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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lyn Watts who visited our school for two days in September to consider how we might improve our curriculum delivery. Her bright, wholehearted personality, considerable classroom experience and sound common sense ensured the two days were not only inspiring and informative but also fun. As a fellow professional it was a joy to meet someone so keen and able to foster school improvement. It is no wonder her services are in such high demand throughout Australia. I am sure her visit will lead to considerable improvement in teaching and learning here at Woodford and hopefully lead to further visits in the near future. Also a huge thank you to Judy Martin our Teaching and Learning Director who accompanied and advised Lyn throughout her tour. Both Judy and I will lead a PD event for teachers after their return from break to look at ways we can incorporate Lyn’s ideas into our work here. Parents can read Lyn’s initial insights in the School below:
Lyn Watts Report
Thank you for your invitation to review the beautiful Woodford International School. It was a joy to spend last week with you observing quality classrooms and engaged learners across the school. I have completed an audit of Teaching, Learning and curriculum and can now make the following observations:
Lessons have clear learning intentions with goals that clarify what success looks like.
Sound lesson structures reinforce routines, scaffold learning via specific steps/activities. Planned sequencing of teaching and learning activities stimulate and maintain student engagement
Explicit teaching practices clearly show students what to do and how to do it.
Collaborative learning is supported by designing meaningful tasks. It involves students actively participating in negotiating roles, responsibilities and outcomes.
Questioning opens up opportunities for students to discuss, argue, and express opinions and alternative points of view.
Differentiated teaching methods teachers extend the knowledge and skills of every student in every class, regardless of their starting point.
Clearly Woodford aims to lift the performance of all students, including those who are falling behind and those ahead of year level expectations. In order to ensure that all students master objectives, effective teachers plan lessons that incorporate adjustments for content, process, and product.
The curriculum design is also very successful. Primary School students undertake the International Baccalaureate (PYP), while Middle School students participate in the Cambridge/AICE Program and Senior School students are measured against the Solomon Islands National Curriculum. These internationally recognised curricula provide excellent guidance as to effective teaching and learning processes as well as curriculum planning, development and evaluation of learning.
It is clear that the Woodford International School highly values the relationships between teachers and students, and students with their peers. There is considerable evidence to support the school strategic plan statement that,
“WIS is a community of learners that builds on each child's strengths, drawing from our diverse local context and a rich international curriculum, to develop globally ready learners equipped to shape their future and achieve their dreams.”
A sad farewell
Regrettably for Woodford International School, our Acting Head of School, Ms Rachel MacKinnon, has been offered a compelling new international school leadership opportunity in Europe. Unfortunately for the students, staff and community of Woodford, this means Ms MacKinnon will finish in her current role on Friday 11 August 2017.
The Board, on behalf of the whole School Community, thanks Ms MacKinnon for her many contributions to the school over the last two years – as PYP Coordinator, Deputy Head for Learning and, since December 2016, as Acting Head of School. Ms MacKinnon has worked tirelessly and effectively in stewarding the school through a challenging period and we thank her for her efforts, her commitment and the significant value she has contributed to all aspects of the school. We are stronger as a school now than we were this time last year, and Ms MacKinnon has provided a strong foundation on which to build our school going forward. We wish her all the best in her new role.
Woodford will welcome Mr Anthony Baron as the new Head of School on 28 August 2017. Mr Baron has made a minimum three-year commitment to the School, recognising that we need stability as we introduce the new Cambridge A Levels senior school curriculum next year and continue to improve the quality and systems at Woodford. Mr Baron and Ms MacKinnon are in regular discussions to ensure a smooth transition of school management roles and responsibilities and the Leadership Team is ready and able to fill the brief gap between Ms MacKinnon’s departure and Mr Baron’s arrival, supported by the Board.
A concurrent strength and challenge of life in international schools is the relatively high ‘turnover’ of teachers and students – each new person brings fresh ideas, energy and perspectives but each farewell brings a touch of sadness too. As a Board, we are mindful that Ms MacKinnon’s departure could be challenging for some students and teachers, who will miss her greatly. If you feel your child is struggling to adjust, please reach out to their class teacher so they can help to support your child through the transition period.
At our meeting on 29 July, Board members thanked Ms Rachel MacKinnon for her service to the Board as Acting Head of School. We also elected Ms Bernadette Ombu to take over as Secretary of the Board.
Policy Development – draft fraud policy
In 2016, the Board adopted the school’s first ‘strategic policies’ to support efficient, fair and transparent administration of the school. Our first Strategic Policies Compendium addressed key school management and governance issues but the Board is committed to further developing and refining the compendium to strengthen the school. At our meeting on 29 July, the Board agreed to publish a draft Fraud Policy (emailed to parents) for public consultation. The Board welcomes comments and suggestions from parents, students and teachers on how to improve the policy. After considering feedback on the draft policy, the Board intends to refine the policy with a view to adopting it at the next Board meeting on 30 August.
Please send any comments or suggestions on the draft policy to firstname.lastname@example.org by 16 August. The Board aims to publish consultation drafts of child protection and fundraising policies following its next meeting.
Get in touch
As always, the WIS Board welcomes your comments and suggestions – please do not hesitate to contact us on email@example.com, or any one of us in person – we would love to hear from you.