G9 visited the Serpentine Galleries to investigate the artist John Latham, who used books together with other materials to express his ideas often creating installations. This was a wonderful opportunity for inspiration for G9, as they will be exploring the use of old discarded books for their Interdisciplinary Unit on Conflict. They will all be working collaboratively to create an installation, using their Languages of Spanish and Mandarin as a major part of it. We will keep everyone informed as the project develops over the term.
Stephanie Keller, an American, who has lived and worked in the UK for the last seven years in the Art Industry, took members of the Halcyon community on a tour of East London’s Street Art.
She explained that Street Art often gets a bad reputation, due to it being confused with Graffiti Art. Street Art originated in the 80’s from classically trained painters wanting to display their art publicly and free for everyone to enjoy. More recently, Street Art has been used to help gentrify neighbourhoods and building owners often legally commission famous Street Artists to increase a building’s value. Graffiti Art is usually done without legal permission or artistic purpose, but simply to ‘tag’ one’s name in a certain area for reputation building. It is closely associated with gang culture and Graffiti Artists and Street Artists are often at war with each other - destroying each other's pieces - and Artists will often move between the two groups which causes the blur in terminology.
Stephanie’s insightful knowledge and connections with the artists ensured all the pieces and background of the artists were thoroughly explained with impressive detail.
On Wednesday, the Halcyon Gymnastics Club went to Oxygen Freejumping.
Students used this opportunity to practise and train their previously acquired gymnastics elements and to improve their gymnastics skills even further.
There was also some time for fun when students and teachers participated in a trampoline dodgeball game.
The students have been doing still-life drawing, exploring tone, shape and colour from nature. We are very proud to show their colourful work!
“Your passion can allow you to connect with people from all walks of life.” said Gabriel, “You should find what makes you unique and follow it to the ends of the earth.”
Halcyon held its second Inspiring Voices speaker series on 04 May and once again it was a full house. This time the guest speakers were Gabriel Jamie, Cambridge PhD student in Zoology, and Tim Dee, BBC radio producer and author - both sharing a passion for birds. They engaged in an inspirational and interactive conversation, surprising the audience with fascinating insights into bird behaviour.
It was the combination of Gabriel’s passion about birds, his humanistic upbringing and his education that enabled him to turn his passion into a profession.
Ever since he was 11, he visited his grandmother in South Africa and went searching on fishing trawlers to observe the vast numbers of albatrosses perching on the fishing nets. He had his moment of revelation when watching the overwhelming size and wingspan of these birds flying in the evening sky. This made a deep and lasting impression on him.
From then on, throughout his teenage years, he went birdwatching every Sunday just outside of London getting up at 0300, his dad supporting his interest to investigate and ring* birds. His peers could not categorise him; they simply didn’t understand him. For some time he felt isolated. Only when he was 16 and went on his first expedition, did he find like-minded peers. He went to many different parts of the world to explore and study birds; from Romania to Zambia to northern Mozambique. His expeditions led him to study Biology at Cambridge, where he is presently in his final year of his PhD in Zoology, specialising in the mimicry of bird markings and calls like the Honeyguide bird and the Cuckoo family of birds.
Although Tim’s passion for birds started even earlier than Gabriel’s, at the age of seven on the Balearic Islands, the impact was similar. He was captivated by collecting, organising and classifying birds, giving him a sense of “knowing where you are”. As a young boy he once asked a famous bird scientist to take him along to one of his expeditions. The answer he received was revealing and is still valid for him today: “Go local, go deep. Get switched on by what you have close.” It was these conversations with experts in the field that let both Tim and Gabriel to advance in their learnings. They both wanted to engage in the subject not passively, but actively sharing it.
“It’s sad that young people are suppressing their interests. They’ve tried to become generalists. Rarely do they come to me with a specialism.” said Tim about his budding young producers. “Everyone has these deep shafts of knowledge and what I want to hear from them is a willingness to access these.”
Ultimately, Gabriel realised that by placing a subject into a wider context, such as studying birds and ecology, it would enable him to redefine the importance of studying birds for himself and the world of science. When asked what amazes him the most, he explains:
“Plants, trees, fruits - it’s the whole ecology that is amazing - the co-evolutionary interaction. It’s all about understanding the co-dependence of the whole system. Economics is the management of the household, ecology is the understanding of the household.”
The evening was a success. Many members of our community brought friends and family and our speakers inspired the audience with their passion for an exotic world we can all explore that’s both in our back gardens and abroad.
