Headteacher’s Newsletter 10th October 2019

Good Afternoon VES Parents

I write to you now after just leaving the 6th Form assembly to announce the prefects. I am struck by the quality of the individuals involved. I was even more heartened to see how they genuinely congratulated each other. They really are a great group and I have urged them to keep this spirit going through the year ahead. I know they will carry the responsibility of the role well. One of their roles is to have some stewardship over Student Well Being and there will be some great information coming to some of the older students on how to foster their general health – both mental and physical. A worthy starting point I am sure we can all agree. Of course, an important role such as prefect, if done well, can be impressive on University applications. Sixth Form students are sometimes surprised, however, to find decent Universities often ask for school reports, including attendance and punctuality, going back as early as year 8 or 9… something for even our younger students to reflect on. Please can I take this timely opportunity to remind any students who happen to arrive late to school must sign in with the school nurse – it is vital we can track the presence of all students with full accuracy. 

Today was also career day for the Early Years and Foundation Students. The youngsters looked amazing in their costumes, as did the teachers! I even got to wear an engineer’s hat when I visited one classroom, which still remains a firm highlight of the week!

This week has also seen the start of the extra-curricular activities and it has been great to see so many students involved. I am sure you have seen on our social media the amazing success of the girls Basketball team who have made the final and we are all hoping they can bring home the trophy! Next week we will also be seeing the senior students take part in the Sharjah Spelling Bee and the raft of Sports competitions also organised by the Education Authority.

In school this week we have been having an intense period of lesson observations for all classes and teachers. Although Mr. Keyes, myself, Ms. Pozza and Ms. Weroud tour the school daily – we can really get into the detail of classes with full observations alongside Heads of Year and Department. The findings will feed into our improvement planning and training for the year as part of our constant drive for improvement.

This week it has continued to be a pleasure to meet more parents as part of our regular coffee mornings. As I have stated many times, it is essential to have a close working relationship together and communication is key. With that in mind, next week all parents will have access to the homework timetables and programme of study for all classes and year groups. I ask that with this, parents work with staff to support the delivery of the curriculum. Parents, in all good intention, can often encourage students to read a few chapters ahead, try a different Mathematics method or try some exercises from the next chapter. This can, at times, undermine the delivery in school. Teachers plan for students to have reached a certain point, the exam boards prescribe certain methods and as much as we value all help, we rely on parents to show good judgement. To also help with forward planning I have attached some key dates at the bottom of this letter.

Finally I would like to thank and congratulate the parents who will make up our Victoria Parent Association. This will be the main body of consultation between the School Leadership and the Parents of the school. They will champion our successes, and ask us the difficult questions at the same time, and I am looking forward to our collaboration. The first meeting will be on October 20th and we will be feeding back.

I’d like to leave the last word to for all of the teaching, support and administrative staff of the school. Every day they do what they can to keep the students safe and cared for. As a VES parent myself, I know you will join me in thanking them for this. It is the most important thing they do for all of us. Thank you.

Have a lovely, restful, weekend.

Keith Sykes