FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 92
Prep School Hari Raya celebrations this time last year
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope that everyone remains well in this challenging period.
This half-term is drawing to a close and it is a very strange sensation. Usually, in all schools, the summer half-term break ushers in a short respite from the hurly-burly of public examinations and all that they entail. In fact, this is normally a universal feeling for all schools that follow UK procedures, as we aim to comply with the directives of the examination boards on these timings. However, in these complex Covid-19 related times, there has been no frenetic checking of Year 11 & Year 13 examination timetables, no last minute cramming of subject specifications and, alas, no opportunities to reassure our brilliant pupils that all will be okay and that their undoubted diligence will be fully rewarded.
I miss all these aspects of school life, and routine, and feel rather lost without them. My biggest regret remains for the examination pupils though, as Coronavirus/Covid-19 has removed their opportunity to demonstrate all their academic progress and shine in the actual examinations. This is really a great disappointment for our pupils, and globally too. That said, we are very confident in our compliance with the new examination grading regulations and we would certainly reassure pupils on that important aspect.
It has been a most curious half-term for all our students of course, from the youngest Prep School pupils to the oldest in Year 13. Our 50 acre campus has seemed empty and bereft without all of our pupils on-site, and we are very much anticipating their welcome return. The pastoral team are working on the required SoPs, for the arrival of day and boarding pupils, and we hope to be able to action these at some stage in the weeks after half-term. As always, of course, the health and safety of the College community remains of paramount importance, and we will certainly seek to keep all parents updated on further developments.
I would like to conclude by thanking everyone for their collective endeavours this term, with our teachers admirably rising to the challenges and successfully producing quality initiatives in teaching & learning. My biggest commendation is reserved for the pupils and parents however, who have navigated these choppy online waters with such grace and enthusiasm. The pupils have clearly delighted in seeing their peers online and, as a parent myself, it has been wonderful to behold the joy that this can occasion in young students. Whilst never being further apart, perhaps one offshoot of Covid-19 is ironically it has actually brought us together in other ways.
I wish you all a most pleasant half-term break and, of course, Selamat Hari Raya!
Very best wishes,
Looking after the Pastoral Needs of our Pupils
In the Headmaster’s assembly on Monday May 18th Dr Tod highlighted the importance of resilience and independence. Online lessons have become the new norm all over the world and it has been impressive to see how our pupils have adapted to them during these turbulent times. There is renewed hope that in Malaysia, at least, the prospect of the government lifting the CMCO is not too far away….hip, hip, hooray!
We must be mindful that life is full of challenges that can be overcome and that the circumstances of a person’s life can improve. Building resilience is critical in order to meet and overcome adversity so as to maintain one’s well-being; it pulls together attributes such as persistence, grit, initiative and determination.
Our teachers (and parents) build your children’s resilience by gently pushing them to the edge of their intellectual, emotional, social and physical comfort zones. When adults support and encourage children as they take risks, face obstacles, and grow from failure, they learn how to bounce back from life’s ups and downs.
The ancient stoics knew a thing or two about resilience. There is an excellent five minute TED talk about the philosophy of stoicism which I think is invaluable given the challenges we have endured in recent months – I hope you enjoy it (click here).
In the Senior School our PSHE programme has focused on aspects of developing resilience and independence. In Key Stage 3, tutor groups have been working on an extended project aptly entitled ‘Desert Island Living’. In Key Stage 4, tutor groups have been focusing upon financial literacy. Whereas in the Sixth Form, tutor groups have been exploring strategies to best cope with stress, as well as leadership skills (in Year 12) and preparing for university (Year 13). Our dedicated team of housemasters and housemistresses hold assemblies online and regularly touch base with your children. Likewise, it is impressive to see the vast array of co-curricular activities that is being accomplished thanks to the hard work and creativity of Miss Archibald.