*catching birds humanely to place a ring on them so, when released, they can be tracked and identified in the future.
By Noah W. (G11)
We are delighted to inform you that, following our recent Ofsted inspection, our school has been rated Outstanding. Not only did we achieve an overall rating of Outstanding, we did so in every category, as follows:
Overall effectiveness: Outstanding
Effectiveness of leadership and management: Outstanding
Quality of teaching, learning and assessment: Outstanding
Personal development, behaviour and welfare: Outstanding
Outcomes for pupils: Outstanding
Sixth-form provision: Outstanding
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our entire community for your contributions toward this important achievement. We could not have attain this without the extraordinary dedication of our staff, the continuous support of our parent community, and the engagement of every student in our school.
Please do take the time to read the full report as we hope you will enjoy the detail paid to our many efforts that led to this Outstanding rating. We have, however, listed some of the main findings below:
- Leaders and staff have created a culture which brings out the best in everyone, where morale is high and where parents can be confident that their children are safe from harm.
- Pupils conduct themselves extremely well in lessons and around school. They are polite, courteous and respectful, and they work very hard to achieve their ambitions.
- Pupils achieved very well overall in the 2016 international assessments. Pupils currently in the school make outstanding progress.
- Staff give pupils exceptional opportunities to take responsibility for many aspects of school life. They are very well prepared to become the leaders of tomorrow.
- Teaching over time is outstanding. Teachers plan activities that engage pupils in their learning. They give insightful feedback so that pupils know how to improve their work.
- Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is promoted exceptionally well. Pupils are resilient and very thoughtful in their approach to tackling problems.
- The sixth form (IB Diploma) is outstanding. Excellent teaching and assessment have been instrumental in bringing about very strong outcomes.
This is a notable achievement for any school, and particularly for such a young school such as ours. We should celebrate the success we have enjoyed, and use this as platform to continue to innovate, collaborate and strengthen our learning community.
Thank you for your support for our school, especially to our students, who met with the inspection team, and to all of our parents who took the time to complete the feedback survey. We cannot stress how impressed the inspection team was with the attitude and personal responsibility of our students, and the overwhelmingly positive response they received from parents.
As a digital school, we would like to ensure we publicise this fantastic news to best benefit the school. May we ask that if you are using Social Media platforms, please Retweet, Like or Share these posts among your circles;
Finally, we would like to thank our teaching and administrative team, without whom none of this would be possible. It is a pleasure and privilege to work with such dedicated and talented professionals.
We are delighted to report on the successes of our Learning Reimagined campaign.
Online Auction and Quiz/Auction Night Events
Thanks to tremendous support from parents, staff, students and supportive businesses, we were able to raise just over £45,000 from these events. We consider this a wonderful accomplishment for any school. Halcyon should be particularly proud considering we are a relatively small school and these were our first major fundraising events.
Thanks to the student team for both designing the campaign video and digital quiz and for being great hosts on the night and the parent team whose hard work created an inspiring and fun event.
Inspiring Voices Speakers Series
Last night we had our 2nd Inspiring Voices Speakers Series which aims to share life-long learning with our community, friends and colleagues by inviting younger professionals to speak about their varied paths of success. This project has already raised approximately £1,000 this year and we look forward to seeing it grow next year. We received such fantastic community support; the evening was hosted, filmed, photographed and reported on by our students; our parent committee organised the speakers, publicised the event and refreshments were thanks to a lovely donation!
Thanks to everyone's endless support!
Combining these events with the generous individual donations from our families and friends since the campaign launch last spring, we have raised £135,300.
With these funds we will be able to install much of the furnishing and acoustic redesign for the second floor space in time for September 2017. These improvements will be major steps toward the full project and allow us to enjoy comfortable, flexible learning spaces as soon as possible.
Thank you again to our entire community. We look forward to our next fundraising projects. If you would like to make a gift toward Learning Reimagined or the school in general, please contact Rita Halbright.
What should I say about myself ….hmmm?
I was born - we are all born in the right place, in Poland. I will tell you a bit about what my country looks like. I was born at the north of the country, close to the seaside (Baltyc). Beautiful beaches, cliffs and yellow sand. Every summer when I was little I always visited my grandma, in the west of the country. We would go often to the forest to pick mushrooms and blueberries. Something from those visits has stayed with me to this day - photographs.
My grandma had a lot of old photographs in her drawers. They were yellowing and the focus was not very sharp. But they were beautiful. I could see how the family looked and lived in days gone by. Those pictures stayed in my head and my heart for a very long time and those memories gave me a love of photography.
