Dear Parents,
It has been a pleasure catching up with you over the last month through the PTMs for each section of the school. We completed the cycle on Saturday last weekend with the D and C Form parents, 94% of whom attended the information sessions about the Cambridge IGCSE Programme and student stress - the red flags to look out for and the things that we can avoid doing as parents that contribute to our child’s anxiety. Thank you for the feedback that you shared with us which we will look at and think about together ahead of the next round of PTMs and the planning of the calendar for next term and the next school year of 2019-20. We are aiming to have this out to you by the end of the month to help with your planning.
If you are interested in following up and reading some of the work referred to by the PTM speakers then please look at Carol Dweck’s Mindset, Francis Jenson’s Teenage Brain, Shimi Kang’s The Dolphin Parent, David Perkins’ Future Wise or Daniel J Siegel’s Brainstorm. These are books that some of our teachers are reading and sharing with each other in our professional development sessions. I need to read Future Wise over the holiday but I still need to finish reading The Sellout and The Mountains Echoed before that. I just don’t get to read much during term time… I know that some of the boys feel the same! Over the coming months, our Pastoral Care Team, led by Stuti Kuthiala, will be carrying out a review of the way in which our year and our various programmes like STAs, Service and the Tutorials fit together to support what we want the boys to be doing and to see whether there are times and places where with a 20% adjustment, we can make an 80% difference. Many of us, including the boys, recognize that we do not have our balance right and we want to try and find the right balance before we start toppling. As William Blake wrote in his Proverbs of Heaven and Hell, “you never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough”.
The ICSE and ISC results came out this week and we are delighted for our students who have done very well, exceeding last year’s averages and, in some cases, really surpassing our expectations. Pranav Goel was our ICSE topper with 98% and Harshit Bansal and Pragun Aggarwal topped ISC each with 98.8%. 72% of our boys achieved averages over 90% in ICSE and more than half our boys did the same in ISC. There were five subject areas in which our ISC average was more than 90%, including English, which is the only compulsory subject. Congratulations to all of the boys and to our teachers and support staff for the contribution that they have made over the years to this success.
Last week saw the Afzal Khan Basketball competition take place.13 other schools competed for the kudos that goes to the winner. This was the 28th tournament and those who have witnessed many, talked about the energy and the support that they experienced at the side of the court. We played a nail-biting semi-final against Woodstock, which we won. In a repeat of last year’s final against Welham Boys it was equally nail-biting, but the game went their way in the end and they left with the trophy that they had come to defend. The Dance Competition was back on stage in the MPH with an excellent display of moves, coordination and style from all of the houses. The performances continue with the English One Act Plays on Thursday and Friday this week and the Popular Band competition next week.
Much of the rest of our class time is being spent focusing on formative and internal assessment through which the boys will receive feedback on their levels of achievement and what they need to do next to improve. If you would like to know more about formative assessment and how it differs from the summative assessment that is used at the end of a programme of study then have a look at Dylan Wiliam talking about it here. Dylan Wiliam was a Mathematics teacher who moved into the field of learning research after realizing that even though he was teaching his classes they were not always learning. The idea that teaching causes learning needs to be looked at very carefully because there are certain things that teachers do that cause learning, but there are some things that don’t, and we have to know the difference.
Between the classes, assessment and the rest of the music competitions we have our inter-house hockey going on, house feasts, special assembly and golden night dinners. This weekend the staff will be saying goodbye to PK Nair before he takes up his post as Principal at the Lawrence School, Lovedale. After 29 years of service to the school, there will be some stories to be told about him and some of his favourite moments to be relived. We will also be saying farewell to Philip Burrett who is retiring from school for the second time; he requested no fanfare but we will raise a glass to wish him well. We also say goodbye to Anamika Ghose, our Counsellor, Psychology teacher and Learning Support specialist who will be getting married this summer and moving to Gurgaon. When I write next I will tell you about the people who will be following in PK, Philip and Anamika’s footsteps.
I wish you all well for the holiday. As we say in school, holidays always come a week too late. It is this time of year that we remind each other to respond than react, to consider it possible that you might be wrong and recognize that others, with all their differences, can still be right. Remember that we do not set holiday homework for students, only parents… and that work is attached with this email for those of you who did not get it at the PTMs (or if your dog ate it).
Over the holiday, I will participate in Summer@Doon with many of my colleagues in the first week of June. This year we were oversubscribed and have limited the attendance to 72 students from various parts of the country. After that, I will be heading back to Leipzig for my own son’s graduation; he finished his last IB exam today like some of our boys. When I return to Doon in July, my whole family will be joining me and until the time that Hugh starts university in den Haag (The Hague) in September, we will be complete for the first time in two years.


Matthew Raggett

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