Posted on February 18, 2019

Another hectic action-packed half term draws to a close with the weather as bitter and unpredictable as it was at the start of January! One of the delights at this time of year is to see our pupils, young and old, head up to the Conference Room to take their LAMDA examinations – a sense of expectation and trepidation can be seen on their faces but they always perform incredibly well. We look forward to some excellent results in due course.

The recent newsletters from both the Upper and Lower School are full of activities keeping our children busy out of lessons: the KS4/IB Creative Art Trip to London saw a visit to the Tate Modern, British Museum, the Jimi Hendrix House, the Handel Museum as well as visits to the theatre to see ‘’The Phantom of the Opera’’ and ‘’Wicked’’; the KS3 Student Council visiting ‘’I Kivotos tou Kosmou’’ (Ark of the World) to donate a cheque of €500 and spend time with children there; CAS students hosting a birthday party for Refugee children on the 3rd February and creating an art piece reflecting the things that unify our different worlds; a group of Year 10 to Year 12 students attending the annual International Model United Nations five day conference in The Hague representing the Comoro Islands – a global engagement developing communication and negotiating skills; Year 3 pupils visiting the Dr Peiramatix Science and Art Centre in Halandri and having great fun taking part in a variety of inter-active experiments furthering their scientific awareness; our World School Games team, drawn from Year 5 & 6, performing superbly in Dubai against 19 other international schools in Athletics, Football and Swimming. They had great fun ‘’snowboarding’’ on sand and riding camels out in the desert but also competing really well against some huge Middle Eastern schools and the awesome athletes from Africa – an overall 10th place was a superlative performance – well done team!

The end of January is traditionally the Vasilopita Cake cutting time of the year and as always this was celebrated right across the school. I also attended the annual Vasilopita Ceremony of our good friends and partners at the Tositsa Foundation. Our partnership enables the school to lease their land to use as our sports pitches and every year we present a cheque to their all-round best student of the year. If you are not aware the Tositsa Foundation provides a student Hall for 75 young men from the area around Metsovo who attend university in the centre of Athens. The students, who are selected every year depending on the financial status of their family as well as their performance at school, are accommodated free of charge in the yellowy building between the school and the Garden Centre.

In my last blog, I made reference to the PTSA St. Cats Acts ‘’Cook for Good’’ event and I have attached the Autumn Term General Meeting notes to this blog – this meeting always looks at developing further the communication channels and awareness of our vibrant and busy school community and is indicative of the nature of our school community.

This half term has ended with the Year 13 busy completing their IB Extended Essays whilst the current Years 9 & 11 have begun the process of considering their IGCSE and IB options for next year at our annual Guidance Evening last night. The intellectual demands placed on our older students are indeed rigorous and brilliant preparation for the world of Higher Education – a fact well illustrated by a recent visit of a group of our Year 13 students to the Megaron to listen to renowned Oxford historian, Dr Steve Smith, lecture and answer questions on the theme ‘’Russia and China – a comparison on structural revolutions’’.  A truly academic and mind-stretching experience!

Last week saw a whole range of ongoing ICT learning experiences as the school focused on the celebration of ‘Safer Internet Day’ on the 5th February. I would urge our whole parent community to engage with their children on this aspect of internet usage. Whilst our children learn so much from this horizon-expanding resource, it is also full of more insidious and negative potential. We have to work together to ensure our children stay safe and free from harassment in the privacy of their social media world.

I have also attached to this blog the School Calendar for 2019-2020. I apologise for the slight delay in the publication of this important holiday planning aid, but as I am sure you are aware, the delay is linked to the uncertainty about the opening of the new building. Whilst I am delighted at the current progress across the road, you will not be surprised to know that ultimately we are having to postpone the opening of Phase One of our vision for a new school. The archaeologists have made excellent progress on their excavation of both Roman-era and Neolithic settlements but at the moment about 20% of the site is yet to be released back to Redex, our building contractors. Therefore, with a likely excavation end date of the end of March, the original date of September 2019 for our move into the new building has been postponed. We are currently working on a comprehensive transition plan for a move in early 2020. On a more positive note, Redex are making excellent progress on those areas of the building that have been released to them by the archaeologists and our designs for a multi-sports complex on the Wella site are also coming along really well. Lower School parents should also be reassured that we are also looking at Phase Three of our vision – the initial reconfiguration of our current site when the Upper School move over the road and the redevelopment of the Lower School. The good news is that everything is moving forward, albeit slowly, but we are moving forward together. As always, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support of everything we endeavour to do for your children and their futures.

Wishing you a pleasant and enjoyable half-term break.

 

Best Wishes

 

Stuart Smith

Headmaster