enjoyment and challenge these represent have been numerous. However instead of communicating this through a lengthy newsletter piece please find above a selection of media!
We look forward to sharing the final few days of school next week as we mark the end of the year together and bid farewell to those leaving our community. A reminder that Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th June will be normal school days. On the final day Wednesday 27th June school will finish at 12:00pm.
Thank you to all those who attended the Parent Information Evening: Supporting your child's learning - Assessment Data and Reports. A copy of this presentation has been sent to all parents. All parents of students in Year 7, 8 and 9 will receive a copy of the Progress Tests in the final week of term.
Next week we have residential trips for Years 7, 8, 9 and 10. These are all departing on Monday. The itineraries for the trips are packed full of rich learning and character building activities. As a teacher it is during such excursions that you often see the most significant personal growth and development in students.
For those students not taking advantage of the offsite residentials there is a week of onsite activities across a range of areas. Please note that all students attending this programme should wear school uniform to come to school but bring appropriate clothing dependent on the activity they will be involved in.
Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th June will be normal school days. It will be during these days that we mark the achievements of the year and bid farewell to departing students through assemblies. On Wednesday 27th June, our final day, school will finish at 12:00.
We have less than 3 weeks of school remaining. As we edge towards this, it is appropriate to consider the progress our students have made. This word has gained a certain notoriety within education as an overly technocratic way of interpreting learning. One where understanding of skills and knowledge is measured, teaching and learning take place and then we measure these skills and knowledge again to see what improvements have been made. Although this way of thinking has value as part of a broader picture, for me it misses the point of education in its broadest sense.
On Wednesday Mr Moore and I will give a presentation on how we use measures like the ones mentioned. We will talk how these measures are used within our school to examine how effectively we are supporting student learning of academic subjects. We will also discuss how you can use these to support your own child's learning. Undoubtedly important, this measurement of academic learning represents only part of the picture.
To my mind a preoccupation with academic results at the expense of all else misses the point. It is putting the cart before the horse. Successful learners are those who are, amongst other things, resilient, confident to take risks and tenacious. The application of these developed dispositions to academic learning is what leads to understanding.
These approaches to learning are much harder to measure, although helping young people grow and develop into confident, capable and curious young adults remains a central responsibility of schools. This can be achieved in part through academic learning. Supporting students to develop these skills can happen in the classroom. Good well-structured learning activities should encompass elements developing these approaches but solely relying on this would be an opportunity missed. I would argue that this is best achieved through an engagement with learning beyond the academic curriculum.
Yesterday evening, sitting in the audience as our students performed as part of one of the many ensembles in our Summer Concert I was struck with the 'progress' these students had made. Under the guidance of our music teachers Carl Jackson and Sarah James (Director of Performing Arts), the students have grown immensely in confidence and capability since the beginning of the year and they were enjoying it too. As I looked across the performers in the final rendition of 'Hey Jude' I saw faces brimming with pride and a sense of achievement.
These performances had not come easily, they had demanded students to demonstrate the tenacity, risk taking and resilience so valuable in other areas of learning. The harmonies present in the senior vocal groups, the delivery of the lines as part of the stage stars and the individual contributions to each musical ensemble had involved hours of careful and repetitive practice until they had 'got it right'.
The performing students had committed themselves against a backdrop of end of year exams, coursework, sporting commitments and other aspects of their busy lives. Making this commitment required drawing upon reserves of motivation and energy. Last night I hope they saw what they were capable of and perhaps even surprised themselves.
The educationalist Kurt Hahn once said, “There is more in us than we know if we could be made to see it; perhaps, for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.” I hope that following last night the students involved become unwilling to settle for anything less and take a big step forward in the direction of becoming confident and capable young adults.
Year 7 to 9 Curriculum
Thank you to all those parents who attended the Parent Information Evening on Wednesday. Following a presentation regarding the 2018-19 curriculum for Years 7-9 there was a lively question and answer session around the details of the academic curriculum. We hope the evening helped to provide the rationale behind the design of our curriculum and how we secure a smooth transition through to the older years. The PowerPoint from the session will be shared with parents unable to attend. Should this prompt any questions please do get in touch, Mr Moore or myself would be more than happy to respond and clarify any areas of uncertainty.
