As you are already aware, Saigon Star is currently aiming to be the first IPC-accredited school in Vietnam. Accreditation, for us, has three key benefits:
- It helps to drive school improvement for our learners.
- It provides a challenging goal for our teachers, that bonds our team and helps to foster a high-retention rate.
- It gives our community a strong reason to feel proud of our school.
That being said, accreditation is not something that is achieved easily; it is something that we have been working towards for nearly two years already. Key to its success is the quality of teaching and learning that takes place in our classrooms and a culture of constant improvement.
As a school which also follows UK standards closely, we are encouraged to follow the Department for Education’s Standards for Teachers’ Professional Development (2016):
‘Effective teaching requires considerable knowledge and skill, which should be developed as teachers’ careers progress. High-quality professional development requires workplaces to be steeped in rigorous scholarship, with professionals continually developing and supporting each other so that pupils benefit from the best possible teaching.’
Given its importance then, what we want to aim to do is invest more time in teacher’s professional development without adding to their already-heavy workloads. That requires us to think differently. Currently, professional development at Saigon Star is reserved for Wednesday afternoons between 3.45-5.00pm. What we would plan to do is increase this length of time so that teachers have greater opportunities for collaborative planning, training, reflection and other activities that will improve learning at our school.
More and more, schools around the world are thinking similarly. As an example, the International School of Koje, South Korea, introduced a similar change two years ago and is now the first school in the world to achieve mastering status with the International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC).
The education system in Finland offers another good example. In Finland, children only spend 20 hours at school per week (including lunchtime), yet is regarded as the leading education system in the world. A third of all schools is France also returned to a four-day week recently.
Overall, we believe that this change will have a significant impact on the quality of teaching and learning at Saigon Star, and our aspirations for the school. That being said, we are very mindful that this decision will cause disruption to families but hope that you will be supportive and understanding of the school’s goals. For that reason, Ms Jennifer has very kindly compiled a list of extra-curricular activities that are available in the city. Once we have decided on the best way to present this, it will be shared with all families.
If anyone has any further questions or concerns, these can be emailed to [email protected]starschool.edu.vn