Headteacher’s Newsletter 14th Nov 2019

Good Afternoon VES Parent

It has been another busy and successful week here at VES. Our major sports successes have come in the pool with Amir Saad in Year 7 and Yousef Yafea in Year 8 following in the footsteps of the Girls in Athletics last week in being chosen to represent Sharjah in upcoming intrnational competitions. Well done also to the Girls Swim Team who were also victorious and crowned Sharjah Champions in the school olympics. They will also go forward for special coaching and training ahead of international competition. A special mention for Myriam Waleed in 7S who broke the 25m record with an incredible 17.84 seconds. She told me she could have gone faster but she had to take a breath… I told her I felt that was a very good idea! Many thanks to all participants and Ms Hend for accompanying the swim-mers.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking my break with the School Council representatives form grades 4, 5 and 6. In the coming weeks I will do this with all years. It is nice to be able to congratulate them on being voted into their positions and also to remind them of their responsibilities. We ate together and had a chance to discuss a range of topics. It is clear the student council have a lot of questions, ideas and thoughts on school life and their energy and enthusiasm is really infectious. 

Unfortunatley, at the moment, some less palatable things are infectious in school and we have had some staff and students off with illness. Please can you ensure that students who are visibly ill are not sent into school as it makes it difficult to control the spread of illness. Please also remind the stu-dents, as I did this morning, that handwashing and cleansing and covering one’s mouth when sneezing or coughing is really important. Messages on hygiene will be prevalent next week, as Tuesday is World Toilet Day. This may seem a very strange inception, but behind it is a serious message – over 4bn people worldwide do not have adequate sanitation. The aim will be to alert students as to how lucky they are to even have access to the most basic of facilities and lead them to haveing a new ap-preciation and respect for their environment. Mr Keyes has crunched the numbers and I am also de-lighted to say that school attendance is currently running at 95.9%. We have a target of 95% or higher and so we are please that all of our efforts; staff, students, and parents are meaning that we are giving the students the best possible chance to learn and develop. We’d like ot build on this so staying healthy is a key component.

Also next week, November the 20th is World Children’s Day. Globally the objective is to raise awaren-ess and celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The develop-ment of our Student Council this year and the leadership opportunities given, and taken, by our pre-fects show that at VES we believe children should be seen AND heard. All over the world there are in-spiring examples of how children are not just demanding their rights – but also showing they are ready to accept responsibility, check out this from the UN: UN Video on World Children’s day. Taking responsibility, along with respect and community, has been a key message for the students all year. Even the very youngest are being encouraged to take responsibility for various aspects of themselves and their schooling. World Children’s day is supposed to be celebrated by the wearing of the colour blue – the traditional colour of UNICEF, so our students are well placed! The day is placed within anti-bullying week and our 6th Form students will be be leading an assembly on this theme for the whole school. Of course, the right to safety is a key feature of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, so to combine the 2 events on Thursday 20th November all students will be invited to join the millions worldwide who will wear odd socks for the day to raise awareness of anti-bullying initiatives and stra-tegies. As a connoisseur of ‚creative“ socks myself, I will give a prize for the best pair of odd socks I come across!

In school, a team from the Ministry of Education have been here for 2 days to run a fine tooth comb and verify all of our procedures. This has been a great exercise for us as we always welcome scrutiny and any pointers that can come from that. We are always quite clear that compliance with such regula-tions is not our aim, instead it is the base on which we look to develop over and above. One way we do that is in the way we invest in our teachers and their development. Teaching, like any other profes-sion, is a journey and we all develop and grow each day. It is partly why it can be such a rewarding and challenging profession in equal measure. This week we had a whole staff workshop looking at our classroom practice. The structures we have put in place this year to hopefully guide and support our teachers to develop and grow as professionals were commended by the Ministry as examples of best practice and we hope to continue to improve them still further.

It has been a long term and exams are coming up on the horizon for many students. In addition to my regular round of thanks to our supportive parents, I would once again like to put on record my thanks to the teachers and support staff who work so hard on a daily basis to ensure that the students get a great education, make excellent progress, and ultimately become more successful than they ever thought they could be. That is why we are all here.

Have a lovely, restful, weekend.

Keith Sykes