27 June 2019
Dear Ascot Family,
As we come to the end of another year, I would like to look back at some of the highlights of the year.
In term 1 we started with a number of new teachers and students who quickly settled into the school; it now seems like they have been here for a very long time. The parent evenings just before half term gave everybody a chance to give or receive feedback about progress in the first half term. After the holiday our IB Diploma students took part in the Operation Smile Mission in Tak province and it was a life changing experience for all involved. This was followed by a team visit from 3 IB PYP evaluators. They met teachers, students and parents, visited classrooms and looked into every part of our Primary School and were very pleased with the progress we had made. A few months later we received our authorisation to deliver the IB PYP and became one of a small group of schools in Thailand offering 2 IB programmes. This was a vote of confidence in our EY and PY teams that consistently provide a high quality of education each and every day. The Parents’ Support Group (PSG) had their first meeting, the constitution was approved and an executive committee was formed. The term ended with the always charming and enjoyable EY and KS1 performances.
Over the Christmas break, the air quality in Thailand deteriorated. This has been a national concern for a number of years but this year all social media channels kept the topic at the front of everyone’s mind. The school implemented a rigorous air quality policy which was shared with all stakeholders and purchased high-quality monitoring equipment. A number of air purifiers were purchased and parents kindly provided further devices for EY and KS1 classrooms. The issue was discussed with the PSG and by the Board of Governors (BoG). Monitoring of pollution levels showed peaks at the start and end of the school day, signs were placed in the car park and requests made for all car engines to be turned off when parked. As a school, there is little we can do to improve air quality but we can have a robust response when the quality falls.
Despite the air quality problems, the school sports fixtures ran almost as scheduled and several trophies were brought back to school. The residential trips allowed students the opportunity to escape to the beach or mountains and get some fresh air and have fun with their friends whilst developing new skills. During the February half term, a number of students joined the first ever ski trip to Japan. This was a great success and the plans are in place for a similar trip in February 2020.
The term continued with sporting fixtures, field trips, visits, visiting speakers and successful, well attended parent conferences. Our senior students won the TISAC Battle of the Bands and added yet another trophy to our collection. The KS2 production in March was a “ Journey Through Time” and was an enjoyable and informative evening.
The start of term 3 is the beginning of the external examinations season for our Year 11 and 13 students. This is a time of hard work for our seniors but by mid-June all exams were completed. The last few weeks of term are always busy and it seemed that there was an activity every other day; the Year 6 exhibition was an impressive display of the students’ work and they spoke well and with confidence about their projects. This was closely followed by the Year 13 graduation ceremony which was a proud moment for parents, teachers and students. The PSG and parent body organised a food fair for International Day and raised money for our charity of the year, Childline. As I write this, rehearsals are taking place and final touches are being organised for the Talent Show and reports are being written for the end of the year. The school will be busy over the summer with maintenance and improvements as it is every year and the summer adventure camp starts on Monday 1st July.
Cultural celebrations of Loy Krathong, Chinese New Year, and Songkran are a permanent fixture of our calendar as are the Sports Days and many other events I have not mentioned because there are so many; it is impressive and a testament to the teachers, students, support staff and parents that we can successfully organise such a comprehensive and varied programme in addition to the high quality of teaching and learning that takes place every day.
One area that I have not mentioned is the school’s work on child protection, welfare and well being. The whole school has focussed on this important area; policies and procedures are in place, staff have attended high-quality training and students have received support and help. Multi-agency meetings have taken place and student needs have been identified and met. The school is a safe and supportive environment and parents can be confident that the quality of care we offer is outstanding.
Thank you for all your support this year, Ascot is a wonderful school and our growth and improvement can only happen when we all work together and put our students at the centre of all our decisions. Have a relaxing and safe summer holiday.