It’s not always easy to know when the right time to sit down and think seriously about plotting the next leg of your journey. Whether to maintain the current course or make a change in direction, to seek harbour or risk uncertain weather and set sail out of safe waters. I’m not a sailor by any description (ask my wife about our few days aboard a ship during our honeymoon!) but there are a few things that I find helpful to reflect on if ships pass through my mind. As stands out from the quote here by Roosevelt, you need a destination, a goal, something tangible to aim at; you won’t get there by staying moored where you are; and you need to be deliberate, not drifting and hoping the trade winds or some random squall will push you where you want to get to. Also, there is an awful lot of activity, preparation and courage that is expended before and during any voyage, that go unseen when observed from a distance, but which are all vital to the adventure being successful.
At The Heritage School we want our students to develop to their full potential, to become the best that they can be in a fast-changing world. We aim to provide a well-balanced academic, cultural and sport curriculum through well qualified and experienced teachers, top level facilities and up to date resources. It is our aim that students value learning as a lifelong experience rather than just a means to good results and recognised qualifications. This is more a voyage of discovery and growth without a well-defined endpoint than a holiday cruise between two distinct ports: we can’t claim to have ever ‘arrived’, but we can certainly know whether we are travelling the right way or not!
2017 for Heritage is going to be an exciting year, with some changes in direction, a lot of carrying on with things that have been working, and one or two things being stopped. I will highlight some of the key initiatives in the following few paragraphs, and I hope that this will give you a clear indication of what we’ll be focusing on as we continue the School’s journey of aiming high and striving to provide the best educational environment possible for our students.
Our Interact and other clubs have maintained active presence and interactions with external communities such as Tichakunda Orphanage and As I Am Foundation. We are also looking into some environmental awareness and action ideas, such as a recycle point that can operate between the School, Bon Marché and the Brooke. Building relationships with organisations will lead to opportunities for various kinds of exposure for our students, so we will be leaning more into these during the next couple of years.
I will welcome and consider any recommendations or proposals that you might have or be aware of, so please do come and see me if there are any ideas floating around.
From next year we will be introducing regular, annual trips for Years 8, 10 and 12, with a mixture of voluntary and compulsory trips. For example, we are arranging a 9 day tour in Cape Town available to Year 8s, cultural tour in Europe for Year 12s and leadership development and life experience trips for Years 10 and 12.
Unfortunately, as with anything of value, there is some cost associated with these trips. To alleviate the pain of payment we have introduced a facility whereby you can start paying towards the trips well ahead of time and avoid the disappointment of not being able to put the required funds together when the payment deadlines approach. This facility is also available for the various sport tours.
A European trip may stretch to the region of two or three thousand dollars, but a calculated monthly payment plan over several months ahead of Year 12 can make it affordable for most families.
As we go, we will modify the trips to best offer diversity and educational exposure for our students.
Heritage has got a great set of values, expectations and boundaries for our students, parents and staff. Maintaining these standards requires an ongoing effort to set the bar high and keep it there. In order to do this more effectively, we will be introducing a new Discipline Policy from the beginning of 2017. This is not to change our values, but to provide teachers with a system that enables us to better manage the expectations for student behaviour and attitudes. The goal of the school discipline policy is to create and maintain a safe and enjoyable environment for all students, as well as helping to shape self-discipline in students.
During the remaining few weeks of this year, we will be introducing the new policy and providing plenty of opportunity for discussion, questions and making sure that every one understands exactly how it works before implementation next year.[/vc_column_text]
It is important that young men and women are exposed to a healthy, holistic educational curriculum, especially in the early high school years. Students need to be exposed to science as well as literature, second-language learning as well as computer science courses … a broad-based subject offering that maximizes learning opportunities for a broad skills’ base. Problem-solving, exposure to other points of view, reasoning, investigation and discovery all need opportunity to be developed and appreciated by all students.
With this in view, there are some changes to the subject offering for Years 8 to 11, which will be made available during the next couple of weeks or so. This will afford plenty of time to raise any queries you may have before the beginning of 2017.
Rationalization of the A Level curricular will see some changes there as well, including the introduction of a compulsory course in Year 12 that is designed to improve students’ communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Part of a well-rounded education is being active and pursuing interests outside the classroom, so we will be re-emphasizing “one sport and one club” each term for all students.
It is a responsibility of the school to model healthy, active lifestyles, so we will be continuing to improve how we do this as we head into 2017.
School Attendance Times: Year 12
I have noted with some concern this year, the amount of time that has been lost by students through non-attendance. In particular are the Year 12 students, who have been losing three weeks at the start of the year before their IGCSE results are published, and have not been returning to class following the end of year exams, losing another almost three weeks of class time. This amounts to about half a term out of, effectively, a five term A-Level program. Ten percent of class time available doesn’t sound very significant, but the A-Level syllabi are very demanding and it is an intense two years, so every week available for useful instruction counts.
The attendance requirements have therefore been revised, and all students are required to commence the year at the beginning of the first term. For the Year 12 students, this means starting their A-Level courses before receiving IGCSE results. Once the IGCSE results are published students will be able to ratify their enrolment in the A-Level courses.
Some students may be required to make adjustments to their programmes if IGCSE results are not as expected, but it will mean that all students are able to make the most of all the available tuition time during the year. Creating this additional class time will provide a meaningful push toward ensuring the best opportunity for students to be successful in their academic courses.
Year 11 students will be required to nominate their A-Level programmes before the end of the year, so that any serious concerns can be addressed, as far as possible, before the start of their Year 12 courses.
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Mr. S. Allott
Senior Department Headmaster[/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner]
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