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982 Rim Klong Samsen Road (Rama 9), Bang Kapi, Huai Kwang, Bangkok 10310. Thailand 

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Principal's Blog

PRINCIPAL'S BLOG - 3RD APRIL 2020 - REFLECTING ON THE ROLLERCOASTER

So, the holidays are here and I am looking forward to planning out my days with a range of activities to keep my mind and my body (I hope!) healthy and in good shape.
 
Exercise is key for me, as I have neglected that whilst  being cocooned in my office, so that's the first thing on my list to establish in my new ‘holiday at home’ routine.
 
I am going to read lots, teach my son to cook more dishes ready for when he goes to university, practise meditation and enjoy some family time watching some great movies from my younger days.

As I reflect on the term we have had, I am aware that I am a Principal with closed school gates and students scattered in their homes around the city. Like a fish without water. 
 
In some ways, this reminds me of our pre-operating year at City Campus (2017-2018), when our students were not yet with us on campus. 
 
What I did have however was a wonderful small pre-operational enthusiastic committed team around me; based in our new offices close to the school building site. We connected daily and worked through a mountain of new learning as we ‘built’ the school and our founding community. Travelling through new waters optimistically together - often very turbulent waters I have to say, but we did it!
 
Then in our founding year when everyone…..every child, every parent and every member of staff were new to the school, another rollercoaster ride of new learning for everyone. Once again, our collective community spirit and positive attitudes ensured we had a fabulous first year together as a new school, and we did it!
 
And here again as we reach the end of Year 2 Term 2, and we find ourselves facing, this time, a unique set of unprecedented challenges.
 
We have a much bigger community this year and we do have children, parents and a full staff team. We have a huge amount of support, resilience, positivity and determination - I have seen it and felt it in abundance.
 
It may be the toughest set of experiences to date, but we will do this together, and I know I will be writing “we did it”, once more at some point in the future.
 
The connection between these three challenging times is the spirit of the people. Whether it is a small, medium or larger community, if we all remain positive, supportive, resilient, courageous and kind with each other, all will be well…..in time.
 
"We have such a long way to go,’ sighed the boy. "Yes, but look how far we have come," said the horse. - Charlie Mackesy
 
As we enter the term break, I will enjoy sitting on my balcony and take in the wonderful view, that I rarely take the time to appreciate normally. I will catch up with friends past and present virtually - we are all in the same situation at the moment and it is important to be connected to lift each other's spirits.
 
I’ve made a commitment to document my thoughts. I have always kept a journal of some description, but I sense during this time in history it is an even more important ritual to keep up.
 
I received an Artbox a couple of years ago that contains an elephant that needs painting in a creative way. I have not had the courage to start this yet, but I think I will try and give it a go…....
 
I hope you are able to carve some interesting times for you and your family in this unique set of circumstances and also and most importantly, please keep safe and well.

READ TERM IN REVIEW

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Principal's Blog - 27th March 2020 - RALLYING TOGETHER AND READING

Everything has moved so quickly this week, and we are all finding ourselves in a new reality. It’s difficult, it’s challenging, and yet through the resilience and commitment of our school community, we are finding our way through.

Our home learning programme is going well. I have been extremely proud of our teachers, students and parents for all their efforts at this unique time. 

I have been working from home for only 3 days and there are times when this unique experience is unsettling, frustrating and somewhat surreal.

We all know what we need to do, and we must work together to help each other. Bit by bit, day by day I am cultivating a routine and embracing this situation as best I can. I am finding the positives every day, and I am doing my utmost to do my ‘best job’ for our community from home.

I have been taking advice and inspiration from our Vice Principal Ms Betts, who recently showed us how to Travel the World without Leaving your Sofa

My absolute favourite book right now is The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charles Mackesy. This was given to me by one of my best friends at Christmas.  It stays by my bed for motivation - I can highly recommend it to everyone of all ages. The illustrations are beautiful.

"When the big things feel out of control….focus on what you love right under your nose." - Charles Mackesy

Reading is a vital part of our wellbeing at this time, and always, and I will be leading by example in this area. 

As I plan out my new routine, I am going to ensure my own family has an E.R.I.C (Everyone Reading In Class) time slot every day. Though maybe we need to rename this for now. We’ll take our R.A.F.T (Reading As  Family Time) each day - that's my promise. I hope many other families will join me in this, as we seek to look after ourselves at home. 

All those books I’ve bought, intending to read - watch out because here I come!

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Principal's Blog - 20th March 2020 - STAY KIND

My blog this week, for the first time, is written from home. All schools in Bangkok have been officially closed since Wednesday. Our staff are in ‘Self-Monitoring’ status and will work from home until Monday 23rd March.
 
We are all navigating our way through this necessary method of learning and teaching. We have been lucky enough to have real experience to tap into with close communication and sharing with Shrewsbury Hong Kong, who have been delivering excellent online learning for many weeks now.
 
This is Day 3 of home learning at City Campus and our children have already shared some wonderful outcomes from their digital lessons. Year 2 have been learning their Kings and Queens dance, ready to perform at their royal banquet later in the year. Year 4 are busy designing and making a healthy snacks and our writers in Year 2 have been scribing creative Rainbow Fish stories.