There are numerous memorable quotations that can help us over life’s hurdles. They allow us to engage with each other in conversation about the big and small challenges we overcome and, gradually, come to understand ourselves and others better. We must have faith in our internal strengths and recognise that bravery, determination, flexibility, and grit are part of resilience and can really enrich our lives. Winston Churchill once said, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’
Deputy Head (Pastoral)
CARR HOUSE UPDATE
The current global conditions have meant for a very unusual start to Term 3. I was not sure how well our younger students would adapt to the brave new world of home learning; I need not have worried. Engagement has been high and contributions impressive. Whether it is academics, P.E., instrumental lessons or CCAs we keep moving forward in this new normal. The Carr boys certainly deserve commendation for their resilience during these difficult times.
As well as celebrating success, mental health and wellbeing have been the focus of our assemblies so far this term. We have been learning about the 5 ways to wellbeing and how we can apply these to our current situation to promote higher levels of mental health.
5 Ways to Wellbeing
Staying connected is paramount and I have been in daily contact with the Carr boys through the marvels of modern technology. It has been great to see the students staying connected as a community in online puzzles and games. Likewise, the Carr House tutors have been working hard to maintain regular contact with their tutees. Although the College may be physically closed our networks of support remain accessible at all times.
Another key ‘way to wellbeing’ is to learn new skills. The lockdown situation does perhaps give us more time to learn something new. Some of the Carr boys have been trying their hand at cooking hamburgers and udon soup. Developing ourselves in new ways is definitely one positive to come out of our unusual times.
This is just a snapshot of the ways we have been supporting the boys to face and overcome these challenging times. We are so lucky to live in a time where technology allows us to keep some form of normality. Of course, nothing could replace the importance of face to face interactions and relationships and I look forward to the day when we can welcome our Carr boys back ‘home’.
CRAWFURD HOUSE UPDATE
Despite the obvious uniqueness of this half term, it seems to have flashed before our eyes yet also been hectic, just like any other half term.
Pastoral support for Crawfurd girls has very much continued, despite the physical distance. Tutors are meeting with their tutor groups each week to check in on their wellbeing and deliver PSHE sessions on content including resilience and coping with stress which seem particularly pertinent and important in the current situation. Over the final two weeks of term, each Crawfurd girl has had the opportunity for a 1 on 1 online meeting with either myself or their Tutor to look at their progress with online learning, their engagement with CCA activities and their general wellbeing. This then forms the basis for meaningful target setting for the final half term of the academic year and beyond.
We are also working hard at maintaining our sense of connection as a ‘family’ within Crawfurd. Weekly assemblies have seen us introducing our pets to each other, playing Connect Four online, organising family group events and, by the time you read this, I will hopefully have succeeded in surprising the girls with some familiar faces as ex-Crawfurd students have been invited to join our online assembly. I am very much looking forward to catching up with these ladies and finding out more about their post-ECiM experience!
This month, I reached the ancient age of 37 and was beautifully surprised to wake up to an email sharing a folder of beautiful and thoughtful messages, and e-cards from the Crawfurd girls. Their thoughtfulness really exemplifies what incredible young ladies they are all rapidly becoming. Another fine example of this generosity of spirit is the thought and effort that is going into our ‘Secret Friend’ initiative. Miss Townsend, our Assistant Housemistress, has set up the logistics to allocate each girl an anonymous ‘friend’ of another Crawfurd girl who leaves regular pictures, messages and more on their allocated page to surprise them and remind them that they are being thought of and cared for by the Crawfurd and ECiM community.
Housemistressing without girls in the House is obviously not the same and I am missing the girls and their vibrancy immensely, but it remains a joy to still be able to have these interactions with them and offer support where they need it.
GRANVILLE HOUSE UPDATE
Well, this term has certainly been different, the corridors of Granville are quiet and there is no hustle and bustle in and out of the front door. The pool table, playstation, table tennis room all feel unloved; there are no cheers and shouts from competing boys and registration just isn’t the same with me sitting there on my own. Granville, the house staff and tutors are missing the presence of all the boys.
We do need to acknowledge and celebrate the success of our very own Drexel who has been named as Deputy Head of College next year. The boys have done this digitally and it has been on social media, but also needs recognition here. Well done, Drexel!
The House is quiet, but there is a buzz of activity online and the character of Granvillians is shining through. A few areas of good character and house values are being shown online including resilience, hard work and selflessness.