Enrichment Week Residentials
A reminder that we have parent meetings for all residentials next Monday 4th June at 4.00pm. This will be an opportunity to share further details and respond to any questions or queries parents may have prior to departure on 18th June.
Assessment Data and Reports
On Wednesday 14th June we give a presentation on the topic of 'Supporting your Child's Learning: Assessment Data and Reports'. This presentation will be delivered by Mr Moore and myself and will be applicable to all year groups. Further details and an invitation to attend will be sent to parents next week.
As the term draws to a close a number of events are taking place across year groups and aspects of school life. I would like to draw your attention to some coming up over the next week or so below.
This Saturday sees our Year 13's formal graduation ceremony. The event is an opportunity to celebrate their successes and mark the end of their formal education. This promises to be a memorable event shared by departing students, their teachers and their families.
We are heavily involved in putting the final touches to our residential trips and in school enrichment for the week 18th -22nd June. Can I request that the parents of those students not attending residential trips please complete the online form to confirm which programme their children will follow in school? On 4th June there will be trip information meetings across all residentials.
All students will sit their end of year examinations next week. Full details of this have been sent to all parents and we look forward to a smooth week of assessments. The outcome of these assessments will feed into their future learning for the remainder of the year and into next.
Parent Information Evening: Year 7, 8, 9 Curriculum
Next Wednesday 30th May we will outline the curriculum for Years 7, 8 and 9 academic year 2018-2019. Parents of current Year 6, 7 and 8 students are invited to attend. You should have received information regarding this event via an email. Have a wonderful weekend.
As our examination season for I/GCSE students and IB students maintains momentum (or in the case of some Year 13 students - ends) and we move closer to our internal examination schedule we, as teachers, find ourselves, as you may well do as parents, wishing our students "good luck" before they enter these assessments. This custom is well embedded in our approach to embarking on any challenging event and the sentiment behind it is admirable. However, relying on chance alone will do little to help students perform in an assessment, execute a challenging musical recital or perform well on a sports field. Applying common sense to this approach leads to the conclusion that relying on luck alone is doomed to failure.
The Roman, Stoic philosopher Seneca has a different perspective on when we may find ourselves on the positive side of chance:
"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." Seneca
So how does this apply to our modern educational context? When we wish students good luck, are we not better off sharing Seneca's thoughts? He suggests that luck is something that finds its way to us if we prepare thoroughly. Whether this be by learning our lines, completing hours of piano practice or careful and well-structured revision. Though this alone is insufficient, this preparation must be accompanied by opportunity. Fortunately, our school is rich in such opportunities. These are wide and varied and may include taking on roles in performances, joining an ensemble or school team or sitting examinations. Taking such opportunities together with disciplined and structured preparation, will, according to Seneca, ensure you find yourself lucky. I am inclined to agree with him.
The references to ways of increasing one's propensity to enjoy good fortune are not limited to Seneca's thoughts. According to the Latin proverb "Audaces fortuna iuvat" or "Fortune favours the brave" it is courage which attracts luck. It is not difficult to see how this might support Seneca's views. Perhaps it is through preparation coupled with the courage to seize opportunities that you will find yourself more fortunate.
Our students should, throughout their schooling be looking to secure as much luck as possible. So, as we wish our students "good luck" prior to engaging with challenge, the Romans would argue that what we may be better off directing them to prepare well, and have the courage to grasp the opportunities available to them.
It was exciting to see such opportunities being taken on Wednesday afternoon. The school was alive with students competing on the sports field, performing in an instrumental concert and a dining room alive with conversations about learning in the Year 7 and 8 Parents' evening. As we grow and develop the opportunities available to our students to challenge them academically, personally and socially we hope that through careful preparation and a supportive environment our students will have the courage to take all the opportunities available to them and remain 'lucky'.
Science week finished with a bang today with some exciting and impressive experiments hosted by our very own Mr Puskas. This was a fitting end to an entertaining and interesting week of experiments, creative costumes, quizzes and some spectacular looking cakes! More information regarding the week is included elsewhere in the newsletter.
