Dear Parents,
I know that many of you will be coming to the PTM on Saturday, but for those who are not I wanted to share some of the things that we have been working on and will be talking about this coming weekend.
B Form are now most of the way through the first year of the courses that will be assessed with the Cambridge IGCSE examinations, A Form are almost finished with their courses. The September trials allowed us to measure where they are with their understanding and their preparedness for the exams, and the results and the feedback from the boys have helped us plan and adapt what we will be doing with them when we come back after the Winter break.
We have learned from the students which courses they felt most ready for and from the teachers which courses they needed some additional time to complete. Doing anything for the first time is a learning experience and we are responding to the things that we have learned; adding an additional class to the A Form schedule for certain subjects as we did in April, stopping the school based courses at the end of B Form and using the 1st and 2nd schools on Saturday mornings following the Founder’s break for A Form.
Following the September trials we have added an additional 50 min a week to the schedule for every student and have also been running support classes (they used to be called remedials, but that isn’t the right name) for Comp Sci., Biology, Geography, Modern Foreign Languages and International Mathematics.

From their return on January 20th until their exams finish in March, the A Form time has been planned to include their pre-boards, the feedback from the pre-boards and the  revision classes to address the needs and any difficulties that the pre-boards expose. These revision classes will be co-taught, workshop style exam preparation sessions for each subject to help our students peak at the right time.
I realize that the Cambridge IGCSE programme is unfamiliar because it is simply not what you did when you were at school. This lack of familiarity raises the level of anxiety that is inevitable when our children are doing their first externally assessed examinations in school. When Roosevelt said in his inaugural address to the United States that his firm belief was “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," he could have been speaking about the A Form heading into their IGCSE examinations. He went on to talk about fear as that “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." We are not in retreat (FDR was speaking at the height of the great depression in 1932), but I do worry that in some cases we are talking ourselves into a state of worry because we are doing this for the first time and, of course, it feels different.  
The Cambridge IGCSE programme is something that is reassuringly normal in many schools and countries around the world and we are already seeing the benefits. In fact, the students themselves are recognizing some of them; there are SC Formers who are realizing that the A Form are able to help them with some of their work in Maths and Chemistry for example. The A Form are able to articulate themselves better on paper than many of our S and SC Form because of the writing that has been required of them for the last few years and the nature of the reading that they have been introduced to through the Cambridge programme.
Remember that we are not preparing students to leave school after the 10th; we are laying the foundation for the way that they work in the 11th and 12th and it is their success then that will determine their opportunities and their admissions. No one is complete, and A Form is certainly not the end of their educational journey through school or life. We are in the business of preparing them for success in the field of learning and most of them will have another 4-6 years head of them when they leave school.
At the moment I’m on the way from Chennai to Mumbai to continue with our group interviews for admissions into next year’s D and C Form. Just as when we hire new teachers, we are looking for boys who are going to be the interesting, collaborative and curious members of the community. We think about what they are going to bring to Doon because this becomes part of the mix from which others will all be learning. With teachers we look for experience and training in delivering IGCSE and the IB, with boys we look at what they are able to articulate about their experiences and what they are can bring out of each other; that spark of value that they will add in a classroom, activity, house or team.
Until Saturday,

Matthew Raggett
The Doon School
Mall Road
Dehradun-248 001
Uttarakhand (India)