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Chaofah Weekly1 year ago

Weekly Update #1, 26 August 2022

Upcoming events can be found on the website under School Life → Calendar and are outlined here for easy reference. If you have questions or require further assistance please email [email protected]

Date Time Event Who for? Location
30 August 8.15-9.15am Parent Meeting: After School Program Policy & Parent Portal All interested  
06 September 8.15-9.15am Parent meeting: Introduction to Foundation and the EYFS Curriculum All interested  
13 September 8.15-9.15am Parent meeting: Bug Club & Diagnostics Questions Online Programmes in Primary All interested  
17 September 9.00am to 12.00 Saturday Thai Culture Club Students of Thai Nationality TBA
20 September 8.15-9.15am Parent meeting: Thai Curriculum at HeadStart for New Parents Thai parents  
27 September 8.15-9.15am Parent meeting: Introduction to the IGCSE Curriculum All interested  
28-29 September TBA Foundation ‘Stay & Play’ Foundation children & parents Foundation building

Welcome back to school!

Message to New Families from Headmaster
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Adam Drew

[email protected]

Since joining HeadStart International School in August 2014, I have been genuinely impressed by the hard work and commitment of all those involved in making HeadStart a place where students are inspired to have the ‘love of learning’ described in the school’s motto. The school community here is one of the best I have ever-worked with and the positive energy that this creates enables us to achieve so much together. Since our last inspection where the school was rated as a good with a number of outstanding features highlighted, I strongly believe that HeadStart International School is well on the way to becoming one of the best schools in Thailand, providing the highest standards in teaching and learning. As we prepare for the next phase where we hope to gain a solid ‘Outstanding’ rating, the next few years will be a truly exciting time for all those involved. Having had a successful Teaching career in the UK for a number of years and having worked in various different management positions, my wife Amy and I made the decision to move to Thailand in 2012 where I worked at an International School in Bangkok. The opportunity to make a real impact at HeadStart and to help shape the future successes of the school drew me to move to Phuket. On a personal level, I am a keen sportsman and have an interest in many sports both as a spectator or participant. A highlight for me was having a leadership position for Event Services at the London 2012 Olympic Games. I am also keen golfer and compete in many of the regular competitions held here in Phuket and further afield. My wife Amy is a teacher in the Foundation department having joined HeadStart shortly after I did. Since working at HeadStart we have become parents for the first time. Ted Drew was born in April 2018 and is excited to be joining pre-school in this academic year. I look forward to continuing to working with the inspired staff and students and the committed and supportive parents that make up the HeadStart. Together we will ensure that we continue to build on the existing successes of the school and make each academic year even more successful than the last. Please feel free to email me at any time to discuss your ideas on how we can do this together. I look forward to meeting you again as the year progresses!

Dear Parents,

This message is addressed to the parents of children who joined HeadStart at the start of this term. We understand that it can be quite difficult for children to adapt to new school environments and systems. Ensuring that transition is as smooth as possible, and that your children are supported in their first few days and weeks is very important to us. We also feel it is important to make parents feel secure in the choices they have made for their children, and to make sure that new parents understand our systems, procedures and who to contact when they are unsure of something or need support.

The orientation days were very busy events, and now that term has begun, we would like to meet with new parents in smaller groups in order to address concerns, questions and anything that new parents feel they need more guidance on. We would therefore like to welcome you to join meetings for new parents in the week beginning 29th August 2022. In advance of attending these meetings, I would be grateful if you could fill in the Google form to confirm your attendance and also let us know of any topics that you would like discussed, or any questions that you might have. If you can complete this by 6pm on Monday the 29th of August, we would be most grateful.

Click here to access the Google Form

The times, dates and venues of the meetings are as follows:

  • Primary (Years 1 to 6)- Wednesday 31st August - 8:15am-9.15am - Venue: Secondary Hall

  • Foundation (Preschool, Early Years, Reception) - Thursday 1st September - 8:15am-9.15am - Venue: Primary Hall

  • Secondary (Years 7 to 13) - Thursday 1st September - 8:15am-9.15am - Venue: Secondary Hall

𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐥 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐨𝐭𝐛𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐉𝐚𝐧𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑!

