“Education exposes young people to a broader world…”

“Education exposes young people to a broader world, a world full of opportunity and hope.”

Christine Gregoire

As is usually the case the week before half term has been a busy one. We have had trips out for a number of year groups and despite the rain we’ve seen plenty of smiles and enjoyment. Today has been particularly hectic with the excitement of non-uniform day in the Junior School and the always welcome organisation of a cake sale in the Senior School. Parent meetings have started, and it is good to be able to report on the progress that has been made over this half term for much has been achieved. I also had a first which was a visit to the Education Minister’s Office to talk about international education in Paris and we had a school inspection. All in all a week in which we’ve had little time to stand still.

One of our great strengths as a school is that we are a diverse international community. Inspection means that we have to generate a wide range of documents explaining who we are what we do for those who come to look at us. In writing these documents I reflected upon what can be learned from simply bringing together such a wide range of individuals and their experiences. Schools tend to be very good at promoting learning by “doing for or to”, more difficult to discern or measure is what is gained by simply being together, through what could be called passive learning. As I look at the community, I see an enormous amount of personal growth and development in our young people that comes from having the opportunity to be with peers who hail from different countries and cultures. I’m also aware that these relationships last well beyond school with pupils maintaining friendships long beyond their last day in school. Having the opportunity to be part of an international community (we have approximately 50 nationalities represented this year) broadens perspectives and one hopes minds, by simply being with people whose experiences are different means that new perspectives are gained, and barriers broken down. It is part of our hidden curriculum, the learning that goes on outside of lessons and in informal school spaces.

The power of the community to develop and educate was recognised by our inspectors. Their report on us will be published in about a month and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who contributed to the inspection process by completing the online questionnaire, the results of which led to the inspectors developing lines of questioning about what we do as a school. We found the process useful and have learned as a consequence of it. Similar notice of our community of many views was made by the Education Ministry and we look forward to contributing to the debate around development of education in this our host country in the future.

The coming break is well timed, and I hope that everyone has the opportunity to rest and prepare for the second half of this term. The next half will be similarly hectic, and it is important that our young people are ready to take advantage of both learning here and being here. Have a good half term holiday.

Nicholas Hammond