Friday, 25th November 2016

Whole School Newsletter

Academic Aspiration

At Dwight School London we regularly celebrate the excellent relationships within the school and the warm supportive community that underpins our ethos. Similarly the IB programmes provide us with many opportunities to develop life skills through our commitment to the IB Learner Profile. The school invests time and energy into ensuring our students have a broad range of opportunities for personal development and in the past week our students have been involved in a range of activities including ISA swimming championships, the Lower School book fair, the Dwight Choir Festival, International Evening, trips into London (Music, Psychology, Poetry, Theatre, Art and Physics), inter-House games competitions and Inter-school sporting fixtures. All these took place in addition to all the regular extra-curricular activities and meetings of student councils, Dwight Scientists and Eco-Rangers.


We believe it is important that our students gain these valuable experiences, however this does not mean that we are neglecting academic learning. We aim to provide a stimulating and challenging learning environment where all students are able to reach their academic potential, regardless of their starting point. Over the past year we have specifically put a number of measures in place to ensure that our students are making progress and that we are maintaining excellent academic standards.


In the Lower School a greater emphasis has been placed on the learning of phonics from a younger age to ensure that our students have a solid basis to build their reading and writing skills. We have also extended coding in the curriculum to link students IT skills with the more rigorous academic skills involved in writing code. The hard work children have been doing in Mathematics is evident in the record breaking number who have entered the Maths Challenge.


In the Upper School, Mrs. Sen, our new Head of Personalised learning, has been working on several initiatives to help all students achieve their potential. Cognitive Ability Testing (CAT) has been introduced to help identify where students have strengths and where they need to be supported. The information gleaned from these tests is being used to ensure our students are stretched in their areas of strength and to create a programme of activities to enrich and challenge more able students.  CAT results have created a baseline for tracking student progress so that realistic but challenging targets can be set for all students.


Mrs. Sen has also launched a programme to encourage reading. As well as providing a framework to track students' reading habits it celebrates reading for pleasure and guides students to a non-fiction reading list to kindle their spark of genius. I know that many parents encourage their children to read and I hope that by joining the school's efforts to discuss books and the pleasure of reading that we will build a strong reading culture across the school. This is a simple but effective way to boost academic performance in all subjects.


In the Diploma years, Mr Johnson (IB Diploma Coordinator) has introduced a retention policy that sets high expectations, with hurdles and challenges to keep students focused and diligent in their studies. The IB Diploma is a very demanding academic programme and by nurturing good study habits and approaches to learning throughout the programme we can give our students the best chance to succeed.


CAS blog and Social Action Forum

Thank you to those who have already contributed to our CAS blog. It has been uplifting to read the different activities members of our community are involved in. We welcome contributions from anyone who would like to share their activities. Click here to read the blog or to add your own story.


I hope to see many of you – parents, staff and students - at our Social Action Forum next Thursday, 1st December. We are planning an interactive evening to celebrate what we are already doing and to share ideas about how we can improve the way we contribute to our local and global community. We will be meeting at 6.00pm in the Jubilee Hall and light refreshments will be served. Please click here to register your interest so we can cater appropriately.


Best wishes


Alison Cobbin

Head of School


Monday - 28 November 2016
All day
Monday - 28 November 2016
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Lower School Library
Monday - 28 November 2016
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Dwight School London

6, Friern Barnet Lane. N11 3LX

+44 208 8920 0600