Firefly and School reports
Yesterday the latest school reports were issued for the first time via Firefly. We will be issuing all school reports via our online portal from this point onwards. This should ensure that they are more easily accessible and retrievable for you, as parents. Students will also be provided with an online copy. We will continue to develop our use of Firefly, making use of its capacity to send short messages and reminders. I strongly encourage you to install the app to your mobile device if you wish to receive these updates. Information on how to do this was included in the email you received on Thursday.
Internal Examinations Week
As per our assessment and reporting schedule internal exams week for Years 7-10 and 12 will run from 27th May though to 2nd June. You will have received further details of this through your children and via email. These offer a valuable opportunity to assess current learning and reflect on next steps for the remainder of this year and into next.
The week 19th to 22nd June promises to be an exciting and stimulating one for all Year 7-10 and 12 students involved in the residential trips. Parents can expect on update on this shortly. A trip information evening has been scheduled for 4th June. Please mark this date in your diary. For those students remaining at school details of our onsite enrichment programme of learning will be shared next week. All the planned activities both onsite and offsite promise to provide students with a range of wonderful learning experiences sure to be memorable, enjoyable and stimulating.
Those of you who have visited the school this week will have noticed the exhibition of artwork in the Atrium. What you can see in this space is the work of our Year 11 artists and forms part of their assessed element of their GCSE. The range and quality of work on display is of a very high standard. You can see some examples of this within this week's newsletter. If you have the opportunity, please do take the time to look through the pieces on show.
Parent Information Evenings
Later this term we will be running two parent information evenings covering different aspects of our curriculum and learning provision. Both sessions will be in the evening, 18:00 - 19:00. Firstly, on Wednesday 30th May, we will outline the curriculum for Years 7, 8 and 9 academic year 2018- 2019. Parents of current Year 6, 7 and 8 students will receive an invitation to this event shortly. Secondly, on Wednesday 14th June, we will present on the topic of 'Supporting your Child's Learning: Assessment Data and Reports'. This presentation will applicable to all year groups. An invitation outlining the contents of this session will be sent in due course.
Next week sees the next in our series of themed enrichment weeks. Science takes centre stage from Monday to Friday with enrichment activities planned during breaktime, lunchtime and form time. Please take the time to ask your child about what they have seen or been involved in.
Year 12 University Guidance Presentation
Next Thursday at 18:00, Mr Simon Bird will deliver a bespoke presentation to Year 12 parents regarding how we support their children in their application to universities. This promises to be a useful and worthwhile session to help you, as parents, guide your children as they plan their next steps into university education.
Over the course of this year I have mentioned our desire to develop student leadership. We have worked to achieve this through improving the nature, extent and scope of the existing opportunities as well as offering new ones. An important part of developing student leadership requires giving students the opportunity to lead, enjoy successes and failures, reflect and refine their approach.
Students can access such an opportunity through membership of our Student Council. This is led by our Head Students and they are very keen to develop the scope, influence and involvement of this team. Your children will receive an invitation to submit their application to become a member of this team. They will be asked to respond to five questions formulated by our Head Students: What do you think is the role of a Student Council member? Why are you suitable for the role? Do you have any idea of what you would like to change? What do you think is the biggest issue in the school? How would you begin to address it? Please take the time to discuss this with them and support them as they compile their application.
U14 ENASA – Warsaw
Our students travelled to Warsaw last weekend to take part in the inaugural ENASA tournament across 3 sports: Basketball, Football and Volleyball. Our students represented the school well both in terms of their commitment, determination and sporting conduct. Further details can be found in this newsletter.
From our Head Students: Lili Jellinek, Kavya Francis and Adam Veres
Student Council: Accepting Applications
Dear Students of the Secondary School,
We are now launching the new Student Council application process!
We are looking for a new team for the upcoming academic year, one candidate from each year of the secondary school. The skills essential for the fulfilment of this position may include communication, leadership, organisational skills, active participation in the school, community, honesty and commitment. Those of you interested in developing such personal skills, and are willing to contribute to the development of the school, will find this a very useful experience. The role will require you to represent the student body, communicate their ideas to us, reflect on the issues present around the school and always be open to new ideas and constructive criticism. One of our primary objectives is to increase student leadership, therefore as Head Students we will be leading the Student Council, encouraging open, honest conversations.