Thank you for your patience and support while we upgrade our facilities. The following are reminders to ensure pick up and drop off times as smooth as possible.

👉🏻 Drop-off for Foundation and Primary Children has not changed.

👉🏻 For Secondary students, we ask they are dropped off at the overflow car-park.

👉🏻 NEW: They should enter the school via the tennis court entrance on the lower part of the overflow car-park. This entrance does not have a turnstile, but will be manned by Security.

👉🏻 Only students in uniform, or parents with ID badges will be allowed to enter via this entrance. No parent ID badge = NO ENTRY.

👉🏻 The Tennis Court entrance will be open from 7.00am to 8.30am.

Temporary signage Renovation final
School Communication

For daily updates and announcements from school in English, Thai, Mandarin and Russian, scan the QR codes shown below. A whole school weekly update is emailed out to parents every Friday/Saturday with dates for your diary, announcements and news from classrooms. To follow the school on social media visit our Facebook Page, Instagram Page.

Message From the Parent Committee

Announcing a parents coffee morning ☕️ Please come and join us on Tuesday 30th August from 9.00am onwards. All welcome - many new parents at school this year so come along and meet other parents! 📍 Location: Kin.HKT Cafe in Kathu (8 mins from school/ 4km). 🔗 Google link for location ☎️ KIN.HKT CAFE: +66 61 174 7254

HeadStart Parent Community

The Parent Committee has set up a brilliant interactive community Facebook page that we would like to encourage everyone to join. Click here to join. If you would like to know more about the Parent Committee, visit our webpage Click Here!

HeadStart Parents Community
2022 Academic Results
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Timothy Davidson

Deputy Head of Secondary (Academic)
[email protected]

My name is Tim and I have been working at HeadStart International School since 2018. I was born and raised in the beautiful county of Cornwall; located in the southwestern tip of the UK. After sitting my A-levels at Cornwall College I was awarded a scholarship from Pilkington Optronics to study Physics at Reading University. Post University I entered research at the National Physical Laboratory researching the use of quantum dots to replace fluorescent tag molecules for medical diagnosis. However, the life of a researcher often left me in need of human interaction and I decided to opt for a career change; studying a PGCE at the Institute of Education, in London. After my PGCE I took up my first full time teaching post in West London. I remained at this school for seven and a half years during which time I took on a variety of roles including Head of Physics, running the school’s science specialism and Learning Leader; a role which saw me helping to develop the teaching practice of my peers. I then took up my first International post in Prague where I worked as both the Head of Physics and the Teaching and Learning Coordinator for four years. Post Prague I moved to Phuket where I took on the role of Head of Science at HeadStart. I then remained in this post until 2022 when I took on the role of Deputy Head of Secondary - Academics. My approach to teaching has been formed from educational research and personal experience. The key to creating lifelong learners to is to give the students ownership of their learning and ensure they are suitably challenged and engaged throughout their time in education. To do this I endeavor to create an environment that fosters deep learning and stimulates students’ curiosity. In the past this was an approach I used when teaching and which we developed in the Science faculty; a strategy that saw continued improvement in terms of student progress and attainment. In my new role I am now trying to promote this approach across the entire Secondary School. During my time at HeadStart we have seen the rise and fall of the COVID pandemic. Obviously this was a massive challenge to the learning of our students I have been impressed by the resilience and attitude they have shown; attributes that have led to continued increase in attainment across the school. I have no doubt that our current cohort is capable of continuing this improvement and I look forward to helping, and ensuring, that this prediction is proven to be true! I am excited about continuing my adventure at HeadStart International School and being given the opportunity to further aid the students in developing a love of learning.

The summer of 2022 marked the first full set of external examinations sat by a Year 11 or Year 13 cohort at HeadStart in three years. So the question is: “How did they do?” Were the students and the school out of touch with what is required to succeed in such a high pressure environment? Well, as it turns out, the answer is - not at all!

