The Woodford Board held its final meeting of 2017 on 29 November. The Board agreed to publish a draft Fundraising Policy for consultation. The draft policy (attached to this message) includes guiding principles for fundraising activities and aims to provide a clear approval process so that fundraising is coordinated, safe, responsive to community needs and interests, transparent and accountable. The draft fundraising policy complements the school’s Fraud Policy and Child Protection Policy that were adopted by the Board earlier this year and the (less detailed) Strategic Policies Compendium adopted in 2016.
We encourage all parents, guardians, staff and students to review the draft fundraising policy and provide comments on it so that we can ensure the policy we adopt reflects your interests and addresses any concerns you may have. Please send your comments to email@example.com or hand hardcopy comments to the reception desk marked ‘Attention: Policy Committee, WIS Board’ by 29 January, 2018. Comments will be considered and revisions to the policy made, as appropriate, before the Board’s next meeting on 7 February, 2018, when we expect a final version will be adopted.
The Board was very pleased to note at the meeting a new ‘WIS Facilities Management Plan’ developed by the Head of School (HoS) and Board Strategy Committee, as well as the HoS’ progress in strengthening financial reporting and management, both of which are crucial to effective governance and efficient school operations. At the same time, the Board was reminded of some historic weaknesses in this area when the Head of School advised that certain payments by the school (prior to the HoS’ arrival) had been incorrectly attributed to the PTFA in the school’s accounts. This is disappointing but fixable: the Board accepted the HoS’ and PTFA President’s recommendation that the funds be repaid to the PTFA and that priority be given to strengthening the school’s business systems so PTFA funds cannot be disbursed in the future without proper direction from the PTFA.
Finally, current board member Dr Panagiota Kouri resigned from the Board following the meeting. She will return to Europe at the end of the school term. The Board thanked Dr Pana for her energetic participation in Board deliberations since her appointment in March 2017 and wished her and her family well in the next chapter of their lives. Dr Pana’s departure means a vacancy has arisen on the Board, which we are very keen to fill.
We welcome expressions of interest from any parents or guardians interested in joining the WIS Board of Management to fill this vacancy. The person appointed to replace Dr Pana will serve out the remainder of Dr Pana’s two-year term, that is until the WIS Annual General Meeting in March 2019. For information on the role and responsibilities of the Board and its members, please read the school’s Governance Handbook and/or reach out to any of the existing Board members – in person or via firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in joining the Board to replace Dr Pana, please send a brief expressions of interest of no more than 200 words to email@example.com by Friday 2 February, 2018.
The PYP Exhibition represents a significant event in the life of our Year 5 students. It is an opportunity for the students to carry out an extended and in depth collaborative project that combines the essential elements of the PYP in ways that can be shared with the whole community.
This year, under the theme of: “How We Organize Ourselves”, the students developed the central idea for their Exhibition:
“Economic development impacts on social welfare and the environment”
We have 6 groups of students who have been investigating different issues related to their central idea such as Global Warming, Logging, Child Neglect, Corruption, Social Services and Drug Abuse.
They have been working collaboratively with their peers, mentors, parents and teachers to demonstrate independence and responsibility for their own learning, to explore multiple perspectives on a local and global issue related to their investigation, to synthesize and apply their learning of previous years, to demonstrate how they can take action as a result of their learning and to celebrate the transition of learners from primary to the middle years.
If you want to see them in action, come along this Thursday, 23rd November from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at Woodford Hall.
Book week was certainly lots of fun and I hope that the event has inspired the students towards a real love of reading. I was very impressed with the decorated reading corners and the imaginative costumes of the fancy dress characters. It is so important that we follow up high profile events like this with a true commitment to reading at both school and home. Please always have a book available for your child to read or for you to read to them, and gently encourage them to engage with books even if only for a few minutes each day. It is. Often a good idea with younger children for you to read a page and then for them to do so, or to stop for a minute to discuss what you’ve read or what will happen next. On the School’s side we are planning a major revamp and new location for the Library and it would be wonderful if we could open that some time in the New Year with another reading event throughout the School. Even a30 minute silent reading session throughout the School can have a huge impact.
