A summary of achievements at Southbank in the academic year 2014 – 2015
At the Annual General Meeting on 4 June 2015, attended by over two hundred parents and staff, the Executive Principal and each of the three campus Principals, delivered a presentation on, respectively, whole-school achievements and those on each campus over the course of this academic year. Here is a summary of just some of those successes, all of which together reflect the enormous progress the school has continued to make.
This year saw the implementation and results of reforms some of which were prepared before the start of this academic year, and have been implemented to full effect over the course of this year. These include:
- In the academic context the completion of a three year review of the PYP curriculum, the introduction of the MYP Next Chapter, and another year of outstanding IB Diploma results. A full review of the school’s Personal and Social Education programme has taken place, ready for implementation from September 2015
- There have been further changes to the staff recruitment procedure, so that we continue to attract excellent staff to the school’s employment and fulfil our safeguarding responsibilities. As well as continuing with our rigorous appraisal system for academic staff we have introduced Annual Reviews for all administrative staff
- Our compliance and safeguarding policies have been strengthened and updated, and we have introduced minor changes to our Core Values as well as changed our Mission Statement.
- Staff have been given further incentive to contribute to the extracurricular programme, resulting in an extension to the number, range and variety of activities. To conform fully to our safeguarding responsibilities, the school trips procedure has been modified, at no cost to the quantity and quality of trips taking place
- Chiefly to make the school application procedure for parents as easy as possible there have been changes to it, along with an updating of the parent school contract. This has been accompanied by closer coordination between the marketing and admissions departments’ work.
- Finally, there is an ongoing review of the procedure by which staff, students and visitors gain physical access to each of the campuses so that we fulfill our obligations to ensure our students are as safe as possible whilst under our care.
This year has seen key structural and systemic changes that leave Westminster modernised and ready to compete in terms of the quality of education with the best international schools in London and across the world.
- A new timetable was introduced – allowing a common lunch hour for all and facilitating meetings, clubs and a well-deserved break for students and staff; the timetable has also accommodated a doubling of the Advisory time to enhance pastoral care and to allow assemblies to take place each week for every grade
- There has been a wholesale reorganisation of the extracurricular programme enshrined within the timetable, with every member of staff contributing to activities such as sport, drama, music, chess, London exploration, Maths clinics and rock climbing.
- The advent of a Virtual Learning Environment (Firefly), has allowed students to access key resources online and communicate with teachers, safely and efficiently, from outside as well as within school.
- A new canteen in Portland Place now offers a much healthier range of food at good value
- A new and enlarged Student Common Room in Conway Street affords a space for Grade 11 and 12 to meet, relax and feel a sense of belonging.
- There have been 41 residential trips – including resurrected language trips to France and Spain – and 75 day trips taken this year, with a third of them involving Grade 6-8
- We have instituted course evaluation and individual departmental reviews which have seen Faculties formally reflect upon their progress and set objectives for development.
- Grade teams across both primaries now share the same Programme of Inquiry which provide greater consistency and an opportunity to share expertise
- Planning is shared across the campuses, strengthening good quality teaching
- There is greater consistency of teaching so that students leave primary ready for Westminster
- There has been significant focus this year on the quality of assessments
- Tracking of student progress in key areas has been established, allowing for extension or support where appropriate
- Specialist teachers have reviewed Scope and Sequences linked to changes in Westminster
- Both primaries now have an extended music programme, further strengthening an already impressive programme. We now have 6 instruments on offer during curriculum time, with flute, trumpet and guitar now available from Grade 4 upwards. This year’s annual concert saw the first ensembles for these new instruments sharing performances with our traditional Suzuki programme.
- A wider range of extracurricular activities offered before school, at midday and after school at no charge to parents
- School reports are now available digitally via the parent portal
- Termly appraisal of teaching staff is linked to professional development opportunities and the continuing development of a culture of a professional learning community
- The joint primary adoption of a new Personal, Social and Physical Education programme (Jigsaw) will blend the best of existing practice with new learning
- A successful iPAD pilot programme to evaluate the effectiveness of using personal learning devices in a classroom context has taken place. Gains in student engagement and motivation, enhanced access to writing skills and the ability to record learning as it happens were some of the notable features of our pilot.
Published on: 18th June 2015