Message from the Principal, Dave Horan
This week I would like to share a number of strategic initiatives we are planning for next year. I trust this will give you some insight of where we are heading while building on what we already do well.
Significant to next week is the visit of the Council for International Schools (CIS) representative who is spending Wednesday and Thursday with us. We are in the process of working to achieve Membership and through the process to evaluate the value of full Accreditation as a potential next step. CIS is the gold standard worldwide and allows us to benchmark various aspects of the school against international and proven benchmarks - these include: our curriculum, pastoral care, student well-being, finances, operations, human resources, admissions, campus etc. If you would like to read more about CIS please go to: www.cois.org
In the Secondary School we are continuing to develop the pathway vision whereby we are aiming to be as flexible as possible in providing options for our students. Earlier this year I wrote about the evolution of our IB programme to a fully-fledged Sixth Form with BTEC options. Our Accelerated Science pathway in Year 10 &11 has been a success and we are looking to grow this pathway along with exciting developments relating to robotics and to our waterfront property on Hamilton Harbour including a potential wet classroom.
We are also pleased to announce the launch of a high performance sport option for students starting in September with swimming being our first focus. This has been designed for students from Year 10-13 however next year will also include a few in Year 9. We see this as an area of growth and our hope is that once the swim programme is a success we look to other sports. The philosophy here is to provide a high performance sports environment as an alternate to students who might consider going to boarding schools abroad and to get this right we are planning to provide the coaching, infrastructure and appropriate options for overseas competition.
In the Primary School in mathematics across all Year groups we are moving to an approach based on 'mastery learning theory'. Here we will be using the Singapore model in our teaching with three steps highlighted in this approach - concrete, pictorial, and abstract. This approach has been shown to create a much deeper understanding of mathematical patterns and concepts and helps students to build skills in the areas of visualization and problem solving. All staff have undergone training with Adam Unwin-Jones (a trainer in mathematics from the UK) and 3 key staff members went to a 3 day training event in the UK entitled 'Teaching Maths for Mastery – In Depth'. A number of teachers have been using aspects of this approach this year and are very positive about the impact they are seeing. This approach is based on findings of Jean, Piaget, Jerome Bruner and Richard Skemp if you want to do your own research. We are very excited about this development and believe it will help us to raise standards even more in the area of mathematics at the school.
Our final exciting area of development is the use of the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) across Reception – Year 4 (in Year 5 and Year 6 there is more specialist subject teaching and we look to articulate subject content with the Secondary curriculum using some specific aspects of the IPC approach). This curriculum allows us to create cross curricular links and focuses on themes for the teaching of Humanities and Sciences in particular – but can also cross over to other subject areas (such as Art and English). We have been working with this curriculum this year and will continue to integrate it into our Warwick Academy Curriculum over the next year. Then in September 2018 we will be welcoming expert trainers over to see what we are doing and work with us to fine tune our approach. You can read more about the IPC at: www.greatlearning.com/ipc