To make sure we have the most suitable group of students, this year the application process will be more rigorous since we are trying to increase the prestige, importance and influence of the Student Council. Therefore the process will be the following; completion of the form below, Head Students in collaboration with the school’s leadership team assess each application, a few selected individuals called in for interview conducted by Head Students.
The closing date for your written application will be 14th May 2018. Following this, we will assess the applications received, consult with your teachers about your suitability for the role both in curricular and extra-curricular activities. The announcement of the new team will happen in the assembly following their appointment.
Good luck to all! We are waiting for your applications.
BISB Head Students
Lili Jellinek, Kavya Francis, Adam Veres
Themed Week: Humanities
The Secondary school has been alive with a range of stimulating and enlightening activities through the fields of History, Geography, Business and Economics. From guest speakers, trading, quizzes and debating students have been engaging with issues and concepts from within these subject domains in an interesting and enjoyable way. You can find more details of in this edition of the newsletter. Thank you to all those involved in the organisation and execution of a successful and fun week!
Assembly: Titans of Science and Technology
In the assemblies that took place last week, students were introduced to two titans of Science and Technology, specifically cosmology and computing. Students were led through their achievements, the circumstances around them and asked to reflect on what we can learn or take away from their lives.
Stephen Hawking was born on 8th January 1942 and died on the 14th March this year. He held a range of senior positions at the University of Cambridge within cosmology including one previously held by Sir Isaac Newton. He was the recipient of the Presidential medal of freedom, the highest American award available to civilians (he was British). He also wrote the book 'A Brief History of Time' which spent 237 weeks as a best seller (it was a book about physics!). He was widely regarded as one of the world's most brilliant minds. Such was his impact on modern consciousness that he featured in Star Trek, The Simpsons, Futurama and had a successful autobiographical film made about him "The Theory of Everything".
However, as impressive as these accomplishments are it is the circumstances under which they were achieved that make them all the more astounding. At the age of 21, Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease and given 2 years to live. By the late 1960's he required crutches and was unable to lecture regularly and by the 1970's his speech was such that most could not understand him. In 1985 he lost speech altogether and used his hand and a computer to converse. Throughout this period he continued to make significant contributions to the field of theoretical cosmology. By the time he died, Stephen Hawking was communicating through a single muscle in his cheek. I find his achievements, resolve, drive and resilience a source of much inspiration. Many people champion the value of hard work and 'not giving up' but words and actions are rarely more authentically aligned than in the quote below.
"Be curious, and however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up." Stephen Hawking
Alan Turing was born on the 23rd June 1912. He was responsible for creating the Turing Machine, one of the first models for the computer. He is considered by many as the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. Much of the technology we enjoy today can be directly traced back to his early work. As if this contribution to modern society was not enough, Alan Turing is also considered by many as a war hero for his work as a member of the 'Government Code and Cypher School' in the decryption of German communications during the second world war. In the words of Gordon Brown, the then British Prime Minister.
“Turing was a quite brilliant mathematician, most famous for his work on breaking the German Enigma codes. It is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of the Second World War could have been very different. He truly was one of those individuals we can point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war. The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely.” Gordon Brown
It is the inhumane treatment referred to here that led to a royal pardon and a formal apology by the British Prime Minister over 50 years after Alan Turing's death. On 31st March 1952 Alan Turing was arrested for Gross Indecency. He was a homosexual and was in a relationship with another man. He made no defence or denial of his actions, he felt that he was doing nothing wrong. He was convicted. As punishment Alan Turing was injected with regular doses of hormones to suppress his behaviours. On 8th June 1954 Alan Turing was found dead, aged 41. The verdict returned by the coroner was suicide. On the 10th September 2009 the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, offered a formal apology. Nearly 60 years after his death, Queen Elizabeth II formally offered a posthumous pardon for his crimes.
I believe that reflecting on the achievements and circumstances around these two individuals present an optimistic picture; one that paints an evolution towards tolerance and a path to embracing the diversity within the communities that we live. Students were asked to reflect on how far we have come and what more there is that needs to be done.
Year 11 and 13 Examinations
Our first week back has seen many of our students and teachers hit the ground running with the continuation of our internally conducted examinations in Physical Education practicals and Language oral examinations. Our students have been putting their linguistic talents to the test demonstrating their impressive prowess in this area. Outside of this, preparations for final examinations by our Year 11 and 13 students have been taking place in classrooms with the final touches to our students' understanding of core content and approaches to assessment being examined and reiterated in their final few lessons with their teachers.
