Headteacher’s Newsletter 17th October 2019

Good Afternoon VES Parents

This week has been a week of triumphs for some of our community members. 

We had the pleasure of presenting the U14s Girls Basketball Team in Assembly, worthy runners up in the Sharjah Education Sports Council Championship. Congratulations to Ms Selwan and all the team. They got to wear their kit and medals for the full day so they could soak up the congratulations and admiration form the rest of the school – well deserved.

Also this week, in the same assembly in fact, our impressive new head Boy, Saud, and Head Girl, Saron, introduced themselves to the whole school. It was really great to see them conquer their nerves and speak so eloquently and in a heartfelt way to their fellow students. They were looking for the confidence of the students, and clearly growing their own confidence, in equal measure. 

More responsibility has been shown by the Secondary students in the last couple of weeks. The litter situation was really poor after lunchtime break. We explored ways to address this. In the end we explained to the students our core values around respect and community and they have responded in kind. To recognize this we have also invested in lots more benches so they can sit in a more civilized way at lunchtime. It is the way we like to confront situations like this. In most cases I firmly believe that young people are capable of making the right decision when they are helped to understand the consequences of actions. It is the type of Positive Discipline approach that Mr Keyes is working hard to promote across the school through his Pastoral Team and Student Leadership initiatives.

To continue the environmental awareness theme, this week the EcoSchools Club did some shocking research. Thanks also to Shirin, our Sustainability Prefect, and Abdul – one of his team, who made it into a great form period resource for the whole school. The EcoSchools club found almost 100 single use plastic bottles discarded in classroom waste bins. Equally shocking were the copious amounts of water that was salvaged from the bottles too – litres of it. I am really proud of the way the students are addressing the important environmental issues. We are only at the start of our “war” against single use plastic and this type of awareness is a great start. The students watched this powerful National Geographic video to highlight the horrors and I urge you all to watch too. We want our parents involved and engaged, supporting the students too. To that end I invite all parents to follow our Facebook Page and post pictures of them using reusable shopping bags to show we are saying “No” to single use plastic.

Well done too to the students who are burning the midnight oil to complete the reading needed for the Readers Cup competition. The Junior readers are from grades 5 and 6 and the Seniors form grades 11 and 12 . It is a big commitment to reading and I know they will be ready for the first round on 29th October. Also on that day we will be, again, crossing our fingers for another of our amazing sports teams as the Netball Team head for glory in the Sharjah finals.

The VPA will be in school for their inaugural meeting on Sunday morning. We will be outlining our principles and how we will operate moving forward for the benefit of the school. Initially there will be moves to link representatives up to the relevant staff so they can get acquainted and share the thoughts and ideas for their areas.

In school it has continued to be busy with classroom observations. Apologies if Mr Keyes, Ms Pozza, Ms Weroud and myself have been hard to catch during the day but we have been prioritising getting into classes, along with Heads of Department and Years, to check out the classroom experience for our students. From this we have really focused plans for staff development to ensure we continuously improve our professional practice. It has been great to talk to the students in class, analyse their work and also feedback to staff.

Finally, to help further improve communication between home and school, today we will be publishing, on Breeze, the homework timetables for Years 7 to 11. These show what days certain homework will be set so students and parents can check up on progress. We will also be publishing on breeze all of the schemes of work for the subjects so you can see the progression through the curriculum, plan revision of topics past, and support with enrichment, discussion and homework support. Once again thanks for all of the support we receive on a daily and weekly basis.

Have a lovely, restful, weekend.
Keith Sykes