We are so excited to have started our newly established Career Guidance Program (CGP) at Woodford International School.
What is the CGP?
The goal of the CGP is to guide students through an exploration and planning process to ensure a seamless transition from secondary school to their chosen post-secondary pathway.
What is currently happening in CGP?
This semester, Dawn Bennett (a volunteer with a number of years of experience in career coaching, international recruitment and counselling) and Rachel MacKinnon (Deputy Head for Learning) are helping PSSC students explore interests, careers, colleges, scholarships, and more. The process involves self-exploration, career exploration, career planning and management activities, in which students learn about themselves and the options available to them.
What about the other students who are not in PSSC?
Alex Haro (Secondary School Principal) has arranged guest speakers to speak at assemblies about their careers and has been running an after school activity encouraging entrepreneurs. We hope to extend the CGP to IGCSE 1 and IGCSE 2 students in the near future. Following this, we will extend the program to students in Years 6 – 8. IGCSE 1 and 2 students will be involved in our Career Encounter Sessions this term. Our Career Encounter Sessions are times when we invite guest speakers into school to speak with IGCSE 1 through PSSC students about their career and the various pathways they have taken to get where they are today. We have had a number of speakers this term and are excited to welcome more throughout the rest of the year.
What can I do as a parent or guardian?
Our CGP is not complete without participation from the family. Parents and families play a critical role in helping students plan for post-secondary success by providing support and guidance alongside educators. Talk with your child at home about their strengths and talents, their future aspirations, and what type of post-secondary pathway they might be interested in: career, technical school, two-year college, four-year university, apprenticeships, military or volunteer service, etc. Encourage your child to explore various avenues in an effort to find the correct ‘fit’ for them.
PHOTO 2 and 3 - Coen Butters (Pediatric Education) and Kim Ackhurst (Pediatric Nurse) and Florence Rocky (Nurse Educator) working at the National Referral Hospital spoke to us about the wonderful world of medicine and exciting initiatives here in Honiara.
At the beginning of each school year our teachers identify areas in which they want/need to improve to become a more effective teacher. This happens in the form of targets. Each teacher, with recommendations from the Principal, sets two targets in the area of teaching and learning (teacher effectiveness) and two targets for their personal professional development (enhance teaching). Six of our teachers identified their English skills as an area for improvement. To help these teachers achieve this target, the school has enrolled them in the IELTS exam, which is in October. The teachers have been taking classes twice a week to get ready for this exam.
IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of people who want to study or work where English is the language of communication.
IELTS is recognised and accepted by over 9,000 organisations worldwide, including universities, employers, professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies.
Academic or General Training
IELTS is available in two test formats – Academic or General Training –and provides a valid and accurate assessment of the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
The level of the test
IELTS is designed to assess English language skills across a wide range of levels. There is no such thing as a pass or fail in IELTS. Results are reported as band scores on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest).
IELTS nine-band scale
9 Expert user
8 Very good user
7 Good user
6 Competent user
5 Modest user
4 Limited user
3 Extremely limited user
2 Intermittent user
1 Non user
0 Did not attempt the test
This year is a trial so the school can review if the IELTS exam and the practice that is involved to get ready for the exam, is effective for the improvement of the level of English of our teaching staff. If this is the case, we will continue to enroll teachers for the exam next year.
The Board recently held its first meeting of term 4. You will already be aware of one decision – as the library was reported to be unsafe, the Board decided that it should be closed immediately. This is clearly an inconvenience, but a minor one in comparison to the imperative to ensure the safety of students and staff. Next steps will be considered following inspection by a qualified engineer.
Fees for 2017 will rise by 2% - unchanged in real terms, and adjusted only for inflation. The Board and management are looking closely at the cost structure of the school, aiming to ensure high quality teaching and learning at the lowest possible cost. This will not be achieved at the expense of teacher salaries, where the Board has asked the Head of School to continue working with teachers on a proposal that can be fair and transparent, and create longer term career pathways. The Board aims to agree a longer term plan for fees as part of its strategic planning exercise currently underway.
The Board and management are nearing a final decision about whether to extend Woodford to year 12 (Solomon Islands Form 7). While we are keen to offer a full educational program, the Board is concerned that this must be done to a high standard. We hope that a decision on this will be announced very shortly.