Early Years are in full scientific mode investigating floating and sinking, Year 3 have been working on their writing in their specialist Thai lessons, Year 5 are extending their fractions work and Year 6 have been enlightening us with their insightful responses to poetry. 

I am heartened by all the learning that is going on in the homes of our students, led by my exceptional team of class and specialist teachers.

We know arrangements will work differently for different families and their particular circumstances. We are working hard to ensure home learning is manageable and where possible, that children are able to take ownership of this.

Every day, we are all facing a different set of changing circumstances...and when I say ‘all facing’ I mean ‘all’ - everyone in the world - please stay patient and be kind with each other.

As Xilene in Year 2 reminded us today, little acts of kindness cause ripple effects!

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Principal's Blog - 13th March 2020 - PURE IMAGINATION

I was invited to take part in City Campus’s Eyes of a Reader challenge this week, in preparation for Fully Booked 2020 which begins on Monday. 
 
Our Library team are ready to launch a full programme of Book Week activities on Monday, which will inspire us afresh to read, to enter new worlds and to imagine new possibilities. 
 
Imagination is our current value of the month. Having a good imagination makes life more fun, richer, broader, more holistic. It is proven that if we explore your imagination we become better problem solvers, preserve our memories, are more observant, more empathetic, have more self-confidence, develop our resourcefulness and our creativity.
 
Through their class assembly this week, Year 2NC certainly brought to life and celebrated our value of the month. The children themselves told us how important it is to nurture and grow our imaginations. 2NC encouraged our student body to use their imaginations in all areas of their lives - whether for problem solving, home learning, during Design and Technology, in gymnastics, while playing with friends, when cooking, through music and stories - it is “never-ending”.
 
In my years of leadership in primary education, I myself have observed that children are excellent at developing and sharing their imaginative thoughts, ideas and ways of expressing these through different mediums. Yet somehow many of us adults feel that we ‘never have enough time’ to dare to use or give time to developing or opening up our imaginations…. 
 
So what are we waiting for? Parents, why not ask your children what imagination means for them and take it from there? 
 
Try reading, drawing, playing, making, relaxing, cooking, crafts, music, nature, daydreaming….and open yourself up to possibilities.
 
My final charge this week, as we prepare for Book Week, is…....why not simply read? Reading will transform how you see the world and how you see yourself.

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Principal's Blog - 6th March 2020 - UNITY IS STRENGTH

I have been extremely proud of the support and cooperation shown by my staff team, our parents and our children this week. 

As a precautionary measure we have introduced morning temperature checks at the school gate for children, staff and visitors to keep our community healthy and safe. Our children take their responsibilities seriously - washing hands at the start and throughout the school day.  

It was wonderful to welcome back many members of our community returning from their time in quarantine; it is so good to have them back in school.

Many members of staff and children are still in quarantine but busy working and learning virtually. Although there is much negative press about the overuse of technology, especially amongst our younger generation, this is when the use of technology can be utilised at its absolute best for full involvement, participation and creativity.
 
City Campus is delivering a carefully planned home learning programme to ensure that high-quality teaching continues. With the use of Zoom technology, pupils and teachers alike have been able to still be ‘in the classroom’ for some sessions.
 
We look forward to the remainder of our community returning to school next week when we will begin preparations for Fully Booked 2020 - our annual celebration of reading which begins on 16th March. 
 
Don’t forget to be thinking about which book character you will be for our big parade on Friday 20th...!
 
Have a safe relaxing weekend everyone.

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Principal's Blog - 28th February 2020 - SCIENCE, SOCIAL MEDIA Q&A AND STRENGTH

One of the highlights of this week was when we welcomed ‘The Surfing Scientist’ Mr Ruben Meerman into school. Ruben and I showed our students what happens when liquid nitrogen is poured onto a balloon that I had blown up.... 

We are all now learning the Periodic Table song which is very impressive. Our children have really been inspired; many wanting to pursue careers in science!
 
In the meantime we’ve been asking our social media followers to send in their questions about those all-important early years of a child’s life - you can read the full Q&A on our website: Q&A WITH THE PRINCIPAL AND THE HEAD OF EARLY YEARS 
 
Our whole school community has worked proactively and positively together to ensure our children have great learning despite the quarantine arrangements put in place this week. 
 
Children and staff who are ‘At Home’ are working virtually and children in school continue an exciting curriculum.
 
It is in times of challenge that you really notice people's strengths, their flexibility, their resilience and their kindness; I believe our community has this in abundance.
 
Have a lovely weekend everyone.

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Principal's Blog - 14th February 2020 - "A TRULY WONDERFUL SCHOOL"

This week, it was City Campus’s pleasure to host Mr John Gwyn Jones MBE, Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of British International Schools in Asia (FOBISIA)  and Ms Siobhan Bland, Executive Office Manager, for our school’s pre-membership visit. 

The purpose of the visit was to validate the application against the criteria set out in FOBISIA's Constitution and By-laws. 

