BIS News Update: Monday 10th March 2014

Weekly Review

In addition to their normal duties, all members of staff attended a Teacher's Workshop looking at student feedback. As part of our focus on learning, staff looked at methods by which students can show their levels of understanding. Drawing on ideas from the experts and their own considerable expertise, teachers engaged in a very lively debate on the issue.

The initial outcome of this debate being a change in the way student performance is monitored in order to more closely track learning.  Students facing difficulties will be placed in an 'Academic Review' in which they will play an integral part in monitoring their own learning. It is generally agreed in educational circles that a review of what is taught in a lesson is a great aid to learning. Also, by asking students what they have learnt, teachers can gauge how far students understand the stated learning targets of the lesson. Students on 'Academic Review' are thus required to analyse each lesson by stating three things they learnt in the lesson, two things that surprised them and formulating at least one question, on an area they want extra support with, ready for the next lesson. We believe this approach will further involve students in their own learning and have a positive impact on the overall process.

We are delighted to report that the uptake of places for the 2014 -2015 Academic Year has been very positive and would therefore advise the parents of existing BIS students to ensure younger siblings, of the appropriate age, are registered as soon as possible. All registration details are available from the Registrar's office.

Earlier this week, Effort and Attainment Grades were sent out, if for any reason, you have not received your child's report, please contact the Registrar.

Later this term, your son/daughter will receive a draft of the report that will be sent home at the end of term. In this report, they will be required to make judgments about their own learning skills. At the end of term, they will have the opportunity to compare their own view with that of their teachers, again, the process of getting students to think about their own learning. Reports to parents will be issued at the Parent Teacher Conferences on Friday April 11th.

Our active P. T. A. was busy this week with the Executive Committee Meeting on Wednesday, followed by a general meeting on Friday. The P. T. A. is working on a number of events and all support is most welcome. Dates for your diary should include:

Friday 28th March 2.35pm - A Zumbathon to raise funds for charity - cost N1000.

Saturday 5th April - PTA Lunch to which parents and teachers are most cordially invited. N5000 per person. The PTA sees this as an opportunity for parents to meet and to get to know teachers while at the same time appreciating the work done in the classroom.

In addition to the above, the PTA is working on a number of student-based activities, which include supporting the Lower School Formal Dinner, the Shakespeare Production and next term Leavers' Ball.

At the General Meeting, parents in attendance listened to a talk from a company offering to set up a Trust Fund to cover student fees. All present supported the basic idea but wanted to see more details as to how it would meet the needs of a school like ours. A group of PTA members is now looking at various alternatives in this area.

When students ask what acceptable language is, my response is, 'if you can't say it in front of your mother, it should not be said'. At the General Meeting, a concerned parent raised the issue of students using bad language. This is a difficult issue to deal with as our children are exposed to profane language in the media, etc.

As a school, we model appropriate language and set high expectations alongside those of our parent body. Only by maintaining these expectations and modelling appropriate language and behaviour at home and at school, can we influence our children. Unfortunately, we don't always have control of what our children hear, so we must keep on stressing the importance of appropriate language. In the end, our children will make their own choice as to what is right or wrong and we must have done everything in our power to influence the right decision. This is not an issue the school or parents can solve alone, we must continue to support each other.  

Once again, the school has had a number of visitors most notably, Dr. Andrew Carruthers of Bradford University and Mrs. Rachael Borland of DLD College, London. Both were impressed by the demeanor of our students and their high academic aspiration. It is always a pleasure to take visitors around our school, as our students are a credit to us and especially to you their parents.

Our Year 10 group appears to be very popular having been invited to a number of prestigious events here in Lagos. Just before half term, a group attended a UN Conference on the importance of mother tongues, taking part in internet discussions with students from Kazakhstan and Zimbabwe. Last Friday, a number of students attended the Nigerian Prize for Literature Award Ceremony. On both occasions, they presented themselves in the manner we would expect of BIS students.

Last week, we unfortunately had a small fire in one of the Boarding Houses. This was caused by an electrical fault and dealt with very quickly by our support team.

Thanks to the efficiency of Mr. Ayensu and the co-operation of the boys, the house was evacuated quickly and no one was placed in any danger. As a result of this, the students have been re-housed and the status of all electrical and fire safety equipment reviewed. Should any parent have any concerns about this incident, they are advised to contact the Principal directly.

A number of important  events will take place next week, on Tuesday 11th March, school photographs will be taken, weather permitting. We hope everyone will be ready to smile in full school uniform. Some of us might need to get up early to ensure we are duly scrubbed and polished for the event! Thursday 13th March, we have our Year 9 Careers' Forum in which students will complete self evaluations and meet professionals from various disciplines. Lastly, on Friday 14th March, the Student Council will be running a 'Character Day' in support of the School Library. Students are asked to come to school dressed as book characters, the 'cost' for this pleasure will be N2000 or the donation of a book, new and old, if serviceable, to our school library.

Congratulations to Mr. Ojo, English Department, and his wife on the safe arrival of a baby daughter.

We also said farewell to Mr. Wilson Udofia who is moving to a school closer to his origins here in Nigeria.

Saturday 15th March, is the last formal testing date for places in the 2014 - 2015 School Year.

One last note this week, it was a real pleasure to meet with so many parents and be involved in such positive decisions about the issues that affect both parents and the school. We have a very vibrant P. T. A. here at B. I. S. whose support, I am grateful for and I would urge all parents to support it in whatever way they can.

Have a great week.

With best wishes.

Peter Yates,