Thursday saw us host a UK Universities fair. Students from Years 9 through to 13 had the opportunity to collect information and ask questions of the universities in attendance. This information and these discussions are invaluable, offering an insight into how students can explore their passions and interests beyond school. An understanding of what universities are looking for in prospective students also ensures our students are well prepared to be successful when they are applying. Finally, having a clear notion of the academic outcomes universities require naturally leads to our students being more motivated to meet them.
As in previous years, the warmer weather means our uniform requirements change. From next Monday 16th April, students may come to school in the summer uniform (or the full uniform). Further details are available at the link HERE.
Community Links Club – Bedding Campaign
The community links club are running a campaign to collect bedding for our local homeless shelters. You will find further details of this in this week's newsletter. We very much look forward to your support in this worthwhile and valuable endeavour.
Our intrepid International Award students left for their practice expedition this morning off into the Hungarian countryside. It promises to be a challenging and exhausting few days which we look forward to hearing about upon their return.
Something to look forward to: Humanities Week
Next week sees the next instalment of our 'themed weeks' with Humanities taking centre stage. There are a wealth of activities scheduled ranging from 'The Trade Game', debates on ending world poverty and lots of quizzes. It promises to provoke curiosity, enthuse and challenge our students. Please do take the time to have a conversation with your children about what they have seen, heard and been involved in.
23rd March 2018
Today we have drawn the term to a close with a student-led end of term assembly. We recognised the many successes and causes for celebration this term and took the opportunity to thank our current Head Students for their hard work this past year: President - Alzahra Mohammed; Vice Presidents David Domokos and Jonathan Blankaert. We were then able to welcome their successors.
Our commitment to providing leadership opportunities for our students has been a key focus this year and something we are keen to develop throughout next year. Appointing our new Head Students is a key part of this. To supplement these positions we have introduced Prefect posts for our Year 12 students. This role allows our Sixth Form students to take up a position of leadership where they will act as Ambassadors for the school and take the lead on particular projects, events and key development areas for all students. Becoming a Head Student or taking on a Prefect post will demand a great deal of initiative, organisational skills and the ability to manage interpersonal relationships; all key elements of leadership.
A little over two weeks ago our Year 12 students were invited to submit applications for both the roles of Head Student and Prefect. Candidates submitted a written application indicating their suitability. Following this, Head Student candidates were interviewed by two panels of Senior School Leaders. This rigourous process explored their suitability for such positions of leadership in terms of their experience and skills as well as their school record, contribution to school life and how well they embody the values of our school.
I am delighted to introduce our new Head Students: Kavya Francis; Lili Jellinek and Adam Veres. Together they represent a collective 28 years at BISB. They are very keen to focus on strengthening the school community through connections with our Primary community, parents, the further development of student voice and the house system as well as establishing a firm focus on student wellbeing.
The Prefect team will comprise of Priyesh Pandaravalapil, Andras Fasimon, Nicole Li, Viktor Stavrikj, Zoe Strohmayer, Anesu Mhene and Marton Belovai. These students have demonstrated high levels of involvement across a range of curricular and co-curricular areas; this positions them well to have a significant impact on school life.
We very much look forward to working alongside these students over the coming year.
End of Term
I would like to remind you that Term 2 ends next Friday 23rd March at 3.35pm. You will receive the latest report for your child on that day. For Years 11 and 13 this will be a full written report. Term 3 begins on Monday 9th April.
DVAC U14 Basketball
We can be very proud of our girls and boys U14 basketball teams. They represented the school impeccably. Both teams competed hard and demonstrated high levels of sporting conduct. For more details and results please see the article in this week's newsletter.
Performing Arts Showcase
Our Performing Arts Showcase took place on Monday and Tuesday this week. With Music, Drama, Gymnastics and Cheerleading on show a great number of our students, parents and teachers demonstrated the depth of their talents and the product of hours of practice. If you were unable to attend, you can find photos and more details in this newsletter. Thank you to all those involved including all the members of staff and parents.