Our guests undertook a thorough check of the appropriate documentation, they met with key people in our school community, and they were given a first-hand look at the school's facilities and resources, including some classroom visits.

I am pleased to say that we had a very positive couple of days and we look forward to receiving our report.

Mr Jones spoke very kindly to our staff team today:

"As an experienced international school primary practitioner and leader,  if I was asked to plan and design an outstanding international primary school from scratch looking at the pedagogy, a creative curriculum, the facilities, the experienced staff and the leadership – this school would be the outcome and perfect model. 

City Campus is a unique, bespoke primary-focused setting, without compromise – a truly wonderful school." - John Gwyn Jones MBE, Chief Executive Officer, FOBISIA

On that positive note I would like to wish you all a happy Valentines Day and a peaceful, relaxing half term break.

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Principal's Blog - 7th February 2020 - LOUD AND CLEAR

This week we showcased our love of reading by celebrating World Read Aloud Day. 
 
There was a real sense of excitement around the school as teachers and staff from all departments chose their favourite books to read aloud to children at  lunchtime and break time and during class time in the library, outside, and in our Children's Forum.

It was wonderful to take this opportunity to immerse ourselves in books. LitWorld, the founders of World Read Aloud Day, remind us why it is important to read aloud to children...

Reading aloud develops stronger vocabulary. It lets children hear new words in new situations, which builds their vocabulary. When children hear words read aloud, they begin seeing how printed words are closely connected to spoken words. 

Reading aloud provides sheer enjoyment. The children I read to in the library loved the book I’d chosen and even though they knew the book, they simply loved hearing it again. Reading aloud encourages children to become interested in learning to read, which is likely to then spark a lifelong love of reading.

Reading aloud has proven to increase attention span and strengthen cognitive abilities. When children are regularly exposed to the sophisticated language of quality literature, they learn how to apply their cognitive abilities to understand the text.

Reading a story aloud that explores particular emotions helps some children to accept their own feelings and understand how others feel. By reading aloud together, stories can help children feel more comfortable discussing their emotions with others.

Reading aloud with children provides benefits for adults too. The quality time spent together promotes bonding and strengthens relationships, making it easier for children to develop their social, communication and interpersonal skills.

Let every day be a World Read Aloud Day.

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Principal's Blog - 31st January 2020 - A WEEK OF CONCERTS AND COMPASSION

After an exceptionally busy time, it is good to be able to breathe and reflect on both the positive and more challenging aspects a week can bring.
 
We started the week with our vibrant and exciting Chinese New Year celebrations, organised by our fantastic Mandarin team. Wonderful performances from our children - a traditional jasmine flower dance, the story of the 12 zodiacs and a Kung Fu show followed by drumming and dragons; a real sense of excitement and fun for our school community to enjoy.
 
Our Spring Recital - showcasing pupils of Shrewsbury’s Ms Irina Novikova - was an inspiration to us all. Children from across the school as young as EY2 performed so confidently and professionally after only 5 months since starting to learn. They have shown us their real dedication to their practice and commitment to learning the piano. Simply amazing.
 
We started our newly formed and very enthusiastic staff choir this week; led by Khun Art, our Music intern and Shrewsbury alumnus. Art says he strives for precision and excellence -  he may be leading the wrong choir (!) but we will try our best.
 
In close collaboration with our senior management teams from both City Campus and Riverside, and our CEO, along with advice from the Local Health Authority, the Ministry of Education and other leading schools, we have made important decisions this week to keep our community as safe as far as we can from the Coronavirus. 
 
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our entire school community - both staff and families - for their full support and cooperation. 
 
Our thoughts, love and compassion are with families in China and other parts of the world who are directly affected by the virus.
 
Have a relaxing weekend, look after each other.

 

Principal's Blog - 24th January 2020 - Architects, Engineers and Designers in the Making

After my recruitment trip to the UK, it is great to be back in Bangkok and in school, with many warm ‘welcome back’ conversations with children, staff and parents much appreciated.

This week, our Design & Technology and DEC teacher, Katie Holland presented to our parents at this week’s ‘Tea and Topics’ event. Ms Holland outlined the varied and exciting curriculum we have in place across Year 1 to Year 6 . 

Intricate, inclusive and sustainable design projects  working with textiles, clay, wood, electronics, CAD, CAM, food, natural materials, recycling materials, robotics, graphics…the list goes on. Ms Holland explained that the children are learning how to use tools, equipment and technology effectively, accurately and safely. Exploring futuristic design is also an important aspect of our curriculum.

Parents had the opportunity to explore the department to see projects in process through to completion. Having spent time in Ms Holland's classes, I can see why our children look forward to their D&T classes so much - 100% engagement 100% of the time - architects, engineers and designers in the making.

Unfortunately it was a shortened week, as the Ministry of Education closed schools yesterday. We therefore had to postpone our long-anticipated Chinese New Year celebrations - now rescheduled for Monday. Luckily the dragon can also reschedule to make it then and dance alongside our talented student performers.

More news on that next week.

Until then....新年快乐 (Xīnnián kuàilè)