22 Jun
Weekly1 month ago

Weekly Update #37, 26 June 2020

Welcome Back to School Foundation Children
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Myself and the Foundation teaching team were very happy to finally be able to welcome the Foundation children back to school on the 1st July 2020. As a team, everyone at HeadStart has been working very hard to ensure the school is safe and accessible for the children.

We have put acrylic screens to divide tables and where there are larger areas we have made it clear with the use of tape and visual aids to help children to remember how many children can be in the area at any given time. However, mistakes may still be made by the children, and this is completely normal. Teachers will not reprimand children for making mistakes; time will be taken to support children who need it on an individual basis. Teachers will act in a calm and compassionate manner in order to make children feel confident and positive about accessing the school under the new expectations.Teachers will give children opportunities to become part of the process of keeping our school clean, such as washing up their toys after they finish playing and providing the children with their own individual sets of stationary. -Ms Hannah Brown

Year 13 Graduation
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Gemma Caines

Head of Sixth Form
[email protected]

My name is Gemma and I work with the older students at HeadStart, helping them prepare for their university applications and get ready for A Levels and BTEC courses. I grew up by the seaside in the North West of England, so I enjoy Phuket life and always being close to the sea. I studied History at Cambridge University, before gaining my Masters from Sussex University. I’ve been teaching since 1997, which makes me feel very old, but working with Sixth Formers keeps me young and (I like to think) up to date with current trends! I’ve worked in a variety of countries in Asia - Sri Lanka, China, Nepal and now here in Thailand. I understand that selecting and going to university, especially in unfamiliar countries, is both exciting and nerve-wracking. I’m there to try and make the transition as smooth as possible. My door is always open, for students of all ages and their families, and I do invite whoever needs to come and talk to me. I also work with a fantastic team on Child Protection and Safeguarding here at school. I believe that children and young people can only thrive academically when they feel personally safe and happy. I’m hopeful we can help create a supportive environment that allows all children to succeed. whatever their goals and ambitions.

Graduation Keynote Address (Condensed version)

Very very dear Class of 2020…

When I think about the class of 2020, order is not really a word that springs to mind. In fact, our journey together over the last 2 years has been anything but neatly organised. Without naming any names, one glance at your desks, reports, endless university applications and haircuts tells me that you defy the concept of order. You are almost impossible to categorise - you are artists, geneticists, coders, chemists, singers, psychologists, animators, ecologists and entrepreneurs - but never just one of these, and often several simultaneously. You prove daily that you do not have to be logical or creative, a leader or a team player. You do all these things effortlessly and, whilst each of you is ambitious and competitive in your own way, I have never known you to achieve your goals at the expense of others.

We have shared plenty of mayhem along the way, and there have been successes and failures, tears as well as laughter, sometimes at the same time. So what is so exciting about this particular evening, for this unpredictable group, is that it is an instant in your life that also absolutely defies categorisation. You are right now simultaneously a child and an adult, a son or daughter but also now your own person. Tonight you are both a student and a graduate of HeadStart, and you will this day become not just school friends but also only memories of friendship for each other. In this room right now is both an end and a beginning and I suspect this makes you both happy and sad. But in this moment is potential. You are like a spring tightly coiled by school, family, friends and life, and where you go is both predicted and unpredictable. The decisions you make from this point on may define you, but if you are lucky they will just open up further doors of endless potentialities.

And for me this is why this is a moment to celebrate. If the last year has proved anything, it is that the world of defining things neatly in categories, valuing one idea or person over another, or even being able to predict what the next day will hold, is fast disappearing. The people who will run the new world that emerges over your lifetime need to not be like us, content with single definitions of success, virtue or self but open, flexible and chaotic, able to respond to the unknown.

So whatever you do in life, remember and embrace your uncertainty. Once thing that graduating will make you realise is that what is presented to you as an end, is in fact just one of a series of steps that will never be neatly ordered. You will take steps forwards but you will also take them sideways and even back, so do not expect to neatly progress through life. Do not be fixed - opinions and long term goals are good to have - but interrogate them constantly and don’t be afraid to change them. Be thankful for the privileges you’ve had and respectful of the people and places that have provided them, but challenge their assumptions and allow your context to change you as you change your context.