Many thanks to all of the staff and particularly Melissa and Jahnet for their efforts and expertise. Many thanks also to all of the parents who gave so willingly of their time to read and participate in other ways during the week – it was a pleasure to see you all. I am talking to Mira from the PTFA about to some staff about the most efficient way to employ the services of parent volunteers- this support is invaluable especially in helping those students with reading difficulties to improve their skills and to gain a real love of books. We will be looking for people willing and able to help individual kids with their reading on a regular basis. More information from us at school very soon.
October saw the first of what I hope will prove to be very many coffee mornings here at Woodford. Most of the senior leadership and a fair number of parents attended. This allowed a wide-ranging and very interesting discussion regarding the future of Woodford. Questions were raised on many issues including classroom practice, health and safety, teacher appraisal, the A/Ls, scholarships, fund-raising and fee levels. Remember all parents are welcome to attend. The next coffee morning is planned for Friday 17th November after the morning Assembly. It will be on the topic of the PYP curriculum. I encourage all parents (especially those with a child in the Primary School) to attend. There will be a short presentation by Paola (PYP Coordinator) followed by a question and answer session on all things PYP. Oh and of course there will be coffee and biscuits! Here is a link to the Presentation from the first coffee morning https://goo.gl/TCvU7m.
A Level Presentation
Another parent supported event was the A Level information evening. A good turnout (especially for a Friday evening) to hear of the Ministry of Education support for the A/L s at Woodford and the excellent news that the Solomon Islands, Australian and NZ governments will all accept A/L as a qualifying entry for university and college scholarships. Many thanks to Rakesh for his very informative and well thought out presentation. It was also good to hear the very genuine concerns and fears of many parents and I know that Rakesh managed to allay many of those fears during the discussions. A measure of this success is the fact that we now have around 15 sign-ups for the course commencement in January. Here is a link to the A level Presentation
After a consultation process, which began some any months, ago I am pleased to inform you that the Board has agreed values as part of the Strategic Planning process. Discussion and comment in still welcome and I can always be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org you should soon be seeing these values not only printed out on all of our literature but also displayed by our staff in our implementation of policies and procedures throughout the school. The values should underpin all of the Woodford community decision-making and action. The agreed values are
Courage, Respect, Excellence, Diversity, Integrity and Teamwork
It is very difficult in a small school like Woodford to predict the financial future. Even losing a relatively small amount of students can play havoc with effective budgeting. For that reason we ask parents to commit by providing a Seat Fee in November. These monies allow the school to purchase basic requirements for next year in a timely manner. This is crucial as many of our teaching supplies and equipment are imported and need to be purchased in good time for the January 2018 start. Healthy cash flows are very necessary at the end of the School Year as we try and avoid the high interest costs of short-term borrowing. Your understanding and prompt payment is greatly appreciated.
Ministry of Environment
Many thanks to the Ministry of the Environment for the plaque (PICTURED) presented to the School in recognition of the Woodford students’ runner-up position in the Miss Nature Pageant. Mikaela, Rachel and Esther accepted the award on behalf of the School..
2 November 2017
Woodford International School to offer Full Scholarship towards A Level - world-class Cambridge secondary curriculum (Form 7 equivalent)
Woodford International School is delighted to announce Full Scholarships for deserving students to pursue Cambridge ‘A’ level qualification. Applicant must have earlier completed minimum Form 5. Students who have successfully completed Form 6 can also apply.
Ministry of education and human resource development (MEHRD), Solomon Islands Government accepts the A Level qualification as equivalent of Form 7. Candidates with A level qualification are eligible to apply for various scholarships for higher education offered by Solomon Islands government.
‘A’ Level is a 2 year qualification and it prepares students for university and higher education. Every year, nearly a million students from 10 000 schools in 160 countries prepare for their future with Cambridge programmes and qualifications. Success with Cambridge often gives students admission to the world’s best universities – in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany and beyond.
Direct Admissions to SING6SC (Form 6) and Cambridge A level programmes are now open.