9th March 2018
Tuesday evening saw our annual IB Visual Arts Exhibition and Music Recital. Our Visual Artists presented the culmination of 18 months of hard work. The rationale behind their pieces of art, which included a broad range of influences, mediums and themes, was provided to the visitors prior to them enjoying the music performances. Our pianists and trumpet player then took us on a journey through Chopin, Bach Kurpinski and Satie with over an hour of high quality music. The standard of the work displayed and performed ensured that the evening lived up to its reputation as being one of the highlights of our calendar. Well done to all those involved for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Year 11 and 13 Examinations
Our Year 11 and 13 students are in the final stages of completing and submitting coursework and practical elements of their courses prior to their final preparation and examinations. Students in both year groups have received details of the full exam timetable and dates of study leave have been confirmed. Students in Year 11 will have their last day of school prior to the examinations on 27th April and for Year 13 this will be the 20th April. Further details can be found in the letters sent home, these have also been emailed to you. Please support your child in their preparations and ensure punctual attendance. The smoother their arrival to the exam with all the necessary equipment the more likely they are to be able to successfully demonstrate their abilities.
As the Year 13 students are nearing the end of their time at BISB, our Head Students will step down from their positions. This week we have been receiving applications for their successors, as well as a team of Prefects. The application and selection process will take place over the next fortnight and include interviews for those wishing to be considered for the role of Head Student. We look forward to announcing the successful Prefects and Head Students in due course.
I would also like to congratulate Zahra Zulqarnain who has been appointed to the position of Secretary General in our Model United Nations club. As we look forward to term 3 please do encourage your children to consider joining this activity in April.
Finally, we have a number of students leaving for Tanzania on Saturday night. Under the watchful guidance of Mr Allan and Ms Uhure these students have been fundraising hard leading up to this trip. We wish them an exciting and fulfilling trip and look forward to hearing all about it upon their return.
2nd March 2018
It has been an exceptionally busy week in secondary with a range of activities and events outside of our normal lessons.
Inside school our students have been engaging with the issues around online safety through workshops led by Mr Jon Taylor. Thank you to all those parents who attended our parent workshops on the same topic. This is something very important to us here at BISB and forms a key element of our efforts to ensure our students are safe and responsible citizens of the online and offline world, empowered and equipped to make good decisions. Should this have raised concerns or questions for you please do not hesitate in getting in touch.
English Themed Week
This week has also been marked with a range of English themed enrichment activities. In this newsletter and on our social media, you will find photographs and reports of the many elements of this including the Boscars – our very own students film awards ceremony, poetry workshops with our visiting poet Ms Helen Wing and a 'dress as your favourite book character' day on Thursday. My thanks to all those parents who supported their children in creating some of the fantastic and elaborate costumes.
A Note on the Weather
Despite the arctic conditions our maintenance staff have managed to keep the school safe and open. This has required long hours and hard physical work and we are grateful to them for all their efforts.
16 February 2018
We have drawn the half term to a close with events to mark the Lunar New Year. Our Atrium has been adorned with lanterns and alive with the sounds of the Flute and Erhu.
This week has seen assemblies across all groups themed on cultivating responsibility.
“Every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty” - John D Rockefeller Jr
We have been exploring the different forms of responsibility and how responsibility is connected to our individual rights and upholding the rights of others. Firstly, students have been encouraged to consider the importance of responsible behaviour on their wellbeing and health as well as that of others. In particular, we have focused on the importance of acting with courtesy, kindness and care to each other and their role in the preservation of the environment at a school, local and global level. Secondly, students have been asked to reflect on their responsibility to contribute their opinions and take an active role in their communities, to speak up about what they believe in and challenge what they believe to be wrong.
Please ask your child about these topics and continue these discussions at home.
Y9 I/GCSE Options Evening
Yesterday evening saw the second of our Options evenings. Thank you to all those who attended; the atmosphere was positive and purposeful. Should parents of Year 9 students still have questions regarding these choices please do get in touch.
Years 7- 9 Curriculum Guide
You can now find a guide outlining further details of our curriculum across all subjects in Years 7 - 9 by following the link HERE.
English Themed Week
The first week back after the break will be our third themed week of the year. There will be a range of exciting and enriching experiences taking place throughout the week. We have a visiting poet working with students, a poetry slam competition, the culmination of a film making unit with the Boscas and of course book day where students are encouraged to dress as their favourite book character! It promises to be a fun week!