I did not study photography in school, but I taught myself how to use a manual camera and how to take photos. I then completed a few courses and started taking photos of my children, who are my best models :). I love being behind my camera and capturing the natural behavior and beauty of people.
That is one part of my world. The other side of my artistic soul is my financial and economic qualifications I received in my home country and experience gained during my work at a college in London.
I hope to share with Halcyon my financial experience to ensure the school’s financial success and growth with good principles and procedures and some good cheer every day. I have loved this School from the time I read about it on the website. This is an exciting place to work and I am proud to be part of the Halcyon community. I am committed to supporting the students and staff to achieve the highest standard. I look forward to meeting you and hearing your story and sharing more of mine.
Grade 9 English students have just finished studying The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. Their standard of work and enthusiasm, not just in this unit, but throughout the year have been wonderful. Check out some of the projects they have been involved in.
"This class epitomises IB learning; actively thinking and enquiring." Mr McGowan
I actually dropped into Marketing and Communications rather by accident. I had finished my degree in Anthropology and Geography and was unsure what to do next. Randomly, choosing a masters in Disaster Management made sense at the time, but I am not so sure how useful that topic was… However, it enabled me to meet a student who did a communications internship in Thailand and through that I experienced nine months of galavanting around southeast Asia.
Living abroad in a non-english speaking country taught me some hard earned life lessons; including how to remove a mouse from inside the workings of your refrigerator, how to politely refuse a sit down meal with 5 chosen potential ‘life partners’, and that travelling alone as a young person is tough! But, since then, my love of travel has only grown. I worked in New Zealand for one year and got into hiking, surfing and kickboxing. My other interests include photography, dancing, Thai kickboxing, books, unusual anime and video games.
I found that my studies enhanced my new-found knowledge of communications in a new way: Knowing your target audience and the best way to communicate information to them is key in both a disaster situation and in everyday life. High levels of empathy; putting yourself in other people’s shoes and understanding what they need to understand make a good communicator and marketer. Studying different societies has helped a lot too.
My international experience has allowed me to see techniques being used in small, medium and large companies, both internationally and nationally. Marketing automation techniques in particular are key to helping an organisation grow. I'm keen to keep ahead of the curve, utilising a variety programmes and tools for a fast reaction time to keep students and parents informed with interesting and relevant news. Keeping our communications authentic and as close to the source (our students, staff and families) as possible is high on my list.
I can bring bundles of energy, excitement, and a smidge of expertise to what is already a fast-moving and innovative school and I am pleased to be able to meet so many talented staff and awesome students.
Fun Fact: I was among 1000 people dancing in the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony as a 80/90s ‘Raver’. It was a shame I was not of that era… but great fun!
Our first trip to Spain has begun 15 - 23 April! Halcyon students are staying with local families and working alongside peers in the local high school on a variety of projects and activities and visiting Madrid and Cuenca. During their trip, they will be posting their adventures on their Google Site under the page 'Viaje a España'. You will be able to follow their experiences daily. ¡Buen viaje, chicos!
We were delighted to have almost 100 responses from our parent community to the online parent survey. The inspectors reviewed the results on Thursday and were hugely impressed with the level of parent engagement and the overwhelmingly positive responses. Thank you very much for playing your role in the inspection.
During our end-of-inspection feedback meeting, it was clear that the school had done very well in all areas, and we are now looking forward to receiving the official report on 4 -6 weeks. We will share Ofsted’s findings with you as soon as we can. Thank you again!
“In a very short time, Halcyon has created a true learning community. The school is a ‘Thinking Community’ and that ethos is evident in the reflective nature of the work being done.” NEASC accreditation report.
We have successfully passed the first stage in our New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation.
A globally recognised standard of excellence, NEASC accreditation attests to substantial compliance with established qualitative standards, integrity in statements to the public describing the institution's programme, institutional commitment to improvement, and sufficiency of institutional resources.
The NEASC Visitors left Halcyon in February 2017 with an extremely positive view of the school: "The community is a reflective, exciting environment where there is a palpable sense that everyone is focused on one goal: meaningful, authentic learning!”
The Visitors also acknowledged that the school “has created a culture of transformation.” Perhaps the strongest statement indicating the school’s commitment to the ACE Learning Principles is the following: “The community values student voice, autonomy, and self-directed learning to such an extent that it has created a very special learning experience for its students.”
