I’ve always believed that teachers are privileged, because we get to start the year twice : in January, along with everyone else, but also in September, when each new school year brings with it a world of new possibilities, new opportunities, the chance to do things better, to move forward. This year is no exception.
We’re very happy at the start of this year to be able to relax our Covid-19 restrictions somewhat. In particular, the regulations which allow each year group to mix freely in the playground, while remaining separate from other year groups, has made a huge difference to the children’s enjoyment of school. Children need space to run.
We are also optimistic we will be able to run excursions and trips this year, at least within Spain; and a full programme of after-school clubs has already started up, perhaps even stronger than ever. Let’s hope the conditions of the pandemic remain on our side.
As I’m sure all families are aware, this year Kensington has opened up a number of new subjects and new spaces in the school. Children moving up to Year 10 are able to choose to continue their studies in English through the IGCSE path, or in Spanish with our tried and tested curriculum in 3º ESO. As the school moves forward, our intention is to offer the International Baccalaureate from September 2023, in parallel with our high-quality Spanish Bachillerato.
We are delighted with the response of families to our new pre-Nursery space, where children from the age of 18 months will spend each school day with immersion in English, in a space purpose built for the explorative and responsive methodologies our Early Years team will follow.
We are also extending our curriculum in Performing Arts, in our newly-refurbished Dance and Drama studio. These subjects are wonderful teachers far beyond the individual skills of voice projection, or learning choreography; above all they help to build self-confidence, the development of presence, the ability to stand up in front of an audience and deliver; and creativity is like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the more it develops. In these subjects, along with Public Speaking/Oratory in Year 7-9, our children are developing key transferrable life skills which will serve them well in the future.
Another new development this month are the Cycle tests from Year 4 to 2º Bachillerato, a weekly test running along a four-weekly cycle of core subjects. Although Kensington children are no strangers to assessment, the aim of the cycle tests is to help them to develop their knowledge and skills, as often each test builds a little more on the one before it, covering the material studies to date and adding new themes and topics, to help the children move forward in knowledge and understanding, while freeing up the rest of the curriculum time for teaching.
Kensington has always offered an education in values, and we will be using our programme of assemblies to reinforce this running through the school year, whether it will be our programme of ICARE ( Integrity, Co-operation, Acceptance, Respect, Empathy, the core values of the school ), or the Travesía programme.
While we are obviously excited by the new subjects and spaces we are able to offer the children, the essence of a Kensington education, with our traditional strengths of hard work, organization and structure, our focus on and support of each individual child, and I hope our close relationship with our families, remain very much in place. I look forward to sharing with you many of the things happening in school in the course of the year.