Finally, after two and one half years as chair – the longest serving chair for over 20 years – Greg Terrill has resigned to return with his family to Australia. Emily Follett was elected by the Board to replace Greg. Emily brings a wealth of experience to the position, through her experience as a diplomat, lawyer and having lived in a number of different countries. Emily is supported by a very strong Board. Please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or any one of us in person – we would love to hear from you.
Woodford is a unique place. It occupies a privileged position in Solomon Islands, though while it may be elite it must never become elitist. Through the efforts of teachers in particular, Woodford strives to share with the community some of the benefits of its position as the country’s leading school.
The school is fortunate to have some wonderful, dedicated teachers, and supporting them is a critical part of the Board’s function. The Board has for a long time advocated more assistance and training for teachers, and is delighted at the progress being made this year, and the plans for the future. This will help our teachers realise their potential, and in turn our children achieve theirs.
Woodford charges, in the context of Solomon Islands, high fees. The reason for this is to enable it to deliver an international standard education – and to demonstrate that it is doing so. One of the most significant developments of recent times is that, later this year, Woodford will for the first time begin to benchmark itself against international standards. Having objective information is long overdue, and will help parents better understand what their children gain from Woodford, as well as assisting the school to plan for continual improvement.
Education is a three-way effort – between children, teachers and parents/guardians. Each have a role to play, and must take the initiative to play it. This year good progress has been made in strengthening three-way communication though (as is always the case in regards to communication) more could be done – on all sides.
Woodford is making excellent progress to delivering a world-class education, and must keep striving to do so.
Woodford is fortunate to have a strong team of parents willing to serve, giving their time to help make the school a better place. I have had the pleasure of working with some excellent Board members, and wish to particularly acknowledge the current Board – Emily Follett (chair), Bronwyn Besley (now in her second term as deputy chair), Dennis Lee (also in his second term, as Treasurer), Bevan Vollrath (now in his third term on the Board), Josua Naisau, Bernadette Ombu and Steve Johnston. These parent representatives work hard, for free, and without much that is visible to show for their efforts. They are ably supported by the Board’s teacher members, Leonora Houma and Denis Smith (both serving their second terms), and of course the Head of School Dwight Mott.
The school is now going through a stage of community engagement and enhanced professionalization, after years of good growth but underdeveloped engagement, information and systems. It remains in the most capable of hands to deliver on its motto, ‘Higher Aspirations’.
I am honoured and excited to have been elected by the Woodford Board as its Chair. I have very big shoes to fill – Greg Terrill has been an outstanding Chair over the last two and half years and, on behalf of the Board, I thank him for his vision, energy and commitment to Woodford International School.
While Woodford is my first experience of an international school, I have been fortunate to have the benefit of studying in different countries (Australia, where I am from, as well as Japan, China and Canada), as well as the opportunity to live and work in a number of countries. These experiences have helped to shape my understanding and expectations of ‘international education’ and I look forward to sharing these ideas and skills with you as I take on responsibility for leading our ‘international’ school board.
I am committed to continuing the Board’s work to strengthen Woodford’s governance arrangements, to build on our many strengths and to ensure the school has the resources, systems and culture to provide the best possible international education in Solomon Islands.
If we have not yet met, please introduce yourself to me – I can often be found around the Kindy and Prep classrooms and will be regularly attending both primary and secondary assemblies and other school events. Please also feel free to reach out to me with any concerns, suggestions or other input via email at email@example.com.
In our new Unit on – “How we organise ourselves” we the year 5’s went for a field trip to the FFA. The purpose of this field trip is to observe how fishing affects the environment and to see how fishing contributes to the economic growth of this country. We learnt a lot of things but it was very interesting to see that;
We would like to thank;
This term we have started using the Cambridge Secondary One curriculum Framework – schemes of work. The unit for this term is non-fiction: An introduction to journalistic writing.
The unit began with an investigation of the structural and linguistic features of newspaper report. The students have been working in groups on various activities where they have been focusing on learning about the basic features of a news report.
This week their task was to shorten an original (rather long) article taken from the Solomon newspaper. They were given the scenario of being employers in a newspaper report editing team. They had to present a shortened form (by half) of the article to be ready for printing a.s.a.p.! They worked as a team to identify the most important information, and then rewrite the article so that the key points still came over.
Happy to report that all groups met the deadline!