Weekly Update #20, 8 February 2019
Dates for Your Diary
Upcoming events can be found on the calendar on the website School Life → Calendar but we have outlined upcoming events here for easy reference. For daily updates and news follow the HeadStart Facebook Page
|14 February||All day||Foundation (am) Years 1-2 (pm) Sports Day||Sports Facilities|
|15 February||All day||Year 3-6 (am) Year 7-11 (pm) Sports Day||Sports Facilities|
|18-22 February||All week||Mid-term break|
|25 Feb-1 March||2 weeks||Year 12 & 13 Mock Exams||In school|
|28 March||8:15-10:00am||Parent Committee||Conference room|
|4-8 March||1 week||Yearbook Photo Shoot||In school|
|8 March||2:30-5:00pm||Friday Market||Atrium|
|11-15 March||All week||Year 6 & 9 Mock Checkpoint Exams||In class|
|13 March||3:30pm||Year 9 IGCSE Options/Parent Teacher conferences||TBA|
|14 March||TBA||PISAC Primary Athletics||Sports facilities|
|18-22 March||All week||Eco Watch Week||In school|
|21 March||Afternoon||PISAC Secondary Athletics||TBA|
|22 March||All day||Casual Clothes day for charity||In school|
|23 March||9:00-12:00pm||Saturday Thai Culture Club||In school|
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 and Students,
As we reach the end of another half-term, I write to wish you all a restful and relaxing break as our school community readies itself for a very busy few months when we return, with exams the key focus for many of our older students.
In February and March, students in Years 6, 9, 12 & 13 will be taking mock exams. For the Year 6 & 9’s, these will be for their Checkpoints that they will take for real at the end of April and for the Year 12 & 13’s students this will be for their AS and A Level exams. This will give those older students the clearest idea of their performance in each of their subjects and the necessary steps they need to take throughout March and April in order to prepare themselves for the AS and A Level exams in May. Exams for Year 12 & 13 are some of the toughest exams they will take, and arguably, with the highest stakes. The results they achieve will define which universities and courses they have access to, and allow those who are successful to follow dreams that they may have held for several years.
Many of our Year 13 students already have offers at some of the most prestigious universities throughout the world and to take a diverse range of subjects including Law, Psychology, Biomedical Sciences, Cognitive Neuroscience, Film and TV, Business Management and Literature. We also have our first applicant for Medicine. At this stressful and intense time, I am sure you will join me, in wishing them and all our students well in the upcoming exams.
For those students in the younger years, but with an eye on destinations once they complete their studies at HeadStart, Gemma Caines our Head of Sixth-Form has been running U-Prep talks each Thursday morning to give parents useful and interesting information to help them in the choices they need to start thinking about now and over the next few years as they prepare for university applications. These events have been well attended with over 80 parents at each session so far. There are 5 more sessions after the mid-term break and we welcome all parents to attend any or all of these sessions.
Speaking about options, soon our Year 9 & 11 students will be making choices about their subjects for next year. It will be the Year 11s turn first, who are invited to an options fair on the afternoon of the 8th of March. More details of this event will be sent to parents in a separate email after the mid-term break, but this is the opportunity for all Year 11 students as well as any parents that are available, to meet AS Level subject teachers and Faculty Heads to discuss options for next year and to find out more about the AS Level courses. There will of course be follow up discussions with students and parents throughout the remainder or Terms 2 & 3.
HeadStart is not just about academics. We have a thriving Creative and Performing Arts programme as seen last term with the amazing ‘A Night at the Movies’ production. Term 2 was the Foundation and Key Stage 1 students turn to show off their talents, with students as young as 2 years old performing dance routines and songs in the ‘Around the World’ performance. Audiences of around 300 parents and family members watched both performances and I am sure that each and every one of them enjoyed watching their young children performing in front of such a big audience. A big thank you from the managements team for the hard work and dedication of our teachers and support staff for making this production possible, and also to the parents for the support and confidence they gave to their children.
In terms of sport, our volleyball team continues to go from strength to strength continuing to have many victories against other school teams. Our girls’ basketball team, in such a short space of time since their formation, have become incredibly competitive and won their first tournament in January against strong opposition from a number of Thai schools. The half-term ended with our annual sports day for all students throughout the school. As always, the events were very competitive with intense excitement throughout the day. The Yellow house were victorious in Primary with the Red house taking the win in Secondary.