From Monday 26th to Wednesday 28th February we have Jonathan Taylor from 'Be Safe Online' visiting the school to run online safety sessions with our staff and students. As part of this there will be a session for parents at 9am in the dining room on Wednesday 28th February.
9th February 2018
Helping students make responsible choices is a vital element of their growth and development. Within schools this takes many forms; our recent parent information events bring two distinct elements to mind.
Establishing and Nurturing Positive Relationships – Restorative Approaches
Schools are built on positive relationships these are highly valued at BISB. However, the skills necessary to establish and nurture such relationships do not necessarily come naturally. Starting with helping babies learn to share through to coping with and managing conflict in adolescence, growing up is fraught with opportunities to make mistakes and requirements for guidance on how to recover from such mistakes. On Wednesday morning our Assistant Head Teacher, Sarah Ford, ran a workshop for parents in the PTA open meeting on our employment of Restorative Approaches to support students in their development of these skills. At its core this approach is about recognising that people make mistakes and often require help to recognise the impact of such mistakes and how to move forward beyond them. Further details of this session can be found in this newsletter and I would encourage those interested, who were unable to attend on Wednesday to take a look at the links and resources.
Making informed academic choices – Year 9 and 11 Options Evenings
As a school it is our responsibility to ensure our students make informed choices about their academic study. Based on our professional experience we look to ensure students make the choices most likely to lead them to success and a route to life beyond school. As they progress through their education here at BISB these choices extend from a simple selection of foreign language through to how to make up their post 16 subjects to allow for an appropriate route to university.
On Tuesday this week we hosted a very well attended IB Options evening for our Year 11 students. Led by Mr Moore – Deputy Head Teacher Academic, Mr Phillipson – IB Coordinator, Mrs Ford Head of Sixth Form and Mr Bird – Careers and University Guidance Counsellor, parents and students were presented with the information necessary to start to consider the choices they will make. This presentation was followed with a lively opportunity to discuss the specifics at a subject level with our teachers.
Next Thursday, 15th February at 18:00 we will host the Year 9 I/GCSE Options Evening event to help our students as they consider which subjects they wish to pursue in years 10 and 11. We look forward to outlining these choices in more detail and responding to your questions and queries.
As helping young people make responsible and appropriate choices is a shared endeavour across teachers and parents we look forward to further discussions at subsequent parent information events about how we can work together towards this goal.
26 January 2018
Parental Engagement and Communication
As a school we continue to work on our communication channels and information for parents. Next week all Secondary parents will receive information regarding how to access our online parent portal on Firefly. As previously indicated this will provide a range of information about your child's learning. In the initial phases we will open it with attendance and homework. In due course we will issue reports electronically and share student's individual successes and concerns directly. Please look out for an email containing all this information next week.
Year 11 and 13 Parents' Evening
Thank you to all the parents of our Year 11 and 13 students who attended on Thursday. The evening had a purposeful atmosphere and I hope that the conversations that took place will lead to constructive preparations for I/GCSE and IB final examinations.
Year 11 IB Options Evening
We will be hosting our IB options evening on the 6th February at 6.00pm. This will provide all parents and students with a chance to learn about the nature of the International Baccalaureate programme, including subject choices and entry requirements. Parents of Year 11 students will receive further details in due course.
Good luck to our under 14 boys as they take part in the DVAC basketball festival this weekend, here in Budapest.
Welcome back and Happy New Year. I hope you had a restful and enjoyable Christmas break. We look forward to another busy and exciting term. As we start this new term I wanted to inform you of an exciting addition to our channels of parent communication.
Parent Communication - Firefly
In order to best support students in their learning we, as a school, need to ensure that parents feel sufficiently informed to support their children in their learning. To this end, one of the key areas we are trying to develop is our channels of communication.
You may be aware that since August we have been using the online application, Firefly, to support learning. This is a widely used and well-regarded tool to allow students and teachers to communicate, share resources, set tasks and offer feedback. Firefly is also designed to engage parents in this ongoing conversation and, as such, we will be opening up the Parent Portal at the beginning of February.