A full report summary will be coming next week. We are thrilled and honored to reach this stage in the accreditation.
Congratulations to the winner of Halcyon's first spelling bee - Reigh G10, who won an iTunes voucher. Thanks to Finn and Akira in G9 for organising this community event and for Mr McGowan for supervising. Thanks to all students who participated and for those who showed up to support them.
I am immensely proud and delighted to join the Halcyon community as the Admissions Director, covering for our wonderful Maria, who goes on Maternity Leave "as we speak".
A seventies child who received what the rest of the world would compare to a 19th Century style education, my standard classroom housed 40+ children, where we would only ever get noticed if our end of year grades ranked us in the top 5. Whilst we were not caned for forgetting our timetable and national poems, our motivation for memorising was only to avoid public humiliation if we were called to recite to the rest of the class. Our most exciting homework was the opportunity to write about a unanimous topic, such as 'describe a black cat' or ‘describe your teacher’! I can't remember any of my essays ever being marked but it was the rare opportunity to be able to share our own thoughts and dump any creativity we had in us on paper.
My uninspiring experience of education - having grown up in the Vietnam - propelled me to specialise in psychology and education in my later academic career, to understand how we best learn and re-programme myself from my earlier educational experiences. One of the things that drew me to Halcyon was the belief that every child is already a somebody, who just needs a support structure to nurture (and draw out) their unique potential.
Having worked at five different international schools in the last 10 years, I am excited to be in a position to promote our innovative and student-centred education to prospective families. I have not seen creativity and passion operating in education quite to this level until I arrived at Halcyon.
I look forward to meeting you all.
Grade 12 have finished their programme of Creativity Activity and Service (CAS), part of the IB Diploma Programme. The primary purpose of CAS projects is for students to actively learn from doing tasks beyond the classroom and providing opportunities for authentic engagement with the local community. They have kept records and evidence of all their experiences, had their final interviews with the CAS Coordinator and shared their learning outcomes with Grades 10 and 11.
'Reflection gave me a chance to comment on my projects, to see how I was achieving the learning outcomes and seeing where I was lacking. It has helped me develop as a person, you learn how to become more active with the projects and see how beneficial they are.'
'CAS helped me step out of my comfort zone as I used to be really afraid of sticking out. People are more broadminded than you think.'
'CAS helped me to notice how I have an impact. I could notice in guitar lessons when I was learning about music theory and history with my teacher and just when I play it reflects a progress in music. There are lots of ways that music impacts society, music can change the lives of people who don’t have a lot. I like to make connections with things you might not expect.'
'CAS helped me realise the benefit of working collaboratively. I don’t like asking for help. I like to show I can do things alone, but I am recognising that I need to ask for help.'
'I had a lot of problems communicating in the beginning. In the end I worked much harder on communicating and it worked out much easier than I thought it would. It taught me that collaboration is very difficult, but it produces amazing results. I am actually looking forward to collaborative projects in the future. CAS is the main subject that helps you look at the world through different eyes, what are the problems in the world and how can we solve them, You have to do research which makes you more aware.'
'I really want to continue some activities at university, such as MUN, kickboxing and football. I have started these and CAS let me make time for them. I enjoy them so much. I am happy that CAS requires me to do these activities.'
'I can do a lot to fix a problem or help a global issue. Before CAS I felt one person can’t do anything. CAS pushes you and helps brings motivation and shows one person can have an impact.'
'My biggest achievement was assisting in the organisation of the MUN conference. Seeing it happen again today and not being involved made me see how big a challenge it was. I have helped to establish MUN as a big thing at Halcyon, which has set the bar for it being a central part of school. It has created a legacy at school.'
The students worked hard on a full day in the lab.
'Having lived in London for more than 20 years, it was wonderful to experience a beautiful historical landmark in such an entertaining and informative way! Philippa was an exceptional guide!"
Date: Saturday 06 May 1300-1500
Location: Begins at Old Street Tube Station (between exits 1 & 2)
Price: 10 GBP per person - RSVP
Have you wandered around London and come across fantastic art outside and want to know more? Who paints this city? What are the works about? Why is street art so popular in London? Come join us to explore East London. Our guide has worked in Street Art for the past seven years, and will share with us some of her favourite art spots around East London’s street art scene. Discover the city’s canvas, learn about the artists behind these beautiful works, and gain insight into the appeal for East London’s street art scene.
Questions? Contact Stacey Ciauri 07557520442 or email@example.com