The new school year has started well and there are many reasons for everyone in the community to be optimistic. In this newsletter we wish to summarise the key developments, improvements and initiatives.
A school’s facilities play an important part in pupils’ education. We believe that Richmond Park School offers an attractive, resourceful and stimulating environment for learning. Last year saw the dramatic change from the temporary facilities to the present building and further significant improvements have now been made. In the Early Years department, which forms a vital part of our school, we have developed the area outside the Reception classes, significantly improved the acoustics in the Pre-Nursery space, and created sensory and motor skills rooms to support children’s personal and physical development. We have also opened an EYFS library. The knowledge centre now has a glass division for the teaching area and we are continuing progress with the library area. In secondary, there are three new teaching spaces, including a well- resourced computer suite. The first phase of our three year plan for the performance centre has been completed with the installation of sound and lighting systems. There is also a new support room.
The school continues to grow rapidly. We now have almost 500 pupils and over 50 teaching staff. This expansion is in everyone’s interest as it creates more possibilities for progress in terms of resources, ideas, curriculum expansion and improved quality. Also, the very high level of staff retention means there is continuity of approach and greater knowledge and understanding of the children themselves.
Our curriculum is already enriched by co-curricular projects and we have appointed lead teachers for our sustainability, and communication and thinking skills projects. We have initiated our extra- curricular programme with 25 activities on offer. Key stage 3 students also have the option of early morning swimming sessions. One of the most exciting occurrences is the return of school trips. Pupils learn so much from being in different environments and having a chance to put theory into practice. Year 7 recently attended an opera and next week Years 8 and 9 are participating in a field trip in the ‘Sierra de Gredos’. Some of our students will also be competing in a local ‘Olympics’ event.
It is vital that parents are well informed about the school’s curriculum. The primary department has already organised sessions for parents and in secondary the director for education and coordinator have given an online introduction to the key stage 3 programmes. This is a critical year for Year 9 in particular as it is the final preparation for the start of the two year IGCSE examination course. There will be a further meeting in November to explain the examination system and the decisions which have to be made.
The school is gaining status and recognition each year. We are now members of the National Association of British Schools in Spain (NABSS) , which gives us access to key information, educational conferences and professional development. This week we received a visit from the Senior Manager for Europe of Cambridge International Examinations. He was very impressed by the school’s organisation, facilities and quality and we are confident we shall achieve authorisation soon as an official Cambridge examinations centre.
We hope this information inspires further trust, confidence and excitement. The senior leadership team is fully aware of the need to be critical, rigorous and, to an extent, cautious. The school needs to prove its worth over time and not only achieve quality but maintain it. These initiatives at least move us forward significantly and prepare us well for the challenges ahead.