Dear Parents,

Happy New Year and welcome to Term 2 of 2020/21.

We've had a very busy and exciting 4 days back in the building with high-quality online lessons, activities and events in full swing. As always, we are following the daily guidance from the news, government and worldwide websites to keep updated with the pandemic. We miss the students and hope they can return to lessons back in the building as quickly as its safely possible to do so.

Thank you to all the parents who attended the 'Coffee with the Principal' this morning and also for the many positive emails to our teachers and staff. We really appreciate your kind words and this has a huge, positive impact on our school. I would like to personally thank you for this.

During this time we are also monitoring the discussions and ideas from the exam board regarding the plans for next summer. As plans from the exam board are proposed, debated and changed, we have worked as a team to ensure that our students do not miss out for next summer and receive the same outstanding grades we achieved last year in 2020.

At BISL, the grades submitted (along with our evidence) did not change or drop compared to many in the UK and around the world as reported, with nearly half of the grades lowered as a result of this moderation process by the exam board. We are very satisfied with our assessment procedures and data collection as they have been used by several schools across the world as an exemplar process to follow. This gives us confidence that the students will get the grades they deserve similar to the 'best grades ever' achieved last year.

Here is an overview of the points I shared with parents during today's Coffee Morning:

IGCSE and A Level Mock Exams

Mock exams have been rescheduled for the assessment week of Monday 15th February. This gives the students 2 opportunities to gain the grades they deserve and relevant evidence for their final grades.

Internal Tests/Assessments

The school also arranges assessments for students from Year 7 upwards in various subjects. BISL has created its assessment policy from the guidance from the Cambridge Assessment International Examinations Exam board (CAIE is the most popular exam board in the world). The students at BISL start exam courses in Year 10 and sit formal / standardised exams in Years 11, 12 and 13. During this time, they can have up to 6 hours of exams in one day. In one session they might be timetabled 2-3 hours on one paper - this is across the world. CAIE have formal exams in Key Stage 3 which we do not follow; we create less exams for students but we do need to prepare them for the ones they will have to take (in Year 11, 12 and 13) slowly over time and to get them used to the routines, revision techniques and ways to work in exam conditions. I will speak to my colleagues about the breaks for these assessments.

If you have any further questions regarding the CAIE examinations, please email Mr Batson at jason.batson@britishschool.si.

Parent Surveys

We value your continued feedback and are currently preparing the annual Student and Parent Surveys for this academic year. Students have the opportunity to complete 3 surveys about their learning, wellbeing and enjoyment of school during the year. Parents have 1 or 2 surveys a year, in Term 2s and 3 usually. We post all of the results online, create a report for you to look through, with action points and I invite parents in to talk through the results in our coffee mornings. The purpose of this is to be as transparent as possible and to show the progress of the school.

Here are the last 2 parent surveys published on our website (they include green coloured links to the documents):

2018/19

2019/20

Parent Feedback and Coffee Mornings

I always invite feedback and many of the ideas we have implemented at BISL have come from parents and staff working together - these include:

  1. Newsletters in both Primary and Secondary
  2. Weekly Primary updates
  3. Report cards to help with university applications rather than written reports
  4. Inclusive school events (eg Halloween, International Day etc)
  5. Monthly coffee mornings
  6. Curriculum plans shared with the community online
  7. Overviews of what classes will learn each block etc.

Thank you also for all your comments about our online learning provision, the Zoom lessons (which are excellent), work set and virtual learning timetables. It is very much appreciated.

New Building Update

Following on from my update last week, it is very impressive to make such progress during the pandemic, and we are delighted to see how it looks and know that the students will enjoy these new facilities very much. At this point, the internal walls are being prepared, windows installed and the next steps will be the electrical/IT infrastructure.

Languages Block

As we closed a very successful Block 3 with Creative Arts, we're now preparing to celebrate Languages in Block 4 through various competitions, cross-curricular activities and events. More information on these will follow.

Immerse Education Competition

Every year at BISL, we encourage students to enter a variety of competitions both locally and internationally, from debating to art, through music and creative writing. This is the third year at BISL where we have had students apply for the Immerse Cambridge and Oxford Summer School Essay Competition. Last year we had two students accepted on full scholarships for the two-week summer school, and we hope to repeat this luck once more this year. Take a look at some of the entries into this year's competition from BISL here - we wish our applicants the best of luck!

We have some wonderful examples of students' work posted not just on our website, but also on our Facebook page, so be sure to check these regularly for updated content.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday 13th January - Virtual Open Day (in English)

Wednesday 20th January - Virtual Open Day (in Slovene) Spletni informativni dan

Thursday 21st January - IGCSE Subjects/options Evening with Mr Batson

Thursday 28th January - A Level Subjects/options Evening with Mr Batson

Monday 1st February - Cultural Day Celebration with the languages department

Tuesday 2nd February - House Competition with Mr. Damjan

Friday 5th February - Coffee with the Principal / Dress Down day (House colours)

Friday 12th February - Block Break

Operating Procedures

We are waiting for changes in the guidance, which are expected from the government soon, but no announcement has been made so far, so we anticipate returning from Monday 18th January with a staggered start. The staff and Leadership team are working each day to make sure we plan ahead and are ready for a smooth return, with meetings planned for the end of each day to review the situation.

Urgent Communication

All urgent updates continue to be sent via email.

Please monitor your emails for future updates as this continues to be the best way to send out clear and consistent communication to all parents. Check that you are receiving emails, have enough space in your email folder, that they do not go to your 'junk' folder and if you are unsure, please contact reception@britishschool.si to check your contact email and phone number on record. If you change any contact details, please inform the school immediately.

I look forward to another successful Term ahead.

Kind regards,

Paul Walton

Principal

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