The results were truly amazing and are a testament to the hard work the students have put in over the last few years under incredibly challenging circumstances. Our IGSCE students obtained an incredible 39% A* to A grades and a 100% pass rate. The Year 13 BTEC students obtained 39% distinction or above, and a 100% pass rate (this may look like we have copy and pasted the percentages and then forgot to change them, but I can assure you these are the correct results for both groups).

Lastly, our A-level students obtained 36% A* to A grades and a 98% pass rate. This is a phenomenal set of results that sets the bar very high for our new Year 11 and 13 students!

Although the final grades are what make headlines on results day, the true inspiration has come from those students who pushed themselves to succeed during times of struggle, and those who worked hard to obtain results far beyond what they thought possible. The banners below show some of the highest achieving students this year.

We would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all our students, parents, and teachers for the astounding effort that has gone into making these results a reality. Well done everyone!

BTEC IGCSE Exam Success 2022 16x9 1 minBTEC IGCSE Exam Success 2022 16x9 min
English A Level Results at HeadStart International School Set New Standards of Excellence
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David Pollicutt

Head of English
[email protected]

My name is David and I joined HeadStart International School in 2018. I am from the UK and grew up in the large port city of Bristol. I studied English Literature at the University of East Anglia, and trained to teach at The Institute of Education in The University of London. I taught in East London for four years, before moving to teach for eight years as Head of English in Viet Nam and China. I am a firm believer in developing students to be natural enquirers, following the Sir Ken Robinson model of best preparing students to use transferable skills for the shifting landscapes of their futures. I seek to encourage an epistemological approach in my lessons, urging students to evaluate the efficacy of the information they consume and the validity of interpretations. I am passionate about literature and will often be chortling at David Lodge’s tragicomedy or swooning at Ian Mcewan’s literary sleight of hand. Outside of the classroom I am a keen student of Philosophy, Politics and Film. I am a particular fan of the intellect and charisma exuded by Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris and the late and much missed Christopher Hitchens. I have a terminal case of devotion to Tottenham Hostpsur Football Club; it teaches me patience and humility.

And the results are in…!

A Levels are the highest and most in depth qualification available in Secondary education. Taken by students at the age of eighteen, they are the principle metric used by universities for entrance to their dreaming spires.

As such, they are rigorous and demanding, requiring dogged commitment, intellect and risk-taking in order to succeed. All of this makes HeadStart’s most recent results in English Literature so much more remarkable. Students from diverse backgrounds; wildly varied starting points (40% of the students did not study English Literature at IGCSE level); but united in a shared and mutually supportive drive to succeed, tackled, grappled, wrestled and ultimately triumphed in this course.

Some figures, then: 100% of the cohort achieved A star to C grades, the third year in a row this has been achieved at HeadStart. What makes this all the more remarkable is that 50% of the cohort achieved either an A grade or, for the first time in the school’s history, two students (Sara Bokobza De La Rosa and Pailin Frederiksen) achieved the almost unheard of A star, a grade which required them to achieve over 85% in all the exam essays they wrote over the two year course. I lack any Nostradmus-esque prescience, but I think there is a very sporting chance we may see a ‘Top in Thailand’ award here.

The course has been eclectic and demanding: this year alone has seen students contend with the study of 31 poems from the postmodern and elusive poet Sujatha Bhatt; the psychological and social commentary from Bram Stoker and Shelagh Stevenson; and shifting portrayals of The Other in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. This is all on top of the texts they studied- and excelled in their critical responses to- in Year 12.

English teachers have been equally dedicated. For every essay written by students, the teachers write it alongside them as part of our VIMA assessment and feedback system. This meant that students had immediate access to top quality, relevant discursive essay models which they could then use to emulate the structure, style and depth of linguistic and contextual analysis. Additionally, this also lent itself to a more dialogic form of assessment whereby students would discuss, deconstruct and then synthesize this feedback, putting it into action in their ensuing directed improvement task. Furthermore, teachers would write and share whole class and individual student feedback, focused on the individual A Level assessment objectives.

