BHS Developmental Plans
Friday, 30 July 2021
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By David Gray (Principal)
This year has been a year spent online but it has not been a year during which many of the functions of a school, apart from teaching and learning, did not take place. One of those functions has been to be constantly looking at how we can improve and develop the School’s performance, year by year, in a planned and orderly way.
The school and each Section of the school addressed a range of items from their Development Plans and made recommendations to the Senior Leadership Team which were then amended or approved and will be implemented during the year 2021-2022.
What follows below is a summary of those recommendations which I hope will give you an idea of some of the changes or improvements which you can expect to see in the year or two which lie ahead.
Whole School Development Plan 2020/2021
1> A system has been developed for regular and effective recording and reporting to Parents and to students, through written reports and through meetings with parents. Meetings have been spread throughout the year according to Grade groups while report cards will in future feature letters rather than numbers in most grades and focus on the report in each subject written by the teacher. In addition letters or numbers on the report card will match the grades used in any particular programme (For example IGCSE is graded A* – G and so those grades will be used for that particular programme on the report card).
2> A working party met throughout the year to consider how to use, resource and integrate the School’s libraries more effectively.
It was agreed that the Upper Elementary Library would be moved to a more central area of the school, that all three libraries should be refurbished, that the libraries would feature more prominently on the school’s website, that an Infants’ Section Library would be established, that a coherent reading policy across the three libraries would be created, that a list of agreed events would be celebrated by all three libraries during the school year, that departmental digital libraries, with the English Department as pilot, would be established, and that the Library Committee would continue to meet to ensure that the approved recommendations were implemented in 2021/2022 and in 2022/2023.
3> The expansion of extra curricular activities at Brummana High School was explored. It was decided and agreed that from April 2022 an afternoon session in the Lower and Upper Primary Sections and within school curriculum time would be set up on a daily basis to ensure that all children from grades 1-6 take part in a range of extra curricular activities, sporting, cultural, artistic and those associated with community service. This will mean effectively that all children in the Lower and Upper Primary Sections will be involved in future in extra curricular activity every day of the week.
1> A working party explored the possibility of twinning with a foreign school and a local school. As a result of their work, links have been established with Sidcot School, a Quaker school in the south of England. Projects between the two schools and our staff are planned and it is hoped that an exchange of students, as had been envisaged before the lockdown, will take place in due course. The aim is also to establish a connection with a local school by December 2021.
2> A committee met to consider how we could benefit from the developments in online learning and from the training which staff and students had received over the past year and a half. They agreed that the school needed to secure interactive, virtual, educational resources for practical course components, that a school Help Desk should be set up for the more efficient management of technical issues, that ‘Moodle’ would be assigned as the only e-learning management system, emails as the only means of communication between staff and students, and that further training should be provided to staff on the more advanced features of Moodle. Other recommendations referred largely to the accreditation of an online High School, an idea which we have been exploring over the past year and which could lead to Brummana High School establishing itself as an online entity providing programmes and courses in parallel with the physical school. You will hear more of this once the Governing Body has studied the proposals in detail.
1> A working party looked extensively at developing a homework plan for the Intermediate students (Grades7-9) supported by a clear and specific homework philosophy. They agreed to create an online agenda to ensure that homework is set equably, fairly and not excessively. They also recommended that a time frame and an understanding of the amount of homework to be set should be determined for each subject and that homework should be set moderately for the purposes of reinforcement or extension of work carried out in class but not to substitute for work which needed to be carried out in a classroom situation. The group of teachers involved, who produced a voluminous document, analysing the purposes and effects of homework, will be looking at the effective implementation of their recommendations in the year ahead.
1> A group which included teaching staff, a nutritionist , the Head of Catering and the Bursar and which was led by the Head of Section looked at the possibility of providing hot meals on a daily basis for children in the Lower Primary (Grades 1-3). This project will go ahead from September with surveys of parents, and a trial ‘dry run’ in January 2022, with the intention of starting hot meals on a regular basis from April 2022. Children, it is proposed, will receive a healthy, tasty meal each day. The Lower Primary Section is currently the only Section for which a daily hot meal is not provided.