More details on scholarship is available from school. Further information can be obtained by visiting school or write to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Woodford Values finalised
In late 2016, the Woodford Board adopted a new Vision, Mission Statement and Strategic Plan for the school, following consultation with teachers, students, parents and other stakeholders. At the same time, consultations were held to identify the ‘values’ most valued by the WIS community. Parents, teachers and student representatives were asked to identify the values they wanted to see the school adopt and embrace as we pursue our Vision of
daring to dream
confident to act
empowered to achieve
Our school Values are important because they guide behaviours and attitudes in all aspects of the school’s operations - in classrooms, in the playground, among staff, in PTFA activities, at school events, among Board members and in everything we, the WIS community, do.
The Board is proud to announce that new WIS Values, which complement our Vision and reflect our multicultural community, were adopted on 11 October. Three of the five previous school values (Respect, Integrity and Teamwork) have been retained and three new ones have been added: Courage, Diversity and Excellence. We look forward to students, teachers and others exploring and explaining what these Values mean for Woodford. Following are some ideas to get your minds ticking over:
Courage – to try new things, to embrace challenges, to dream big and pursue our dreams, to stand up for what is right, to express our ideas and feelings
Respect – for each other in all we do, for different points of view, for different cultures and backgrounds, for school and others’ property
Excellence – aiming high and doing our best, commitment to continuous improvement and lifelong learning
Diversity – valuing the diversity of our community; being open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities
Integrity – being honest, doing the right thing, standing up for what is right, doing our fair share, doing what we say we will do
Teamwork – working together; recognising, appreciating and utilising each other’s strengths; sharing our own strengths and efforts
2018 Budget approved
The Board also approved the school’s provisional budget for 2018. We are pleased to advise that there will be no increase in fees for current students and new local students in 2018. There will be a small increase in the ‘Building Levy’ paid by new international students, which will help to fund improvements to the school’s facilities to make the campus safer and more secure. Our thanks to Head of School, Mr Baron, and our accounts manager, Ms Margaret, for their incredibly hard work over the last two months to improve financial reporting to the Board and in putting the budget together.
We are now confident in the school’s financial position going forward, following some difficult cost cutting, including necessary staff losses, earlier this year. The future is looking bright – the budget allows for new specialist teachers to strengthen our English as an Additional Language , Special Needs and Mandarin departments and continued investment in professional development to enhance teaching and learning in every class, among other priorities.
The introduction of the Cambridge A-levels program in 2018 will likely contribute to an improved budget outcome for the school; at worst, it will be budget neutral. This exciting initiative, together with the many school improvements underway and planned for in the 2018 budget, should further enhance the appeal of WIS to existing and potential Woodford families. Woodford will soon be the only school in Solomon Islands to offer:
Child Protection Policy
At its meeting on 11 October, the Board also approved for consultation a draft WIS Child Protection Policy.The draft policy builds on the school’s commitment to providing a safe and healthy environment for students, staff, families and other visitors (recorded in section 5 of the WIS Strategic Policies Compendium) by identifying roles, responsibilities and reporting requirements in cases of suspected abuse.A copy of the draft policy is attached.We encourage all students, parents/guardians and teachers with a view on the draft policy to provide comments to the Board so we can improve it before it is adopted as policy (scheduled for our November meeting).Please send comments to email@example.com by 31 October or hand in written comments marked ‘Attention: Chair, WIS Board’ to the reception desk in the administration building.
Get in touch
As always, please feel free to get in touch to share your ideas on the governance or strategic direction of Woodford.The best decisions are made when a diverse range of perspectives are shared and taken into account so your ideas matter – the Board welcomes input from students and parents/guardians of all backgrounds.For operational matters, please continue to work with Head of School and his team – if you think the Head of School’s response breaches WIS policy http://www.wis.edu.sb/Aboutus.aspx, the matter can be referred to the Board.
(originally shared on September 13, 2017)
Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends of Woodford,
My first few weeks here in Honiara, if rather exhausting, have certainly proved both informative and exhilarating. I have talked to many people eager to share their concerns and ideas and have read much of Woodford’s past successes and proposed future direction. When possible I have visited classrooms and viewed our other school properties and resources. During this, my third week, I hope to gain a much better understanding of our current administrative and financial operations including the system software.