If these VIMAs sound exhausting and exhaustive, that’s because they are- for all parties! However, the intellectual rigor and fitness for their purpose is revealed not only in this set of results but also in the anonymous feedback from the students themselves, where students wrote comments such as:

“It simulates the actual exam and gives a sense of how much time we would have in the real exam”

“It is good for time management practice; it’s more realistic that way and makes students less stressed with the actual timed exam: ‘VIMAs tell me the areas I need to improve (e.g. deeper analysis, using checklist for Unseen paper)”

“I like the feedback on specific ways I can personally improve related to mark scheme to know where to spend more of our time on improving.”

Of course, these students have done very well in other subjects too and I would invite you to learn more about them on the school’s website or in person. However, I have most ‘skin in the game’ when it comes to my subject, and as the school’s Head of English I can wholeheartedly, unambiguously and sincerely declare my pride in these students and I pass on to them congratulations warmer than the fiery pits of Dante’s Inferno themselves. Now, over to the new Year 13s….

Creative & Performing Arts News -Auditions for Upcoming Shows

We will be holding auditions for both our CAPA productions next week; all primary parents and all secondary students have received an email detailing the process of these auditions. Students do not need to prepare anything, they will be taught the material. For any questions or requests please email our Head of Creative and Performing Arts Ms Sillett at [email protected]

  • Monday-CAPA Senior ensemble (years 6-13)

  • Tuesday-CAPA Junior (YEARS 3-6)

Primary Musical Production Audition Advert
CAPA audition slide for HRBattle of the Bands 2022 Advert
Creative & Performing Arts Week 1 Round Up
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Alia Sillett

Director of Creative & Performing Arts
[email protected]

I was born and raised in Bath in the UK where I developed a love and passion for the performing arts. After completing my schooling, I studied Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Kent in Canterbury for both my undergraduate degree and Masters Degree in which I specialised in stand-up comedy. I spent some time "gigging" on the stand-up circuit around the UK, culminating in being entered for the British funny Women of the year award in 2008. After being a teaching ambassador for the University of Kent I had the opportunity to teach in Thailand in 2008; it was here I found both my passion for teaching as well as Thailand! I returned to the UK to qualify as a teacher where I had a successful teaching and management career in the British state school system. I have had various roles in education; Key Stage Leader, Head of Faculty for Performing Arts and Assistant Head Teacher. During this time I have had the opportunity to gain my second Masters, in Education; Transformational Leadership and completed the Outstanding Leaders in Education programme. I am a passionate educationalist who truly believes in the power of drama to instil confidence, collaboration, leadership and individuality in our students. I have always been an advocate for holistic education and believe that a child's school experience should encompass academics, creativity and capacity for mental and physical growth. My classroom mantra is 'lead with kindness'. In 2016 myself and my husband moved back to Thailand to begin our international career at a top tier international school. During this time I was lucky enough to train with The Juilliard School completing their Drama teacher training and complete my category two International baccalaureate training in Theatre Arts with ISTA. After five years in Bangkok, we moved to HeadStart in 2021 with our two children who also attend the school. I love teaching and living in Thailand and like to spend my free time on the beach with my children, scuba diving, and searching for the best Som Tum on the island; so if you have any recommendations, please let me know!

It has been a busy and exciting first week of the school year in CAPA! We have welcomed new students and staff, introduced a new KS3 subject and some exciting new House competitions. We are also preparing for our CAPA productions: Chicago and Rock Bottom. Across all the CAPA subjects students have been excited to engage in their learning and are demonstrating a great commitment to their studies. We are excited to see what the year brings!


It has been great to welcome back the students this week and to hear all about their creative endeavours over the summer. Our classes have been recapping previous skills through a series of drawing exercises to refresh knowledge and technical skills. We also welcomed Ms Nacey into the Art Department as a classroom teacher. Ms Nacey is a highly experienced art teacher who has joined us from a top Bangkok international school. Ms Nacey’s passion is for using sculptural materials and ceramics to make art and we are excited to see her bring this passion and skill to the team.

Art 1


For our first week of the year the music department is off to a flying start. Battle of the Bands is fast approaching and all of our key stage 3 students are starting on band projects to lead into this exciting new event! Our year 10 students are embarking on a brand new Edexcel GCSE and have already performed to a superb standard. Our primary students are excited to start their new projects creating their own expressive music. Practice rooms are jam packed every break time and our fantastic students can’t wait to get back to performing for the school.’ We also welcomed Mr Costello into the Music Department as a classroom teacher.