Resilience has been shown in the way the boys have taken to the changes forced upon them with positivity. They have adapted to the temporary new normal of online learning. It has its own set of challenges demands; and the way the boys have managed this clearly shows the resilience they have developed. This will be a period of our lives we will all look back on at a later date and reflect, it was tough, but our character and resilience brought us through. We are all managing in our different ways, with our different challenges, situations and locations.
Hard work is expected and the boys are always encouraged to try their best and to put in their best effort. This has been demonstrated with the quality of work being produced and also for the efforts put in by all, especially the Year 11s and 13s under the unprecedented cancellation of all external exams. I am receiving notification of merits every day demonstrating the hard work and efforts of the boys.
Selflessness has been key to allow a new online learning environment and community to develop and function effectively. Supporting others with developing the new skills to cope online whether with peers or their teachers. I have also had conversations with the boys of how they are supporting things with their families, keeping up with their work but doing additional chores and helping out where needed to support things at home as the impacts of Covid-19 stretch far further than just their learning.
Clear communication has been essential under the current circumstances and Google Hangouts, group chats, regular email contact, etc. have become second nature to everyone and have allowed for teaching and learning to continue everyday and the boys are all still working towards their qualifications whether this is at IGCSE or A-Level.
Tutors have continued with regular tutor group meetings to check in on all the students to see how they are coping, how the learning is going and if there is any feedback. They have also continued with the PSHE session on Saturday mornings. The Year 10s and Year 11s have focussed on managing finances, this will prove to be a vital skill especially with the example of the current situation where economic impacts are likely to continue for a while. The boys need to recognise and develop the skills needed to manage finances. The Year 12s have looked at ideas to bring new initiatives and ideas into the house next year when they become the leaders in the House. Finally, the Year 13s have been looking at ways to deal with stress and also preparation for University.
The house staff, myself, Mr Cory and Mr Azmil have been ensuring that the upkeep of Granville continues, this is now turning into one of the longest periods it has been unoccupied and many left in a rush on the 17th of March with the impending movement control order (unbelievably over 60 days ago). The registration room has been repainted and images from this year’s House Choral event now decorate the walls.
HOLMAN HOUSE UPDATE
As we approach the end of the first half of the Summer Term, it is appropriate to reflect back upon the achievements of these past few weeks. Congratulations to all of those pupils who have worked hard upon their studies and have achieved recognition in the form of merits or special mentions from their teachers. Whilst we are not in the classroom, learning is still taking place and it is important that we all take this opportunity to further our knowledge and understanding in preparation for examinations that will be taking place in nearly every subject after half-term.
It is nice to see so many of you engaging in the PSHE programme and I know that your tutors have been working hard to ensure that you are receiving a meaningful level of pastoral support and guidance. Remember that you can always email either your tutors or myself if you have any problems or need additional support and we will do our best to provide assistance.
Holman House itself has remained relatively quiet but the presence of a few pupils has seen us continue to provide a variety of activities (all socially distanced, of course!). These have ranged from sports such as badminton, movie and pizza nights, through to cookie making. Pastoral care remains at the heart of everything we do, and the boarders have enjoyed their occasional ice-cream treats, whilst adjusting to doing their own laundry in the College’s washing machines.
Hopefully we shall see the return of more pupils to the House as the end of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) approaches, and a warm welcome awaits. For now, stay safe and continue to follow the online learning provision offered by the College.
PROPERT HOUSE UPDATE
A constant theme in Propert has been stoicism. In particular, a focus on how one deals with the challenges that life periodically throws our way. Essentially, we aim to be ‘glass half full’ as opposed to ‘glass half empty’. One might suggest that the latest challenge from Covid-19 has allowed the boys to practice this way of looking at the world; this may be an understatement! We have compiled a list of those positives the boys can look to at this time.
1. They have a later start to the morning – experience in Propert would suggest this would be high on the list of perks. Unless they have gone to bed later and later and the ‘goal posts’ for a later start have moved to lunch time?
2. They do not have to register three times per day – for some reason they are never keen on sitting still and answering their name with one syllable. This is strange as average teenagers choose to do this with their free time anyway (it may be the presence of a mobile that tips the balance between desirable and not).
3. They have an excuse not to cut their hair. This only goes so far as for some a ‘fresh trim’ is more important than food.
