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11 Mar 2016

Friday, 11 March 2016

david-whalley-blogDear Colleagues

I attended the international task force on child protection, hosted at ESF Centre and was pleased to see so many colleagues from across the foundation as well as many representatives from other international schools based here in Hong Kong. The event was led by Jane Larsson, Executive Director for the Council of International Schools, with the focus on policy, recruitment and evaluation. It was positive that Jane made reference to the strong resources, strong policy and procedures that ESF has in place. However safeguarding and child protection will remain a high priority for the foundation and will be subject to ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

I will be taking a lead role in this important area from Term 3 and will be looking to liaise with Principals, staff, school councillors and other stakeholders to ensure our children are a safe as they can be.

I would like to thank Rebecca Clements, ESF Senior School Development Officer, Sandra Hite, Head of ESF International Kindergarten, Tung Chung and Jonathan Straker for so effectively providing information to a full house of over 200 prospective parents earlier this week. They shared their insights into the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), how to access an ESF education and how the ESF curriculum and approaches to learning and teaching help bring out the best in every student. The session was very well received and highlights the good work of so many colleagues in our schools.

Chris Durbin, also deserves a mention for his work in promoting athlete friendly education status within ESF. Very briefly, the aim is to secure accreditation from the World Academy of Sport that recognises and supports a balance of education achievement with sporting success. An MOU has already been signed with HKSI to support student athletes with their education and their training regime.

To support accreditation, representatives from WAoS have visited ESF secondary schools and their findings are currently being shared with schools. There were many positives noted around provision, student support and the strong sporting ethos that pervades throughout our schools, this focus on systematic pathways and opportunities for elite athletes will continue to develop. Well done Chris, a fine piece of work and many thanks to all the schools for their continuing commitment to this agenda.

It has been a hectic week for all with a number of meetings taking place with school principals. I have had the privilege of meeting all principals and heads of school regarding future staffing organisation within the ESF centre and will be collating this feedback prior to the Easter break. I think it is a real positive that school leaders are not only prepared to give their time but also their views and support in considering the future direction of the foundation. I fully intend to build on this partnership by ensuring communication is effective and other key stakeholders are well informed as to future developments.

A reminder that the stakeholder survey will open next week, I ask that this is promoted as widely as possible as the value of the exercise is so reliant on the number of responses. Thanks to Dave Kirby for his ongoing efforts in ensuring this process is a success.

This weekend sees the first of  a number of events to mark the farewell of Jonathan Straker as he returns to the UK after 32 years of service to ESF children. I shall be joining him later this evening and I am sure there will be many colleagues from across the foundation who will also be in attendance or will be sending their good wishes between now and Easter. I think my biggest problem will not be finding the venue in Aberdeen but rooting out a suitable tie, plain and conservative is not Jonathan’s sartorial preference so it could be tricky.

David Whalley