Posted on August 7, 2020

As I am sure many of you will have noticed if you have driven past through the area throughout the month of July, both the new Upper School and the current School site have been hives of activity. I am delighted to inform you that this week St Catherine’s have taken over formal ownership of the new Upper School from Redex, the building contractors. Our working relationships with both Redex and Focal, the Project Managers, have been outstanding and they have delivered our vision of a modern and inspiring learning environment to the highest possible construction standards. We know that you will be in awe of our new Upper School and we believe that it will elevate St Catherine’s to even greater heights of educational achievement. Meanwhile we have also been working on the reconfiguration of the current site for the Lower School – we are utilising a number of spaces vacated by the Upper School to create more spacious classrooms for Years 5 and 6 as well as developing dedicated Lower School ICT, Science and Art spaces. I can also assure you that the additional extra space will enable us to avoid the need for an A/B cohort situation in the Lower School, should the government instruct schools to operate in such a way. We will provide more operational detail on both the Upper and Lower Schools as we move through the month of August ahead of the start of the new term on the 7th September.

I am also delighted to inform you about our new catering provision from September. We had a most impressive array of competitive tenders submitted at the beginning of July and the appointment panel comprising of myself, the Executive Leadership Team and governors went through a rigorous shortlisting process before inviting a “Final Four” to present their offer in person. Our final choice was a totally unanimous one and we are very excited about what the successful company will provide for our whole school community moving forward from the beginning of the new academic year.

The company have developed a novel, innovative nutrition project aiming to provide customised nutrition services to children in their school environment. The project is powered by CN KOOC, a company developing and operating high-end gastronomic concepts, the crown jewel of their business being their restaurants in the central agora of the luxurious Costa Navarino Resort in Messinia. The gastronomic footprint of the project is being guaranteed by the renowned, and for almost 20 consecutive years a Michelin Star awarded Chef, Lefteris Lazarou as well as one of the most promising and awarded chefs of his generation, Chef Giannis Parikos, whose creativity and culinary intelligence will ensure a unique nutritional journey for the St Catherine’s British School community. The core principles of their project revolve around a healthy and balanced nutritional diet which is essential for the global citizens of the future. The project will operate in a framework that implements the Ending Childhood Obesity Commission Plan of The World Health Organization and they will fully comply with national legislation on the quality of food served within schools.

Their meals are made of the purest of ingredients such as organic meat, fish, fruits & vegetables. They will offer vegetarian and/or vegan alternatives, gluten and lactose free products, sugar free deserts and beverages. Moreover, they will take all the necessary allergy and intolerance precautions. The project will be supported by a high-end cashless payment system which will be implemented through an innovative but also user-friendly platform. This platform will also provide information on the current as well as future menus as well as other special event features. Their operation too is inextricably linked to the adoption of environmentally friendly practices. Their philosophy encapsulates the belief that environmental responsibility is a term going far beyond the scope of simple compliance with underlying laws – it is also a parameter of long-term sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Through initiatives that eliminate plastic use, that recycle and compost waste and that use biodegradable and/or reusable food and beverage containers they will keep their environmental footprint to a minimum.

Already in the few weeks since their appointment we are convinced that they will not only support our educational philosophy of developing responsible global citizens but also provide a varied, nutritional and tasty menu. I am sure when you taste their food you will agree.

You will already be aware of our outstanding IB results released on the 5th July – these students had already posted a most impressive set of university offers and therefore their 36.7 IB average not only reflected these offers but also their diligence throughout their school careers.  Furthermore this 36.7 average is the second best in the history of St Catherine’s British School – an incredible achievement. However, the average never fully tells the individual stories of success and also to a lesser extent some initial disappointments. As always the Head of IB, Mrs Peters, and a number of her colleagues provide huge support in administering the re-mark process as well as the dialogue with the universities in order to overcome any obstacles enabling as many students as possible to realise their Higher Education dreams. We look forward to publishing the full and final list of university destinations in early September.

I hope that you are managing something of a break throughout the remainder of August and I look forward to providing more information on our fabulous new learning environments as we move towards the new term in September.

With all best wishes,

Stuart Smith