Music 1

Design and Technology

What a great start back this year in Design and Technology with lots of enthusiastic students coming into the DT workspaces. Year 7 have started on their workshop safety posters and enjoyed the introduction to some of our equipment. Year 8s are investigating products that could be sold in an aquarium gift shop with the eventual goal of making a keyring out of sheet steel and the Year 9s are about to start making a sculpture inspired by work from the famous Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky. Our key stage 4 students are now focusing on the IGCSE theory and coursework projects. We have a new member of staff this year in DT, opening up possibilities for more extra curricular activities and more support for students during lessons when making. I can’t wait to see the students developing their skills and confidence whilst designing, making and problem solving but of course also realising how much fun learning can be. We also welcome Mr Lategan to the Design Technology department as an associate teacher. Mr Lategan has joined us from South Africa. Mr Lategan will be supporting Mr Wells and DT students. Mr Lategan has significant experience working in the design technology field and is excited about bringing this, along with great enthusiasm, to HeadStart.

D T 1


This year HeadStart have introduced Drama to all year 9 students who will now have a timetabled lesson weekly. Studies show significantly improved academic outcomes when the curriculum offered is varied and develops ‘soft’ skills. Drama improves behaviour in and out of the classroom and develops numerous skills that are essential for further education and employment.

Employers are now requesting a more varied and contrasting skill set in their potential employees and future leaders. A recent study found the following skills necessary for successful employment and promotion: leadership, collaboration, communication, empathy, tolerance, student led, intrinsic motivation, problem solving and creativity. All of these skills are intrinsically tied into Drama. Every lesson teaches all of these skills and develops the individual to best prepare them for the world of further education and work.

This week year 9 have been exploring communication, collaboration and leadership skills through physical theatre. The students seemed to thoroughly enjoy this lesson and participated fully. This term the students will be learning drama techniques which will culminate in a mimed performance, a selection of these performances will be included in our House Drama Competition.


Another fantastic year for LAMDA students who achieved 100% pass or above and 94% merit or distinction in their recent examinations. These students worked incredibly hard with their teachers to achieve these grades. Well done to LAMDA class of 2022! Thank you to Mr Patrick Graham and Mr Joel Adams for their continued commitment to our students.We look forward to welcoming students back to our LAMDA classes soon. As we look to continue to build on our provision we are introducing LAMDA-Poetry and Prose this year, taught by the highly experienced Mr O’Brien. We still have a few spaces available for sign ups, be quick!

Instrumental Lessons

Thank you to those who have shared your intention for your son or daughter to have instrumental lessons. We have had an incredible response and I will be organising the timetable over the next week. These lessons will begin on 12th September to give time for the ASP timetable to begin. We currently have availability for trumpet lessons if there are any other interested students.

Celebrating Student Success Out of School

Well done to all of our athletic students who put in a great effort to train, compete and win a variety of competitions around the island and in the region.

  • Tiger in Year 3 won the TJDT Tour 2022-2023 • JGS • SPWAR • GJGR At Blue Canyon Country Club on the 06-07 August 2022.
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  • Yasmin Halamandres in Year 4 participated in the Phuket Provincial Sports Competition from the 1-14 July 2022 and came in 3rd place for overall Female U8 Swimmer, 2nd place for 100 metre Freestyle/ 50 metre butterfly and 3rd place for the 50 metre in backstroke.
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Congratulations to Natalie Hallermann, the winner of the U13 group in the Phuket PPAO Swimming Championship 2022 held from the 13-14 August 2022 in Phuket.


Congratulations to Theo in Year 11 for finishing his first Triathlon! Theo competed in The Eagle Man Competition on the 21 of August in Ao Nang, Krabi. His results are:

  • Swim: 20:30 (750 metre)/Transition 1: 3:48

  • Cycle: 57:22 (20 km.)/Transition 2: 1:13

  • Run: 20:29 (5 km.)

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