September's Monthly Newsletter

Welcome to our first newsletter of the academic year 2020/21

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A WELCOME FROM THE HEADMASTER, Mr Michael Bayes

During the coming three terms we will aim to give you a monthly insight into what has been happening at Kensington. Given that there are so many activities taking place, and the newsletter has to be of a readable length, we will have to be selective but we hope to provide you with a broad and balanced update on the achievements of our talented students.

The following contributions refer to September, our first month back at school following six long months of absence due to the pandemic. I have been hugely impressed by the way in which our whole community has adapted to all the new procedures in general, and to wearing masks all day in particular. My sincere thanks go to all parents for their support and understanding at this most unusual time.

Upon their return both teachers and students were most impressed by the recent improvements undertaken; a new state-of-the-art theatre, significantly upgraded outdoor areas and the whole building having been repainted from top to bottom. Kensington continues to develop its facilities and invest in new technology despite the coronavirus.

The achilles heel of many international schools is high staff turnover. We are very different with a remarkably low turnover of teaching staff. No-one left this summer and we have employed two additional part-time teachers in order to keep our groups small and Covid-19 secure.

Caroline Williams re-joins us as a maths specialist after a year away from Barcelona. A graduate of the University of Oxford with considerable teaching experience, we are delighted to welcome her back to the Senior School.

The Junior School staff has been strengthened by the appointment of Michelle Dooley who has worked for us previously as a supply teacher. She has a Masters degree from Dublin and has taught in both Ireland and Uganda before coming to Spain.

Given the increased importance of keeping the school spotlessly clean we have also enhanced our excellent cleaning team.

One of the joys of September is seeing lots of new faces in our classrooms. This year we have welcomed new pupils from all around the world to enhance our reputation as a truly international community. Azerbaijan, China, Italy, Russia, South Korea, Sweden,Turkey, Ukraine and, of course, the UK all feature on our list of new students starting their Kensington school careers. We look forward to getting to know them well in the coming months, a process our small size makes so much easier.

They have joined a long-established, traditional and thriving family school with a forward-looking approach to education. To keep our teachers up-to-date with all the latest developments in teaching and learning next week we welcome back Tricia Taylor, a leading authority on cognitive practice. She will be meeting many of our pupils from Junior 4 to Form 3………...but more about that in our next newsletter.

We all look forward to another purposeful, enjoyable and very successful year at Kensington.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Bayes

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A NOTE FROM THE HEAD OF JUNIOR SCHOOL

This September has been a return to school like no other. The safety regulations that have been put in place have created a very different way of life around the school: social distancing, staggered times for starting/ending the day, eating lunch and staying within secure class groups. We are so proud of how well the children have adapted to the new routines and have done so with smiles on their faces (at least I think so - we're all wearing masks so it's difficult to be sure!)

After years of teaching that 'sharing is caring', they are having to get used to using only their own equipment and avoid physical contact at playtimes. They are working so hard and, above all, we are all grateful to be back at school. They have shown great resilience upon their return to the classrooms and their desire to learn is as strong as ever. The teachers too have worked creatively to restructure their lessons to reduce sharing resources and books etc.
It is a huge relief to see our pupils happy. Our main priority this month has been their wellbeing and ensuring they feel safe and ready to learn again.

An impressive team effort from everyone! They have truly made delicious lemonade from the abundance of lemons that life has served us this year!

- Mr Steve Evans, Head of Junior School

An impressive team effort from everyone! They have truly made delicious lemonade from the abundance of lemons that life has served us this year!

Our weekly assemblies continue virtually across the Junior School

The assemblies led by our Head of Junior School, Mr Steve Evans are the highlight of the week.

Due to the re organisation of the school and different secure groups in place, these will continue to take place virtually from their form rooms. How exciting! On Friday 15th September we welcomed all our new students to the school and introduced the new weekly certificate format which will now become “star of the week”! Amazingly, every student in the junior school was awarded star of the week for their hard work and consistent effort throughout their first week back. Let's see who’s awarded star of the week next time!

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Nursery explore the jungle

Our nursery class are learning all about the Jungle. Looking at animals we might find there and using different art mediums to create their very own. Nursery have made a snake using their cutting and sticking skills, an elephant using stamping and sponges, a monkey using a folding card technique and a giraffe with cork printing.

Our Junior students show off their basketball skills during their PE lesson with Mr Vanderheyden

Junior School students are learning the rules and skills of basketball. They are practicing their dribbling, attacking, defending and of course goal scoring!

J6's Letters to their teachers

J6 have been thinking about what they hope to achieve this academic year. The children have been writing letters to their teachers, detailing what they need from the classroom learning environment, their classmates and teachers to achieve their goals this year. What lovely letters!

Letter to my teachers Olivia
Letter to my teachers Lucas

J6 recreate work by Wassily Kandinsky

In art, J6 have been studying the artist Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter and art theorist. Kandinsky is generally credited as the pioneer of abstract art, students were inspired by his creativity and have been recreating his abstract piece 'Circles in a Circle' 1923.

J6 Art Olive
J6 Art Working on a Kandinsky piece

National Poetry Day competition launched

At Kensington School we're celebrating this event by launching a poetry competition. Watch the attached video to find out more!

In order to participate, students need to record themselves reciting a poem (either their own poem or one they have learnt).