So congratulations Class of 2020 for being such an incomprehensible and disorderly bunch, and enjoy this moment of pure chaos in your lives. Getting to know you over the last two years has never been dull and, although there have been moments of exasperation, I have enjoyed every second of it. Like parents, teachers are not supposed to have favourites but you will always hold a special place in my heart as the group who watched the world unravel about them and took it in their stride. The chaotic world is waiting for you and if there is one thing I am certain of, it is that you will bring your own unique brand of indefinable crazy into it and somehow leave your mark. Thank you.

A full album of the Graduation Ceremony can be found on the HeadStart Facebook Page CLICK HERE and a google drive album with high quality photos can be found HERE

Year 6 Graduation

On Monday the 22nd of June, we were very proud to host our Year 6 Graduation ceremony on the HeadStart campus. This year 59 pupils graduated and they can rightly celebrate their achievements in Primary. Mr Khan spoke to all of the children and wished them continued success with their move to Secondary. He stressed the need for our pupils to continue to strive, be resilient and work hard. Well done to our Head Boy, Egor Kvitkin and Head Girl Teenueng Limpanapa for their beautiful speeches.

Primary End of Year Awards Ceremony

It was with great pleasure that we were able to welcome students and their parents to our Primary Awards Ceremony on Thursday 25th June. The annual Primary Awards are among the most prestigious a pupil at HeadStart can receive. We have numerous ways of celebrating our pupils’ successes and achievements: House merit system, Stars of the Week assemblies and Student of the Month awards are part of creating a school culture where individual pupil achievements are celebrated and recognised. It is never easy to decide which of our pupils are deserving of these awards and there is much discussion before teachers decide which pupils should be selected.

All our Primary pupils should be proud of their achievements this year, however, our Primary Award winners deserve a special mention today. They have shown us all over the course of the year that they are model HeadStart pupils; polite, kind, resilient, hard working, team players who are fantastic role models and inspiration to all their peers. Well done to all our winners. You should all be very proud of your accomplishments. -Mr Sam Khan, Head of Foundation and Primary


A full album of the Primary Awards Ceremony can be found on the HeadStart Facebook Page CLICK HERE and a google drive album with high quality photos can be found HERE

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Secondary End of Year Awards Ceremony
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Richard Lukats

Head of Secondary
[email protected]

Mr Richard Lukats is the Athletics Director at Headstart International School. Richard has over twenty years’ experience of working in schools both internationally and in the United Kingdom. He has been a senior school administrator (Athletics Director, Principal/Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher/Principal and Assistant Headteacher) for the past 18 years internationally and in the UK. He is a UK qualified teacher (Post Graduate of Education, PGCE) and holds the UK qualification to be a Headteacher (National Professional Qualification for Headship, NPQH). At Headstart International School, Richard is responsible for leading the overall strategic direction, operational effectiveness and administration of the school’s sports and activities programme, alongside managing the PE Department. He is passionate, about the role sport and physical activity plays in the development of young people and he is looking to further developing the already excellent programme that is on offer at Headstart. He is always looking at ways of working with all members of the Headstart Community to further enhance the opportunities for participation in physical activities for everyone.

Whether you watched the Secondary Awards Ceremony from home or were part of the audience in school, we hope that you appreciate the achievements of our amazing students. I am sure that they would be the first to recognise that others also need to take the credit for their achievements’ and should share in their successes, firstly your fellow students without, whom ideas would not be bounced around in the classroom, challenges to each other which encourages risk taking, collective goals would not be set and teams would not exist, all of these enable individuals to shine.

Parents, now more than ever should be applauded for their love, kindness and support and for providing an environment at home for students to learn in. For the encouragement to persevere even when the studying gets tough and of course a stable internet! I know that teachers and parents have found a renewed respect and admiration for each other as a result of Online learning and there has definitely been a growth in our understanding of the importance of each other’s roles in the education and nurturing of our young people, which I hope continues in the future. Our wonderful teachers are not just knowledgeable educators, they are great communicators, people who inspire, listeners, friends, advisors, advocates and the list goes on!

One of the greatest painters of the 20th Century - Pablo Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away”. Can we all please thank our HeadStart teachers for their selfless giving away of their gifts to our students to enable them to flourish.

10 days ago it did not look like we would be here today celebrating the achievements of our students. 100 days ago we didn’t think schools would close. 164 days ago the first case of COVID hit Thailand on the 13th of January and back in December 2019 nobody had heard of COVID. Wow how things change! Yet, some how things still remain the same.

