KIS Head of Secondary Mr Gareth Eynon said he is extremely excited about this next phase in the school’s development and was looking forward to welcoming his first cohort of Sixth Form students in 2017. The internationally recognised A-Level qualification will be offered in a wide range of subject choices to prospective students and will be tailored to their needs.
Mr Eynon said, “The A-Level is considered a gold-standard qualification, recognised by universities and employers globally. At KIS I anticipate students will typically study four A-level subjects over the two year course in line with the future degree paths they are considering.”
Whilst emphasising that academic rigour will be central to the Sixth Form experience, Mr Eynon also stressed that the new program would not solely concentrate on academic study. There will also be a strong focus on preparing students for university life.
Through a varied Sixth Form study component, students will receive support and guidance in a range of areas, including: developing successful study skills and habits; careers advice; their search for the right university; preparing personal statements and applications and more.
“The overall vision for the Sixth Form reflects that promoted through the rest of the school – of building a culture with individual and community excellence at the core,” said Mr Eynon, adding, “We aim to create learning environments that are creative, rigorous and challenging, but also safe, supportive and nurturing, with students given plentiful opportunity to express their ideas and opinions; to develop their individual identities and voices.”
A strong focus on English skills will also be embedded in the Sixth Form experience, to ensure students continue to develop their English in preparation for the transition to university. Mr Eynon said, “Over the years, I’ve noticed that unless students continue their study of English when they reach Sixth Form, their level of fluency can plateau, even decline.
"It is important therefore that we build this provision into the course framework. I envisage a varied program of study involving debating, presentation skills and techniques, writing styles – whether formal or creative, and using language for the sheer enjoyment of it."
Providing guidance to students in finding and applying for their preferred university will also be a key part of the program. Especially so, given international students will be applying to a wide range of international universities.
“We want to ensure we are opening the most appropriate pathways for our students, whether that be in Thailand, Australia, the UK or wherever. One of the ways in which we will be measured in the future is by how successful we are in placing our students in their first choice university, or at the leading universities around the world,” Mr Eynon said.
The new program will also be a chance for teaching staff to spread their wings and teach at a more advanced level. Mr Eynon said that as the Sixth Form phase of the school grows more staff will be recruited to further strengthen the teaching provision currently benefiting the students.
“Many of our existing teachers have experience of A-level teaching and they are excited by the prospect of teaching at that level again next year. We have the capability and capacity within our existing staff to move comfortably into Sixth Form offering a broad range of subjects.
We are fortunate too that our student/teacher ratios are very favourable. This said, we anticipate additional staffing appointments will further supplement the specialist teaching knowledge within the team,” he said.
Mr Eynon also announced that scholarship awards will be available to students entering the Sixth Form program, whether existing students or those new to KIS, saying: “The scholarship program exists to support the school philosophy in recognising and celebrating students of exceptional talent, gifts and commitment.
"We are keen to attract the best students we possibly can; those that can demonstrate a history of high achievement with a genuine potential for improvement and further development. Someone who is going to make a significant contribution to the fabric of the school is the type of student we are looking for.”
Identifying the value that the senior students will bring to the school in promoting the ethos of responsibility and leadership, Mr Eynon said, “Our Sixth Formers will become beacons for the rest of the school to look up to. Our younger students will aspire to be like them, to emulate them. As the school’s student leaders they will carry real influence. I look to them to demonstrate all of the shared values of our school vision, including aspiration and ambition.
“If, when our students arrive on their first day at university, they are among those students at the forefront in the seminar rooms and lecture halls; leading discussions, with courteous voice; able to rationally present their opinions and to lead responsibly; then, we can claim to have been successful,” he said.