It has been two years since we last increased school fees and some parents may be concerned about the possibility of fees going up for the next academic year. Since the last fee rise we have expanded the school significantly and have made a number of major improvements to physical resources, expanded our programmes in sport and in the creative and performing arts. Over the last two years, we have seen major steps forward in our academic programmes and results. It is also a key feature of our mission statement that we will ‘provide these invaluable building blocks at affordable prices’. I am therefore pleased to announce to you all that the school fees will remain unchanged for the 2019-2020 academic year and that there will be no rise for parents to be concerned about.
I hope you find this last point very good news indeed, and as I said at the beginning of this letter, I wish you all a happy and restful mid-term break.
Adam Drew Headmaster
Invitation to take Parent Survey
We would like to invite you to complete the Parent Survey for the 2018-2019 academic year. As with last year, we are using an online programme called Survey Monkey. The format is user friendly and can be completed in a short amount of time. The survey can be completed using a PC, tablet or smart phone.
Thank you for taking the time to fill in the survey. Your feedback is always useful in addressing the students needs and making improvements where necessary. Thank you for your valued input and continued support of our programmes at HeadStart International School.
We would like to encourage parents to communicate with the teacher in the event that a student cannot attend their ASP or Booster. A note or email delivered BEFORE the event is courteous, and it saves the teacher unnecessary time spent preparing for the session and following up the absence.
After School Programmes (ASP) Announcement
We are excited to announce a few new fee paying ASPs, will begin after the mid-term break. McSweeney Martial Arts for Kids will run the following sessions:
- Balance and Coordination available for Foundation students who are 4-5 years old. Monday 14:30-15:20 p.m. in the Dance and Drama Studio starting on the 25th February.
- Mixed Martial Arts available for students who are 8-15 years old. Every Thursday from 17:30-18:30 p.m. in the Fitness Studio.
- Mixed Martial Arts available for students who are 4-7 years old. Every Sunday from 9:15-10:30 a.m. in the Fitness Studio.
U-Prep Talk Info
Thank you to all of the parents who attended the U-Prep talk this week on the topic of ‘Show me the Money!’ If you were not able to attend the meeting you can find a notes from the presentation in the download below. The next U-Prep talk will take place on 28th of February at 8:15am in the Secondary Hall on the 4th floor. Ms Caines will speak for 25-30 minutes on the topic of ‘Cambridge Options’. We welcome parents of children in Year 8-11, especially those who are looking at IGCSE (Year 9) and A-Level (Year 11) options this year.
Congratulations to Our Dance Academy on 2 Gold Medals
We are very proud of our HeadStart Dance Academy students who traveled to Bangkok for the ATOD (Australian Teachers of Dance) dance competition last weekend and won 2 group dance gold medals plus other medals and honourable mentions. From dance teacher Ms Fabienne Mester: “I can’t be more proud of these girls. The most beautiful reward is the magic they brought into the theatre. That is more that Gold. Thank you girls!”
‘Around the World’ Performance by Foundation to Year 2
A huge congratulations to our Foundation to Year 2 students on a fantastic performance last Friday. Each class took us on a journey through America, India, Japan, South Africa, Egypt, New Zealand, Spain, Australia and Jamaica. The show started with the Mini Cheerleaders giving us the all important information we needed to have a safe flight. Nua Jordaan and John Chadwick were our hosts and announced each new country we landed in. The children ended each performance with a group number - ‘We are the World’. Thank you to all the staff involved in making this another one of HeadStart’s brilliant productions. A full album of all the pictures can be found by clicking on the HeadStart Facebook Page
School Magazine by Students
Our School Magazine team have been working hard to prepare, write and edit this month’s newsletter in order to keep students and parents up to date with what’s happening in their school. The team of Year 5 to Year 8 students meet every Thursday to work on the magazine. They visit different ASPs, interview teachers and students, and write about the different events that have been happening. By Ms Kirsty Hark
From the Library…
The students are excited with the books that have been ordered from Scholastic Book Club. The books have now arrived and the children are busy reading! A great big thank you to Ms Yaping Song (parent of Vivien in EY Blue, Tina Bai in Year 7 White and Linda Lui in Year 8 White) for donating such a great selection of Chinese books.