All Headstart students and especially those who we have recognised at the ceremony have been excelling and achieving all year. Admittedly we have seen less live sports and creative arts events since April but even so, our students have entertained us with the ‘HeadStart at Home’ concerts online, the ‘HeadStart’s Got Talent’ competition and so much more! Earlier in the year the CAPA production of FAME broke HeadStart box office records, our football, swimming, volleyball, Dance and Basketball teams all enjoyed great successes.

Before COVID students were working hard at achieving the best grades they could in their subjects no more so than our Year 13s, Year 12s and Year 11s. Through this last term students have continued to show incredible resilience and tenacity to continue to not only work hard at their studies but to actually turn a hugely destabilising situation into one that has seen them grow as truly independent learners. As we have seen in the last week with our students returning to school. They may have found out for themselves something a lot of us only realise when we are older: how important school life is and that it really is some of the best years of your life.

This year has been like no other in my lifetime and I would imagine for most of you but one thing remains the same: the future of the world will not be determined by us mature adults but by our young people. You will be the ones who will find the solutions to the world’s problems. Science holds the key to unlocking the treatment for COVID as well as the way to reverse the damage being done to our planet by climate change. Who amongst you will rise to that challenge? Mathematicians and Physicists amongst us: who will come up with the next big breakthrough in our understanding of the Universe? Budding engineer: who will perfect a way of efficiently and cheaply extracting water from air or producing electricity with a zero carbon footprint? Who amongst you will have the courage to be the lawyer or politician that fights for equal rights for all and challenges injustices?

As a mature Albert Einstein once said when giving old man’s advice to youth “The important thing is not to stop questioning.Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality.It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day”.

So my parting Old Man words are, well done to you, our award winners and to all of our students. Make the best future you can for all of us!


A full album of the Secondary Awards Ceremony can be found on the HeadStart Facebook Page CLICK HERE and a google drive album with high quality photos can be found CLICK HERE

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Sports Awards 2020

We recently held the End of Year Sports Awards for our school sports teams and academies online. Well done to not just the award winners, but for all the student-athletes who worked hard to reach their goals, achieve success, and helped their fellow teammates along the way. Also, a very special thank you to all of our Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Parent Coaches, and PE staff who helped with all of our fantastic HeadStart sports and ASP programmes this academic year.

Finally, two very special mentions to our Coaches award winners: Tess (Swimming) and Krit (Football). These are the most prestigious awards we give, and they are awarded not just for their amazing athletic endeavours, but also for their effort, determination, work-ethic, and respect for all their teammates and coaches. So, huge congratulations to the very worthy recipients, Tess and Kirt. Thanks, everyone, and wishing you to have a well-earned, restful summer break! -Mr Nick Carter, Athletics Director

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Year 6 Transition to Secondary

In order to prepare the Year 6 students for their move to Secondary, teachers prepared a video of questions and answers, tips and information that was presented to pupils last week. Wishing all of our students great success in their move in August.

Dance Awards 2020

Congratulations to all of our gifted dancers who have won the end of year Dance Awards! Watch the video to find out!

Physical Education Department News

Summer Swimming Programme for Academy Students

HeadStart Swim Academy Summer Sessions are being organised for only 1,500 Baht per week. Please contact Head Swim Coach Zak [email protected] for more details or to register.


Mr Sadler and Mr Woods have been VERY impressed with the levels of participation from our ‘Key Stage 2 LIVE Online PE lessons. All of the pupils have consistently put in 100% effort and have been a pleasure to teach PE online. We are most certainly looking forward to seeing everyone back in school soon. Enjoy your summer break!

House News

Congratulations to the Yellow Cheetahs who are this year’s House Winners. The scores have always been close and has made for an exciting year of competition. Here are the final points:

💙 4th - Blue Tigers - 4,197 💚 3rd - Green Dragons - 4,332 ❤️ 2nd - Red Phoenixes - 4,342 💛 1st - Yellow Cheetahs - 4,401

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Congratulations Chef and Food Service Team

Chef and his team are proud to have achieved the highest rating of kitchen sanitation by the sub-district municipality and are happy to report that the school is ‘foam free’, a government initiative to encourage schools, restaurants and businesses to be more ecological.

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