Initially, parents will be able to see their child's timetable, attendance and the tasks set through Firefly. From February, all homework tasks for students in Years 7 to 11 will be recorded on Firefly. As we evolve and develop our use of Firefly we will be able to share reports and communicate with parents in a more effective way.
Enrichment Week Residentials
We are very much looking forward to our end of year enrichment trips. Thank you to all those parents who confirmed their children's involvement. You can expect to hear more regarding this with further details and the necessary documentation over the coming weeks.
Year 8 Parents’ Evening
Next Wednesday we will host the Year 8 Parents’ Evening. Please do make appointments with your child's teachers to discuss their learning and the next steps they need to take.
At the beginning of this academic year I asked our students to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and identify where they would like to improve. I also asked them to plan how they would do this, and most importantly, ensure they act. It is this process of continual improvement that constitutes aspiring to excellence which lies at the core of our mission statement.
Now, as we reach the end of our first term, it is time to look back at what we have achieved. In our final assembly as a community we share in celebrating some of our students' achievements. These large, school community events provide an opportunity to recognise the high-profile examples of student achievements. However, it is also important that our students reflect on this term and identify the smaller incremental steps they have made as they have been working to improve themselves.
In this assembly I asked our students to consider what steps they have made in their plan and to take the time to feel proud of their achievements. Whether they are performing on stage or the sports field, learning a new instrument, taking the leap of asking or answering a question in class, finding a teacher outside class to seek help, persevering through difficulty or a challenge, making the right choice, however difficult, or most powerfully where they have learned from a mistake.
Growing and developing as a learner, and a person, requires overcoming a desire to do what is easy and not being overwhelmed by fear of failure. It necessitates courage, resilience and fortitude. Aspiring for excellence is about fearlessly seeking and addressing weaknesses, it is about making the right choices based on integrity, care and respect. The end of this term provides the perfect opportunity to take the time to look back at when we have done this and feel proud, as individuals and a community.
There is a short message regarding uniforms from Sarah Ford below. I ask that you read this and communicate its contents to your children.
I wish all students and parents a wonderful Christmas break. We look forward to welcoming students back on the 4th January.
As this term draws to a close I write to thank you Secondary school parents for your support with school uniform. Wearing our school uniform properly is part of aspiring to excellence; our high standards begin with how we dress and present ourselves to other people. This term in particular we have been focusing on shoes and trousers, checking that students are wearing proper business shoes and formal black trousers, instead of jeans which are not permitted. A Christmas shopping trip for these items is still necessary for a very small number of our students! Another element of our uniform with which we need your support is girls’ skirts – I remind you at this stage that the permitted skirt length is at or slightly above the knee, and tights must be plain black or plain skin-coloured.
Please join us in checking that your children are properly dressed for school on their return in January. Our uniform policy is available on the school website if you wish to talk it through with your children to ensure they understand the requirements. I firmly believe that expecting our students to wear the BISB uniform properly, and with pride, is the foundation for a culture of high academic and personal standards across the school and I thank you for your support in this endeavour.
Assistant Head of Secondary School
Lunchtimes this week have been alive with the sound of music. Our IB Music students have been sharing their skills with us through a series of recitals. We have been treated to wonderful performances on the trumpet and the piano. World Children's Day next Monday, 20th November, marks UNICEF's World Children's Day. More information on this can be found on our website and social media.
Last weekend saw a plethora of sporting fixtures across the region. Our students represented the school admirably; demonstrating the commitment and determination in their desire to compete whilst maintaining the very highest standards in sporting conduct. A well done to all those involved and a big thank you to all members of staff who supported the events and parents who attended the fixtures and supported our students from the sidelines. For results please see the articles in the newsletter.
The excitement is starting to build as our Christmas Fair moves ever closer. A number of students and staff have volunteered to support the event through performing music, acting as masters of ceremony or supporting the many stalls which combine to create a wonderful event. The PTA are still eager to involve a broader collection of our community so please do get in touch with them at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are able to support us with this event. They will be selling tickets in reception from Monday and also collecting any further tombola prize donations. Please do help if you can.
Details of how to order and pay for school photos was sent home with students on Thursday this week. It is possible to order online or if you prefer, you can return the ordering envelopes with cash and hand them in at Reception.