Friday, 18th March 2016
Whole School Newsletter

Alison Cobbin - Head of School

At Dwight School London we are extremely fortunate to have staff from a rich and varied range of backgrounds and experience.  Our staff team is one of our greatest assets, As an IB school we are committed to lifelong learning and expect our teachers and support staff to continue to learn and to grow both in school and outside of school.

A challenge of working on a split site school is that there are not many opportunities for the whole staff to get together as we are all busy working in our own corner of the school. This week we had a joint staff meeting for the whole school, including all the teaching and support staff, and it was great to see everyone together. I appreciated the opportunity to share my impressions from my first term at Dwight and my vision for where we are headed. Many of my own observations were echoed in comments from staff in my initial survey. We have an exceptionally warm and supportive environment at Dwight and we are blessed with a wonderful student body and a very dedicated staff team. The relationships within the school are a real strength. This is a very firm basis to take the school into the future. The IBO mission statement and the learner profile also provide a strong foundation, centred around the needs of the learners, on which a culture of excellence can thrive. An essential element of my vision for the school is a shared commitment to the pursuit of excellence; always looking for ways we can be better.

To support our drive for improvement we are setting up seven staff working parties to feed into the school strategic plan. The seven groups will be focusing on the following areas:

Term dates
How can we adjust the school calendar to be in more in-line with an international school calendar whilst making allowance for staff and families who have children in local schools?

Facilities and resources
How can we get the best value from our current facilities and resources and what are the options for improving our facilities in the future?

Can the school adjust pay scales to help us recruit and retain high quality staff? How can we meet the challenge of the high cost of accommodation in London, in particular for teachers arriving from abroad?

Personalised learning
What is the best way to share/celebrate/extend what we do well, and how can we improve our provision? How can we most effectively track each individual learner’s progress?

Working with parents
How do we communicate with parents and how can this be improved? What is the best way to harness the support of parents for the good of the school?

Lifelong learning
How can we improve the teaching and learning across the school through in-school, collaborative professional development?

Lower-Upper School links
How can we strengthen the ties between the Upper and Lower school for students, teachers and parents?

Several of these groups will be seeking input from parents and we would welcome your suggestions and contributions to help us to continue to improve.

Drama club

On Thursday afternoon the Upper School drama club invited parents and teachers to their final session with Sarah who has worked with this club for several years.  Sarah and her family are going to Australia for a year so the Drama club were sending her on her way with a tribute. Each student recited a poem before they presented a sketch they devised as a surprise for Sarah. Their humorous sketch, which involved Mehdi taking on the role of Sarah, gave the audience an insight into drama club sessions and clearly communicated how much the students have enjoyed the club and appreciated Sarah’s leadership. We wish Sarah and her family all the best for their adventure in Australia.

Taking Action

The Upper School resembled a menagerie today as students came dressed as animals in support of the RSPCA. This is in response to work the M1 classes have been doing about animals in their French lessons. Thanks to Mrs Veschi for helping the students to organise the fancy dress day and fundraising cake sale.

The Lower School are also gearing up to take action as part of the Big Fun Walk to raise funds for our neighbour, the North London Hospice. A group of walkers will be meeting at East Finchley Station at 10am on Sunday to join the walk.

Out and About

The Dwight Out and About Parents Club were treated to an incredibly sunny spring
 day on Monday to tour the Highgate Cemetery, one of the magnificent seven 
Victorian garden cemeteries of London. They spent time exploring the East
 Cemetery finding notable residents Karl Marx, George Eliot and Malcolm 
McLaren and then had a special tour of the West Cemetery learning about 
the history, seeing the Egyptian Avenue and entering the Terrace

For more information about the Dwight Out and About Club contact Michele O'Neill ~

Best wishes for an enjoyable weekend.

Alison Cobbin
Head of School

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