4. They do not have to wear a tie, socks, or have their top button on a shirt fastened.
5. They can eat – all the time.
6. The internet is not switched off at night.
7. They have fewer chores – this very much depends on the household we suspect and one family duty every 7 weeks may now look like a holiday.
8. They realise their scruffy roommate is not actually that bad and would welcome his untidy nature back at the first opportunity.
9. In hindsight school is fun. A life without their peers is very much a less fulfilling place and they now want to come back.
10. They have realised that life in the virtual world is not as good as the real thing and devices will be sidelined to make room for first hand experiences so sorely lacking at this time.
11. They did not have to make Mr Pye a cake as he entered a new decade – though I did.
I sincerely hope the boys remember point 8, 9 and 10 when they do get to return. Mr Pye is also happy to eat cake, even if it was late, at any time!
ROSEBERY HOUSE UPDATE
We find ourselves entering into the final week before the half term holidays and I think it is safe to say the girls have mastered the art of online learning. They are showing up to online lessons, completing their work and submitting their very best effort to their teachers. All of this is helping to keep the girls driving forward and continuing to progress academically.
From a House perspective, I schedule Hangout sessions each week for Key Stage 3, 4 and 5. During these Hangouts we talk about how things are going with their school work, give each other ideas about how to pass the time when we get bored and we recommend books, movies and TV series to watch in our social time. The girls enjoy the light-hearted interaction and I have started to get regulars showing up each week which is lovely to see.
The Rosebery tutors have been excellent at arranging tutor sessions throughout the week with their tutees. During this time the girls feedback any issues they are having in subjects and catch up with their tutors. Tutors are also doing a great job at delivering PSHE online and the girls have produced some great work.
CCA has taken on a whole new look with challenges being set each week. The Rosebery girls have been amazing at submitting their videos and many of them have been given special mentions for excellent effort and great ideas. Well done girls, keep going, we are still able to collect House points even though we are not in school.
House assemblies also look a little different, we try and get as many as possible online on a Friday morning to hear notices and to check in on everyone as a group. I think we are due an online quiz soon to get the family groups competing for some House points; it will be interesting to see which Family group wins as it is very close between them all at present.
Lastly, Miss Townsend has been very kind in helping to set up the Secret Friend project. Every Rosebarian was issued a Secret Friend (a fellow Rosebarian) to send sweet, motivating and inspirational messages to each day to put a smile on their face and make them feel good about themselves. Some of the messages are so cute and some girls have been so creative about the way they have designed the page for their secret friend. Well done girls and keep up the great work.
I wish you all a wonderful, peaceful break and, hopefully, we get some welcome news about when I can get all the Rosebery girls back under my roof again. Until then, take care and stay safe.
Modern Foreign Languages
Online learning in the MFL department has been very vibrant and a great platform for students to expand on the activities they enjoyed in Term 2. It has allowed students and teachers to further develop technologies and software that were already in place in the traditional lesson format.
Pupils have benefited greatly from interactive and engaging lessons where they focused on four primary skills: speaking, reading, writing and listening. Students also benefited from the one-to-one sessions with our native speaker teachers as an opportunity to improve their fluency, speech and intonation in real conversation settings. We have used online presentations in the target language to improve students’ confidence in front of an audience. They also had lots of fun with tongue twister races and mini online role-plays.
Our team of linguists has been impressed by the high quality of work produced by students across all age ranges. Our students enjoy learning languages and discovering the world and cultures through education and a range of activities available to them.
In Bahasa Malaysia, students have had the opportunity to discover and learn beautiful poems called ‘Pantun’. It was an excellent opportunity for them to find out more about the literature and culture of Malaysia. Next year, the international Malay GCSE will include a speaking section for which we will encourage students to work on their fluency, intonation and confidence, as well as enthusiasm in the language.
At Epsom College in Malaysia, we prepare students to achieve the highest grades but also encourage fun games and active participation. French and Spanish senior school students have enjoyed opportunities to take part in many exciting competitions this year, including cheese tasting, Duolingo challenges and virtual tours of Paris with the lucky ones winning waffles, crepes and exclusive vouchers.