Winners will:-

  • Have their video recitals published on the school website.
  • Have their videos played in English classes on Thursday October 1st.
  • Receive a financial prize in the form of a generous voucher.We look forward to receiving your entries!

Keep your eyes open for the winners video in next months newsletter!

A NOTE FROM THE HEAD OF SENIOR SCHOOL

This year, more than any other, our students really did look genuinely happy to return to school and it was a pleasure to welcome them back through the gates; albeit to a quite different school to the one they left behind in March.

All the teachers are unanimous in agreeing how lucky we are to be working in a school with such mature, co-operative and motivated pupils. The manner in which they have adapted to all the changes to the running of the school day is a real credit to them and the patience they have shown is appreciated by us all.

Once the desk-cleaning and hand-gelling is over the learning starts and if it wasn’t for the fact we are all wearing masks it would be quite easy to forget we are in the middle of a global pandemic.

Congratulations to everybody on making such a great start to what I am sure will be a successful, if rather unusual, school year.

- Viv Canwell, Head of Senior School

Once the desk-cleaning and hand-gelling is over the learning starts and if it wasn’t for the fact we are all wearing masks it would be quite easy to forget we are in the middle of a global pandemic.

Lower 6 Biology

Our Lower 6 students have been using microscopes during their Biology lessons to look at slides of blood vessels. Students then calibrated the microscope so that they could measure the width of an artery wall.

By the end of the task, they were able to identify an artery, vein and capillary under the microscope and concluded that the width of the artery wall was between 0.25 and 0.26mm.

Upper 6 Physics Experiments

Upper 6 are studying the physics of things that rotate, for example satellites, washing machines, planets and ferris wheels.

They have been investigating and experimenting centripetal force by swinging tennis balls around, which were attached to hanging masses. The idea was to prove that the theory which they learned is true. Much better to test for oneself than to just trust what one hears!

A farewell for some

As our pupils and teachers returned to school for the start of the new academic year our university-bound students were heading off to the airport to begin the next exciting phase in their educational journey.

This year everything, of course, is different. Rather than going straight into the social whirl of Freshers Week a period of quarantine must be undertaken. However, since March this cohort has faced many challenges so I am sure they will take this latest obstacle in their stride. I expect them to emerge from their period of confinement full of enthusiasm to take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities undergraduate life offers.

It is such a pleasure to see our graduates being welcomed into some of the most prestigious universities in the world. It is also testament to our strength across the whole curriculum that our young adults are going to study such a wide range of academic disciplines.

We have five students starting new lives in London at such renowned institutions as University College (UCL), Imperial College and Hult Business School reading degrees in biological sciences, philosophy, physics, management and PPE ( politics, philosophy and economics ).

In the south west the leading universities of Bath and Exeter set demanding entry requirements which our students satisfied in astrophysics and English. On the delightful south coast three of last year´s Upper Sixth are joining the increasingly selective University of Sussex studying law, business and marketing.

In the heart of England lies Warwick with its internationally respected school of mathematics whilst further north the department of physics at the University of Manchester has a global reputation. Our students will find these particular degrees really stimulating and demanding.

Edinburgh has been a seat of learning for centuries and this leading university is opening its doors to Kensington students studying English, history and chemical physics. In the past decade Scottish universities have become highly selective but year-after-year our pupils continue to achieve the ever-increasing academic targets required for admission.

With such an international group of students it is no surprise that a top engineering school within a Japanese university also appears on our list of destinations.

From Tokyo to Exeter, from Sussex to Edinburgh we offer our very best wishes for every success to all our splendid group of Kensington graduates at university and we look forward to meeting them again during the Christmas vacation.

- Mr Michael Bayes, Headmaster

University Destinations 2020Courses
Bath, University of Astrophysics
Bath, University of Business
Edinburgh UniversityChemical Physics
Edinburgh UniversityEnglish & History
Exeter, University of English
Hult International Business SchoolBusiness
Imperial College LondonBiology
Imperial College LondonPhysics
Manchester, University ofPhysics
Sussex, University of Business
Sussex, University of Business Foundation Year
University College London (UCL)Philosophy, Politics & Economics
University College London (UCL)Philosophy
Warwick , University ofMaths
Waseda UniversityScience & Engineering

Kensington's new school uniform

We are delighted to have introduced a new school uniform this academic year, we just love the new summer dresses. Due to the current situation we have decided to phase the uniform changes in slowly.

You can see more information on the school uniform here School Uniform Policy

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Gateway to the UK Webinars

Study UK is delivered by the British Council and is the UK’s national campaign to promote the UK as a first-choice study destination to students all over the world. They are offering the opportunity to students across Europe to join one of their webinars which include career advice and "how to" sessions.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to learn about changes post-Brexit and a large variety of career options.

Register Here

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KENSINGTON SCHOOL PARENT SURVEY FEEDBACK

We would like to thank all parents who completed the Kensington School Parent Survey.

Your feedback is highly appreciated, both in our areas of strength and where you feel the school could improve. We embrace continuous improvement and want to ensure that Kensington is the best possible learning environment in school for our students, staff and parents.

98% of our parents are either likely or extremely likely to recommend the school to other parents.

We are delighted to share news that work on the school site continues in various areas across the school.

Thank you to all of our parents for the continued support in, your feedback means a lot to us.

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Next Monthly Newsletter Issue - Friday 20th October