Posted on November 15, 2016

Last week saw the long-awaited four day visit of the ISI Inspection team from Tuesday 8th November through until the afternoon of Friday 11th November.  The Independent Schools’ Inspectorate (ISI) is the main inspection body set up by the UK Department of Education for Independent Schools in the UK and overseas.  They sent a highly qualified team of educationalists to visit the school comprising:


Dr Stephen Grounds, the Lead Inspector, was an HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspector) for 17 years specialising in teacher training with a particular expertise in Science – he had previously been an A Level Chief Examiner and a Senior Lecturer in Science Education at university level.

Ms Monica Davies, a Team Inspector (Junior), is the Executive Assistant to the CEO/Principal of the British School of the Netherlands, having previously been a Deputy Head and Senior Curriculum Advisor in several Primary Schools.

Rebecca Layton-Short, a Team Inspector (Junior), is currently Head of the Junior School at Brighton College Al Ain in the UAE, having had previous leadership experience in Cairo and Shanghai.

Mrs. Susan Rix, Team Inspector (Early Years/ Foundation Stage), was the Head of Junior School at St. Christopher’s School, Letchworth until her retirement. She had previously been Head of two other UK Primary Schools as well as having seen service overseas in Italy and Nassau.

Mr. Peter Hamilton, Team Inspector (Senior), is currently Head of Haberdashers’ Aske’s, Elstree having previously led King Edward VI School in Southampton – two prestigious independent secondary schools in the UK.

Mr. Stephen Rogers, Team Inspector (Senior), is currently the Principal of the English International School of Prague, having previously been the Head of Secondary at the British School Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi.

Mr. Robert Youlton, Team Inspector (Senior), is currently Deputy Head Pastoral of St Andrew’s School in Kenya having previously been a Housemaster at Stonyhurst College in the UK and a Chartered Civil Engineer.


The team spent four days immersing themselves in the life of the school – lesson observations, meetings with a wide array of pupils from across the school, visiting assemblies, talking with staff in leadership roles as well as newly-arrived colleagues, watching extra-curricular activities, observing the start and end of the day – all these activities kept them extremely busy throughout a typically busy St. Catherine’s week!  Nor did they stop, at 6:00 pm returning to their hotel for team meetings and writing up sessions! The timeline now is as follows:


  • Monday, 28th November – the draft report will be sent to the school for perusal and response.
  • Monday, 12th December – the final report will be completed with a publication date two weeks thereafter at some stage over the Christmas holiday.


Dr Grounds and his team presented their initial findings to myself, the Senior Leadership Team and the Board of Governors at the end of last Friday afternoon and I look forward to sharing with you the final report in due course.


Sandwiched on either side of this busy Inspection week we saw yet another amazing PTSA Halloween Event on the Saturday 5th November.  Well over 1,500 people enjoyed the scary seasonal activities – the IB students once again excelled themselves with their most effective Haunted Houses, the carved pumpkins were as always brilliantly creative (making my role as judge extremely difficult)! The fireworks were noisy as well as spectacular, the list goes on and on – and of course the costumes and make-up of both children and parents were so atmospheric – another fabulous PTSA event!


This last weekend saw two other highlights of the St. Catherine’s year – the Athens Classic Marathon and Remembrance Sunday.  Dozens of students and staff ran in the marathon or shorter distance races on the Sunday finishing in the magnificent Kallimarmaro Stadium.  Some really incredible performance from all our runners.  On Friday 11th November at 11:00 the school stood in silent remembrance of those who had served and died in conflict since the Great War of 1914-1918 whilst on Sunday my wife and I joined the school Brownie Pack at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery at Faliro for the Remembrance Day Service.  Our children play an integral part in the service, presenting the wreathes to the various ambassadors and other dignitaries before they were laid at the Memorial – as always a most moving and spiritual experience.


Upcoming events this week:

Monday 14th November

  • JV Boys Football @ ACS
  • JV Girls Volleyball @ St. Lawrence
  • Loukia Nicola – Governor in school


Tuesday 15th November:

  • RC Trip to Creative Arts Centre (9-1pm)


Wednesday 16th November:

  • RA Trip to Creative Art Centre (9-1pm)


Thursday 17th November:

  • Lower School Open Day
  • Domna Bernitsa – Governor in school
  • Governors: Finance/ Resources Committee


Friday 18th November:

  • RB Trip to Creative Art Centre (9-1pm)
  • MUFTI Day (KS3 in aid of the Archelon turtles; KS4 & IB in support of UN World Toilet Day)


Saturday 19th November:

  • IA Bronze Expedition to Parnitha
  • Shaktor Indian Art Competition


Sunday 20th November:

  • Ktima Kokotos – Christmas Bazaar



Stuart Smith