In the Prep School, students have been working very hard learning the basics of French and Spanish, such as recently the days of the week in KS1. Students are working online with their teachers on a range of projects linked to their routine during the movement control order (MCO). Online activities have been of great support to their progress in grammar and building longer cohesive sentences.
Prep students have also been introduced to European art and became familiar with the famous self-portraits of the renowned Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, as well a famous cartoon character from Belgium named Tintin.
Online lessons have been an excellent opportunity for students to use software and online resources made available by Epsom College in Malaysia including Linguascope, a popular language website which our students access using a dedicated school login.
Modern Foreign Languages Coordinator
Online Project-Based Learning in the Prep School
Collaboration, communication and choice form a major part of project-based learning (PBL) lessons conducted in the classroom. Prep School teachers have endeavoured to replicate the process when conducting learning online.
When introducing PBL earlier this academic year, one of the initial areas for development was the children’s ability to conduct effective research independently. Groups needed to identify and prioritise the information that was required in order for them to produce a product that would answer the driving question. So, teachers took the time to scaffold and model the research process. This reaped rewards in the classroom PBL lessons and has led to children being able to independently research during this period of online learning.
Students continue to have the voice and choice over how they will present their product. For example, children in Year 4 chose to introduce ancient Greece in a range of media including Google slides, posters and written explanations.
The teacher’s role is to facilitate children’s learning, so that they can work as independently as possible. Seesaw provides an ideal platform for this to still occur, whereby the teacher can ‘pop in’ to children’s drafts and provide feedback.
It has been great to see that children have maintained their enthusiasm for the subject.
Head of Prep School
Superbeings & Jedis ‘HIIT’ the online gym!
The PE department continues to do their best to keep all prep and senior pupils active, fit and healthy during these unprecedented times…as well as having fun!
In the Prep School, pupils have been provided with a variety of exercises and fun activities to complete including ‘Supergirl’ and ‘Jedi’ workouts for KS1!
Pupils have also been tasked with mastering two ‘PE Challenges’ each week. These challenges are based on the core fundamental movement skills vital for physical education and areas we would be focussing on in lessons at College. Skills such as static and dynamic balance, under arm throwing, hand and foot-eye coordination, speed, agility and quickness are all examples of these fundamental movements. Each challenge consists of three levels of differing difficulty for pupils to attempt. Pupils then upload their attempts to Seesaw for PE staff to monitor and offer feedback.
In the Senior School, KS3 pupils have been focussing on different types of training such as high intensity interval training (HIIT) and circuit training. Pupils learnt how to create their own circuit and track their heart rates to ensure they are working with enough intensity.
KS3 have also been learning about health and nutrition during this time as they work through their research project linked to these areas. The main focus of this project is what constitutes a healthy diet and what fitness components specific performers possess and rely on compared to others. These are both part of the CIE IGCSE Physical Education syllabus and great preparation for any pupils thinking about taking the subject during Years 10 and 11. After half term, pupils will begin to focus on different types of diet and how these will vary depending on the activity/sport.
Across the Senior School, pupils have been provided with numerous types of exercises to attempt (from yoga, to pilates, to upper-body HIIT workouts) in order to complete at least 100 minutes of good quality exercise each week. Pupils are then tasked with tracking this activity on a spreadsheet so staff can monitor their level of exercise and activity whilst away from the College.
It is so important to continue to exercise and remain active, as well as eating well, drinking plenty of water and getting sufficient sleep during this time. This is equally as important for mental health as well as physical health and it has been fantastic to see our pupils remaining so active and focused.
Director of Sport
Virtual School Trip Project
One of the unexpected outcomes of the MCO has been that teachers had to develop quickly their technical skills for online learning. We are proud of the collaborative approach that staff have taken for this. Behind the scenes of the online lessons and activities being offered to students, there has been an immense amount of supportive guidance, sharing of ideas and innovative thinking as we worked rapidly to develop a high quality experience of online learning. One example of this collaboration is our virtual online school trip. This is a project that staff have worked on through online documents and online meetings. The aim is to create a treat for students and parents whilst developing technical skills which can then be deployed in our teaching and learning resources. These photos offer a sneak peak of what this entails. We are aiming to share the finalised virtual trip for the start of half term, so watch this space!
Learning Technologies Officer