Headteacher’s Newsletter 28th Nov 2019

Good Afternoon VES Parents

This week has culminated in our National Day celebrations and Martyr’s Day commemorations, here in school. It has been so great to see so many of our students showing the respect as part of our commemorations, and then really celebrating the gift given by those who gave, as Lincoln would say the “last full measure of devotion“. 

The school has looked amazing with all of its decorations, the the students have really risen to the occasion with their National Dress and flag coloured clothing! I am glad I haven’t been wearing my usual trousers and belt with all of the food coming my way – with a a special mention to Talha and Yousuf in 6V for the amazing chicken biryani and chickpea side! The assembly was great with music, dance, poetry and awards – including the awarding of prefect ties for this year. Well done, thank you and congratulations to all who took part.

It is also a timely break in the middle of the exams, with an extended weekend ahead that offers a chance to recharge batteries and spend some time preparing for the rest of the assessments. Looking further ahead to the Year 11 and upwards exams in January, today we will be writing to parents to explan the importance of these exams in terms of accessing sixth form courses. We wil also be talking about exam preparation and planning too. It has become clear this week that there is an over-reliance by many students on revision notes and activities given to them by teachers. Although this may appear to be a kindness from the teacher, it is not helping our youngsters develop the resilience and skills they need as autonomous students. In the new year, we will be hosting a series of events to explain more to parents about the basis and nature of the English education system – it’s rational and ethos, which many parents can find challenging and deifferent to their own educational memories. At this time we will also be trying to start the process of providing better information for our Grade 6 parents as we look towards trying to make the transition to Secondary School as smooth as possible for us all.

This week it was a great honour and privilege for us to take the amazing artwork supervised by Ms Yoshita to the Year of Tolerance event at Festival City. The school has received a great certificate in recognition of their amazing contribution and we all thanked the students responsible today with their individual cerificates. The artwork, made from VES students’ handprints on canvas, has been recreated again in school on the stage in the main hall. The original version will stay at Festival City next to the world record breaking flower carpet.

We have also enjoyed more sporting success this week in the pool. The Girls’ swim teams form U10/12 and 14 finished in a combined position of 3rd in the Sharjah Championship. Well done to all of the girls, and thanks to the supporting parents who were all treated to a gift courtesy of Noor’s Mum! Well deserved. The U14s boys swim team came back as Champions from the Sharjah Championships to, nice to see the boys getting in on the sporting success too. Next Wednesday in assembly we will be handing out some medals and getting all of our successful athletes up on stage so we can show our appreciation as a school.

Penultimately, on a note of disappointment, I still feel compelled to remind parents of the correct channels for communication with school. We have a fantastic VPA that brings lots of your questions and suggestions to us and we are happy to work closely in consultation. I have endeavoured, since my arrival, to try and foster a close working relationships with parents – and I know many appreciate the efforts to try and keep everyone up to date and informed about what is going on in school; from this weekly letter, to our revamped website and our increased use of social media. It’s disappointing therefore when, this week for example, a personal reply I sent to a parent who asked a question via email was screenshot and placed on a WhatsApp group. I would urge all parents to enjoy the open communication we try and foster, whilst trying to remain respectful and understanding that such rights bring with them certain responsibility. When encouraging our young people to develop a polite and respectful approach it is important that we model the behaviour would like to see. I am always happy to accommodate parents and prefer to speak face to face where possible.

More positively, we now get the chance to enjoy a long weekend to enjoy the National Day Holiday, with all students returning to school on Wednesday 4th December. A look ahead to the final week shows that December 12th will be International Day at VES. Students will be encouraged to take part in the parade for their chosen country, wear traditional costumes and bring in some decorations and food for their stall. I know that parents may need to plan ahead, especially for us at home – it’s the shopping, so I know you appreciate the notice!

Have a lovely, restful, weekend.

Keith Sykes