We have spent considerable time reviewing Senior School, especially with a view to increasing choices and flexibility for boys as they enter their final years. In a sense, we have tried to ‘take the heat out’ of a system that had become overly rigid in its approach to A Levels. This is now evidenced in freeing up of the number required to be studied and the choice of whether to include or exclude English. While I believe English should be studied in H1, if it is not a pre-requisite study then a boy should be entitled to pursue other choices. In this event, international applicants have been advised to complete TOEFL or IELTS. In all cases, advice from the Guidance Counselor is essential.
Parents will know my preference for senior boys striking a good balance between work and physical activities and this, in part, lies behind the above recalibration. Being able to study 3 or 4 A Levels markedly increases the time available for guided and private study at school and involvement in sport and activities, as well as time to extend the quality of resumes through meaningful community service. Increasingly, international universities are looking for boys who interests in life extend beyond their grades. Aitchison is perfectly positioned to achieve this. I might also add that as a previous IB Principal, 3 A Levels is roughly time equivalent to the IB Diploma.
The positive and happy feeling throughout Senior School is a reflection of how well staff and students are relating. Mrs. Amina Kamran has established her calm, efficient style that I think suits older boys. There is a strong sense of working together toward a shared goal. The amending of the promotion policy has also aided that spirit: “If you start at Aitchison, you finish at Aitchison!” This is only fair as the ability of boys to improve rapidly and at different rates should always remind us that as long as attitude and effort remain strong, making judgements on ability can be premature and sometimes plainly wrong.
I cannot overstate the luxury of Aitchison being a Cambridge Examination Centre. We have fought hard to retain this distinction, which certainly helps ease the stress around examinations while ensuring safety. We are looking forward to a very good set of results and what should be, I hope, justifiable reward for effort. We wish our graduating boys the very best, in a year that has thus far been outstanding for university placements. Well done to our Guidance Office, Heads of Department and all teaching staff. For boys continuing on next year at Aitchison, I believe they can look forward to an even better year as we continue to improve what we do and how we do it. Parents can also look forward to more parents’ gatherings that will be posted on our website in due course. School leaders for 2016-17 will be advised by letter during the break.
I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday period. Well done to our boys.