Richmond Park School is expanding rapidly and, in several senses, we have already reached a decisive moment in the growth of the secondary school. The Year 10 students, for example, are in the second term of their IGCSE programme. They are responding well to the increased demands of the examination syllabi. The fun and joy remain, but they realise they have entered a crucial period of their education. Their academic results will have an important impact on their lives, but they must, above all, seize the opportunity to broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding and to keep on enjoying the experience. The school has also been accepted for candidacy to become a World School by the International Baccalaureate. This process is rigorous and challenging and will result in key developments for the curriculum, staffing, resources and professional development over the next few years. We are delighted that we have achieved this recognition in such a short time.
As our students mature, they need increased support to face the complexities of modern society and of their own personal development. The school is creating new initiatives to prepare and advise them, including talks on relevant issues by experts, for example educational psychologists. We shall also be inviting parents to speak about their own professional experience, which will both help our students to learn about the world of work, and – in the case of Years 9 and 10 in particular- begin to consider career possibilities.
Secondary students also need to widen their horizons. They need to discover and explore new places, experience other cultures and create new links. The school is providing more opportunities for students to go on excursions, for example to historic places, cultural centres and special events, or to meet other groups of students. Over time, such activities will include not only residential trips to other parts of Spain but also visits and student exchanges with schools in other countries. These will advance significantly over the next few years and some specific plans are already in place.
As you know, the school believes that sport and the arts have to make a major contribution to students’ education and wellbeing. The physical education department is offering a rapidly increasing range of competitions and events and the students are reaching a high level and proving successful, at both an individual and team level. Similarly, the students’ work and performance in the arts is very impressive, some of which can be seen in the displays around the school.
These are just some of the ways in which Richmond Park School is building on the achievements of our primary school to ensure continuity and progression and to maintain the highest possible standards. We shall keep innovating and developing but also making sure we maintain the quality of what has already been achieved. As teachers, we must keep on learning.