As I complete the first week as Head of Secondary at Compass International School, I have been reflecting on the school culture and the opportunities that we have for our students and staff. Compass mirrors my personal philosophy of education in having high academic standards; providing a progress pathway for learners of all abilities; engaging students in creative ways; and, allowing for the extension of learning through opportunities outside of the class room.
What distinguishes Compass, is the ability to have the same high expectations of all students alongside the teaching prowess and expertise to know when to make the result count. There was early celebration last Thursday for some of our Year 11 students who had achieved success in their Mathematics IGCSE. The students celebrated 100% pass rate A*-B with nearly all achieving A or A* grades. This is a real endorsement of our Mathematics department who used the flexibility of our curriculum system to adapt to our learners’ needs. These students were stretched by beginning the IGCSE in Year 9 and they will be challenged further as they make a swift transition into the rigours of Mathematics at IB level whilst still in Year 11. The Mathematics department are predicting similar success for the rest of the Year 11 cohort when they sit their exams this summer.
This weekend, I was involved in a training programme on the benefits of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme for Years 12 and 13 which emphasised the different pathways that we have provided for students at Compass International School Doha. Each route is distinct and geared towards the individual child and all feed faultlessly into one another. Mrs Anderson-Rice has developed a great skills system in Years 7, 8 and 9 that enables students to have the foundations for both academic success but also life in the 21st Century. These skills allow for a rapid take up of the requirements of IGCSE where the students are then independent enough to mature academically, ready for the demands of IB under the guidance and leadership of Mr Hughes.
The school’s mission statement of offering outstanding learning opportunities to staff as well as students was further endorsed through the Nord Anglia Education STEAM training at our sister school in Prague. Our teachers travelled to Prague to lead and attend workshops, sharing their expertise and learning from colleagues whilst utilising our link with MIT. Those teachers are now in the process of training the rest of our teaching staff in Doha allowing this learning to flow down to the students in all the schools. This builds on our recent STEAM week and ensures the quality of provision for the students at our schools is world class.
Outside of the classroom, provision for our students remains strong. Years 7 and 8 competed in the British International Schools Qatar Games, competing with other international schools and enjoying the world class facilities available in Qatar. This week, we have 45 students going out on expedition as part of their Duke of Edinburgh International Award whilst back in school, the finishing touches are being made to the school’s production of Beauty and the Beast.
The culture being fostered here that enthuses me most is the growth mind-set work our Director of Learning, Simon Porter is embedding into our learning programmes. I agree with Churchill when he said “Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential”. As well as helping foster a love for learning, I intend to be part of the Compass and Nord Anglia culture to push all students to the best they can be and achieve beyond expectations. It is a privilege to be Head of Secondary at Compass International School and a privilege to support the staff, students and parents of our ambitious community.