It has been a week of reflection, fun, sharing memories and making new ones as our Year 13 have had their last ever formal lessons at Alice Smith and, together with Year 11 and 12, prepare for their study leave. We have been treated to a week of different themes for dressing up each day, from memes to pop culture and even school uniform! As is tradition on their last day, Year 13 have been hard at work since the early hours ‘decorating’ the school with ‘in’ jokes for their teachers and interesting items with both creativity and humour. Today had a space theme and Year 13 bought and planted a tree for the school - we are incredibly touched and hope that you will return in the years to come to see it grow. Our graduating class of 2018, your many achievements, humour and dedication to the school and your studies will long be remembered.
Written exams began yesterday with GCSE Geography and I know that you will join with me to wish all students taking exams this summer all the very best. We know that they have worked hard and will be successful this summer and in the future. It is also worth noting that even if school is closed for public holidays, external examinations will still take place. Lots of helpful information about examinations can be found on our Examination website and we encourage both parents and students to use this as a resource.
Our Faculty Focus continues this week with Humanities and Social Sciences. Please remember that next Wednesday is a Public Holiday and I hope you have a lovely weekend.
Faculty Focus: Humanities and Social Sciences
Business Studies & Economics - Mr Small, Ms Coryton, Ms Keeling, Mr Russool.
Geography - Mr Williams, Ms Chew, Mr Shine.
General Studies/Global Perspectives - Ms Green.
History - Mr Kimura-Davies, Ms Green, Mr Howard, Dr Osowiecki.
Psychology - Ms Dickens, Ms Gibson, Ms Graham.
Sociology - Ms Graham, Ms Gibson.
Business Studies, Economics, Geography, History and Psychology are all offered from (I)GCSE and through to AS and A level, and Sociology and General Studies/Global Perspectives at A Level.
What is special about our faculty?
We are the life skills faculty: by studying Sociology, History, General Studies/Global Perspectives, Business & Economics, Geography and Psychology, students understand the world that has been, the world that is and the world as it may become. Moreover, by developing and applying the skills of critical thinking, problem solving and analysis common to all Humanities and Social Sciences subjects, students have the power to shape what the world will become. We reflect on the world’s people, environment and history and we apply our shared understanding to real world situations. Studying the Humanities and Social Sciences means studying the world and ourselves; it means becoming an empathetic communicator with an understanding of diversity. It means building thinking skills for life.
Our highlights so far
We have been heavily involved with the Wider Learning Days and providing for our students outside of the general academic curriculum, with our Humanities and Social Sciences Travel Show for Year 7 and the Year 11 Mental Wellbeing event, post mock exams in January. We have staff that contribute and lead activities that help provide further experiences for our students through the Model United Nations and Duke of Edinburgh activities. Business & Economics welcomed back Professor John Sessions from the University of Bath for a fifth lunchtime lecture in the past six years. Geography has continued to offer learning opportunities through off-site field work, both in Malaysia and Thailand, whilst History is in the process of finalising details for its 2018 Berlin Trip. Following the success of the 2015 Tokyo trip, 2016 Seoul trip and 2017 Shanghai trip, Business & Economics are collaborating and finalising with Media Studies for the 2018 Bollywood Trip. Not only are we the most extensive faculty in terms of range of subjects offered, but we extend the furthest outside of the walls of our classrooms.
Our strategic priorities
This year we have been focusing as a team on ensuring that we are in a position of strength to move into our new improved facilities in the 2018/19 academic year. The New Humanities and Social Sciences building is in its final phase of construction and will be handed over to us as a faculty team in readiness for our move during Term 3. We have been ensuring that as a team the new build will meet our expectations and be a facility that we can be proud of - a faculty that will provide the best possible learning environment for our students for the 21st century. To match the high quality facilities, we continue as a faculty to innovate with our curriculum in Key Stage 3 and develop our Key Stage 4 and 5 provision to ensure our students are best prepared to further their learning in the years beyond their school life.
As a faculty, we are waiting with keen enthusiasm to get our hands on our new faculty building and to then discover how we can use this to maximise the involvement and enjoyment of students within the Humanities and Social Sciences...but before that, we are looking forward to our students approaching their (I)GCSE and A Level examinations with the confidence and knowledge that they are ready and prepared to achieve. We also have the exciting prospect of the Berlin Trip 2018 and the Bollywood Trip 2018 to look forward to...and as the experience shared has been so positive, we are looking at ways that our faculty can extend on this and be in a position to offer more, so watch out for an even greater presence and opportunity to engage with the Humanities and Social Sciences in Trips Week 2019.
In Drew Gilpin Faust’s installation address as President of Harvard University, October 12, 2007 (Harvard University website www.harvard.edu), she said:
“A university is not about results in the next quarter; it is not even about who a student has become by graduation. It is about learning that molds a lifetime, learning that transmits the heritage of millenia; learning that shapes the future.”
We could not agree more and will strive to embed this vision, with all we do in our Humanities and Social Sciences faculty in the years to come.
R H Kimura-Davies. May 2018.
History - Year 7 display their work on castles.
History - A Level students theatre trip to watch ‘Shadow in the Sun”
History and Geography - students at work on the WLD2 Travel Show
Sociology - A Level students revising sociologists and theory
Have a lovely weekend,
Dr Sarah Howling
Principal - Secondary Campus
Click here for this week's full issue - 4th May 2018