The Preschool children have had a ‘lovely’ time taking part in lots of Valentines Day activities last week. By Ms Danielle Jones
Children in Year 1 consolidated their learning on graphs in their final graph lesson. They used data - given to them in clues - to create their very own graph from scratch. Children have demonstrated a really mastery of graphs. Pasha, a child new in school this week, really impressed me with his wonderful independent counting. He recognised numbers to 20 and counted out animals toys for each number. By Ms Charlotte Myers
Year 1 students in the ‘Thai as a First Language’ class enjoyed making “U” vowel (สระอึ) bookmarks. By Kru Cherry
Here are some pictures of Year 1 Blue. We spent a week learning all about spiders in factual and fictional stories. We then made our own pet spiders and took them on an adventure outside. The children had great fun playing on the playground with their new pets. We then wrote a recount about where we took our spiders and the children used lots of amazing wow words in their writing. By Ms Lucie Bevins
In Year 3 White we have been learning about the properties of materials this term. The children completed many investigations including conductivity, strength and elasticity. Here you can see how many of our learners are going to become fantastic scientists with key skills such as careful observation, recording and reporting results, and measuring and controlling variables. Awesome work guys! By Mr Ian Jackson
Year 3 students in the ‘Thai as a Second Language’ class enjoyed learning about Thai vowels after which they practiced making sentences. By Kru Bo
Grade 3 Russian students learned how to write compliments in Russian. Everyone wrote something nice about their classmates. Reading what others have written was fun and enjoyable. By Ms Alina Platkova
Year 5 students in the ‘Thai as a Second Language’ class have been learning how to make sentences in a fun way by using words from the previous lessons. By Kru Bo
Secondary English Exam Prep
This week all Key Stage 3 English classes have their end of topic tests. Today in preparation for their exams on Wednesday and Thursday, Year 8 English - Set 2 reconstructed a paragraph through the dictogloss strategy. The aim of a dictogloss is for a group of students to recreate a heard text by taking notes and pooling knowledge within a small group to reconstruct it in written form.The group must compose a piece of writing that is close to the original; taking into consideration text type and organisation, grammar, tense, topic specific vocabulary and content. After creating their paragraphs they analysed other groups by giving peer feedback and self reflection. The class is now ready to write their own paragraphs on character relationships from their novel study ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’
Year 11 History IGCSE Exam Prep
The Year 11 History students are going full steam ahead in their preparations for their IGCSE exams, where they are studying 20th Century International Relations. Active revision is essential to encourage the sharing of knowledge and ideas, and here they are analysing political cartoons of the 1930s to determine differing interpretations of the same events. The cartoons are about the Manchurian and Abyssinian crises which undermined the work of The League of Nations. In two groups, students must correctly interpret the cartoons and link them to either the causes or consequences of the events. Once they have annotated their thoughts on the board, they then teach the other group. The act of teaching something is a great way to remember stuff! As a whole class we eventually make a judgement on the over arching question: How far was The League of Nations successful?
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.
As Year 13 English Literature students march inexorably towards the climax of Richard II, at the end of Act III, they encounter a curious scene.
In it, a gardener, a sort of lay prophet, uses the lexis of his own trade to describe the state of the country in elaborately figurative terms, using the garden as a metaphor. Why, his assistant asks, should the two of them bother to maintain order within their garden, when the country surrounding it has been allowed to sprout weeds and be infested by insects (a reference to Richard’s mismanagement and his unpopular advisors)? The elder gardener tells him to keep quiet, since the person who caused the country’s disorder has “met with the fall of leaf” –that is, King Richard has been overthrown.
There is often no better way to have students understand Shakespeare than to have them engage with his language creatively. In this instance, therefore, the seedling students followed the gardener’s carefully plotted language cues to grow their own extended metaphors. These metaphors stood not for England however, but for the girls themselves. To show them (and you) that I’m no more than a mere creative sapling myself, I have included a few of mine too.
Enjoy reading their blooming talents; reap what they have sown….