The past year has been a memorable year for us all and, despite working through a global pandemic and a lockdown, I am pleased to say that it has been a successful year of learning at Dwight School London. In December 2020, we reached an important milestone of 25 years as an International Baccalaureate (IB) world school. The IB is in our DNA and it shapes the values and culture of our school in addition to moulding our curriculum and our approach to learning and teaching. I am looking forward to celebrating this significant milestone with all the school community later in the summer term, when we will have the opportunity to meet together in person.
Although life in London has been dominated by COVID-19 there have been many silver linings for the school and I would like to share with just a few of the many highlights from the past year...
Working remotely and providing online learning for all students has showcased the school’s future-ready approach to educational technology. With only a few teething problems the school was ready and able to switch to remote learning quickly. Our use of Google Classroom was already well established and we quickly honed our expertise in online platforms. It has been a good opportunity for students to take the lead and at times help their teachers navigate new technologies.It has been inspiring to see the way that teachers and students have taken the opportunity to be creative and find new ways to build meaningful learning experiences when we have not been able to be in the classroom together. Helping our M5 and D1 students prepare for the self discipline and independence of higher education, they continue to have the option to work remotely one day per week.
Our Dwight Scientists in the Lower School inquire about outer space in their 'Mission to Mars' lesson.
Beyond the classroom, we used online platforms innovatively to strengthen our community values and share our learning. This included daily music performances, student-parent-teacher conferences, a parent-led careers event, the Personal Project showcase, assemblies with inspiring guest speakers, virtual coffee mornings and a personalised graduation ceremony.
As the world was coming to terms with the coronavirus pandemic, we were shocked by the killing of George Floyd and galvanised by the explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement. This raised serious issues around equity, diversity and inclusion for the school to address. Led by Mr Wynter (our Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator), staff, students, parents and alumni have worked together to explore the issue and to look critically at ourselves, and where as individuals and as a school we need to change. The outstanding work done by Mr Wynter has been recognised by the Dwight family of schools and he is extending his role to be the Global Dwight Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
Mr Wynter shares his perspective on the work he has been doing over the past year.
Throughout the year, both in lockdown and in school, our Arts programme has been thriving. The children in the Lodge delighted us with their video performance of celebrations around the world, and our Upper School students demonstrated both technical and theatrical expertise with their innovative and moving online performances.
Students of all ages expressed themselves in artwork produced both in school and at home - the highlight being the inspirational artwork of our D2 artists in their final, virtual exhibition. Our music programme, both in school and via the Saturday Conservatoire, has continued to thrive and delight us with live and recorded concerts, which culminated in the global online music concert last Saturday.
We were very excited to welcome all our students into school in September, which was made possible by the efforts, care and attention of the Principals and support staff who prepared the school to be COVID-safe for the return of students and staff. Additional cleaning, social distancing measures, and (since March) the testing of staff and Upper School students has provided us with the confidence to enjoy learning back in school. By maintaining “bubbles” we have been able to continue with collaborative learning and House events and activities. We are planning to resume a full after-school activity programme in the summer term as lockdown restrictions are eased. View a list of Lower School and Upper School activities here.
With so much time spent indoors and on-screens, our Forest School programme has been a blessing. Students from Kindergarten to M1 have benefited from regular learning outdoors, building confidence, engaging with nature and developing interpersonal skills. Visits from Maddie, our Forest School dog (in training) has been an added bonus.
For me, the top highlight of the year was the PYP exhibition of our Year 6 students’ learning. The skills, knowledge and learner profile attributes nurtured in the process and shared with us at the exhibition was an eloquent statement of the value of an IB education. To hear 11-year-olds speaking with confidence about meaningful, authentic global issues and reflecting on the learning process was inspirational. They truly demonstrated how an IB education at Dwight is educating young people who are inspired to make the world a better place.
Check out the amazing, self-directed work our Year 6s have been working on for the last several months.
As I hope you are able to see, we have a vibrant learning environment at Dwight and we are constantly seeking ways to improve our provision despite the challenges of the past year. In order to deliver the best possible education for your children we regularly review our expenditure and income with a view to setting the school fees in a way that enables us to meet our goals, invest in our facilities and to recruit and retain high quality staff. Additionally, we expect the significant cost of maintaining a safe environment for children during the pandemic will continue at least well into 2022, and we are also seeing above-inflation increases in our service contracts due to ongoing boosts to the national minimum wage.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that, as set out in our Terms & Conditions, families who do not intend to return to Dwight in September 2021 are obliged to give the school notice of withdrawal by the end of the Spring term. Due to the uncertainties posed by the pandemic, we have extended this deadline until 30th April. All families are asked to complete the re-enrolment form via Open Apply by Friday, 30th April 2021. You are reminded that if you give us notice of withdrawal after 30th April you will be liable for the next term’s (Autumn 2021) fees. Even if you have already notified the school in some way about your departure, it is very helpful if you would complete this form so that we have all of the information in one system.
As our admissions team has many applications in process for September 2021, places will be offered to new families as they arise. To view the list of fees for 2021/22 and terms and conditions, please click here.