It is clear that there are some great things happening here at Woodford but there is also much that needs further development, support and revision. Three weeks of observation is nowhere near long enough to gain a full picture of our needs but I certainly have some key ideas that I would like to share with you all. I present these goals as clearly as possible and stress that these goals are not board policy but my reflections on what needs to happen. I would, therefore, welcome any feedback whether as a member of staff, a parent, a student or just an interested observer in all things Woodford.
Goals for consideration:
I strongly believe that all of these goals are achievable without huge financial sacrifices on the part of either parents or sponsor organisations. Of course, they can’t be met overnight but given widespread parental support they can come about much quicker than you might think.
Please send responses directly to me at
Warm regards to you all,
Woodford International School is now fully authorized to offer ‘A’ Level qualification from Cambridge International Examination (CIE). A Level is a world renowned senior secondary qualification and preferred by universities world-wide for direct admission into undergraduate programmes. This is keeping in line with the school vision to preparer learners who are “globally ready”.
I am delighted to invite you to attend an interactive information session on Friday, 5 PM, October 13, 2018 at Woodford International School. This is a must-attend session which will be followed by optional one-on-one interactions. It is highly recommended that the session be attended by all parents. Students can accompany. You can read more by visiting the website.
You can contact Mr Rakesh Pandey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 7920983
They said I would have to hit the ground running and they weren’t joking. It’s certainly been a very busy time of late here at Woodford but rewarding and enjoyable at the same time. The school community is an active one and there is so much for parents and students to be proud of. I have highlighted jus a few things in this Newsletter and express my thanks to the contributors. Apologies if my own late arrival in Term 3 has meant some activities have been missed out but just please provide any details or narrative regarding events and I will try to get them in a future edition.
There were two most enjoyable community events to end Term3 on a high sporting note. The WISE Field Day and the PYP Sports Carnival. Both were enormous fun and allowed for a good balance of participation for all and competitive spirit.
Although a good time was, I am sure, had by all it was not just about that. If you doubt the competitive edge you should certainly have witnessed the tug-of-war competition where students really dug in for their house and gave everything for victory. Indeed so many of the events showed the Woodford students the value of teamwork, efficiency and hard work. Hard physical effort like studying can be both rewarding and fun. It was also hugely gratifying for me to see so many older students engaging so comfortably with the younger students and relaying instructions in a thoroughly supportive manner (even if the older ones were left scratching their heads at times).
I know that students and spectators alike enjoyed and benefited both events. These activities build school spirit and allow parents to get a feel of the good things happening at Woodford. Many thanks to Ryan his team of IGCSE PE student helpers and all the Primary staff for their efforts, expertise and enormous patience. I’m sure they were all happy to enjoy the holiday at the end of it.
Woodford International School hosted Solomon Islands’ first ever ‘Tournament of Minds’ in September.
With special permission to pilot Tournament of Minds in Solomon Islands, Woodford teams went head-to-head entertaining and persuading a panel of expert judges about the merit of their solutions to a 4 week Engineering – Mathematics challenge.
Each team designed and produced a unique mechanical device capable of independently producing three distinct sounds, within a range of constraints. The teams were judged on the effectiveness and design of their devices, the quality of their dramatic presentations and mathematical explanations, their use of recycled materials and other criteria. The teams’ designs and presentations were totally different from each other, reflecting the students’ creativity and independence. In a tight battle, the ‘Rulers of Phenophalia’ took the title of TOM Champions.
TOM is a problem-solving programme for mixed-age teams of students from both primary and secondary years. Tournament of Minds was created in Australia thirty years ago and now involves tens of thousands of students each year from Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Thailand, South Africa and other countries in the region. Participants in TOM develop diverse skills, enterprise, time management, and the discipline to work collaboratively within a competitive environment. Participants in the inaugural Solomon Islands Tournament of Minds said TOM was also ‘super-challenging’, ‘incredibly rich with learning’ and ‘heaps of fun’.
Many thanks to all the participants, judges and advisors. A special thank you to Emily for initiating and coordinating the event.