2> A committee examined the idea of establishing a Prefect System for the Upper Primary Section and it has been approved that children in Grades 4, 5 and 6 will be able to apply to become prefects and have daily responsibilities and duties in their own year group for a term, after which a new group of children will have the chance to apply. The idea is to establish a sense of responsibility amongst the children for themselves, for each other and for their school. The committee spent a great deal of time on the purposes of the role, its associated responsibilities and the most transparent and objective way of appointing children to the role. A Prefect Handbook will be produced to guide the children and staff.
1> A group convened to consider the development of social and emotional learning of children and to integrate the work of the PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) course. They targeted children’s well being and discussed each step of the PSHE Jigsaw curriculum to be implemented in 2021-2022. The PSHE Jigsaw curriculum consists of six themes for each grade with each theme comprising six lessons represented as pieces which when completed, form a pictorial and resolved jigsaw puzzle. Each piece of the puzzle contains a topic which is discussed following activities which are designed to be enjoyable for the children. The Jigsaw curriculum will be reviewed and evaluated at the end of each term.
2> The Curriculum Committee met on many occasions to restructure the curriculum by dividing it into thematic units which would address all the disciplines taught.
The themes reflect the students’ needs in each of KG1, KG2 and KG3 and form a model of interdisciplinary education by which all subjects are taught through common themes which reflect young children’s growing awareness and developmental needs. Some themes are common to all 3 Grades, such as the “seasons” but are approached differently according to the age of the children. Others differ. So in KG1 one of the themes is “feelings and our five senses”, in KG2 “expressing my emotions” in KG3 “friends together”.
The committee has created a completely coherent curriculum which also incorporates the Jigsaw PSHE curriculum.
The committee will review the thematic units throughout 2021-2022.
3> A working party investigated a more structured programme for giving online courses to students and also explored the effective training of staff to be more efficient in their online sessions. In the course of the year extensive training was carried out to raise teachers’ standards of technical competence so that they could deliver effective lessons online.
The group’s recommendations, which have been approved, included the ongoing provision of training at school on MS Teams, Outlook and OneDrive and also the continued training of all Infants’ section teachers at least twice a month. They will continue using MS Teams where appropriate once we have returned physically to school, to keep parents up to date with material covered in classes and also to send out worksheets and circulars, or to meet with parents online. In addition an Online training session will be provided to parents new to the school, in all KG classes.
I think you will agree that much work has been undertaken in the school over the past year, some of it unglamorous, but all of it essential, in order to move the school forward. I am most grateful to my colleagues for their professionalism and for all of their hard work.
For the year ahead the Development Plan, both for the school and for the Sections is shorter and simpler, partly because we need to manage the return to physical school and partly because we need to implement what we have already decided upon.
Whole School Development Plan 2021-2022
1> To implement fully and comprehensively the Cambridge curriculum in both Lower and Upper Schools.
2> To carry out a feasibility study to establish a Brummana High School Sports Club for school families.
3> To establish ways of further instilling the school values of individuality, respect, tolerance and peaceful resolution in the educational life of students at Brummana High School.
For the BHS Secondary Section to be twinned with Sidcot School, in the UK, by April 2022, and to have an agreed and calendared programme of ‘twinned’ events confirmed for Term three, 2021-2022, and the academic year 2022-2023.
To effectively establish the positive reinforcement system described in the 2019/2020 Intermediate Development Plan “Establishing a positive reinforcement system in place of punishment” by January 2022.
To ensure that the spirit of the Cambridge curriculum pedagogy is implemented in the learning experiences of Lower and Upper Primary students.
To implement the Cambridge Curriculum in the physical school. To establish clear guidelines of expectation for assessing and reviewing, at the end of each term, the implementation of the Cambridge Curriculum, in terms of content and ethos.