A-Levels System Doesn't Prepare Pupils For University Or Life



The Transformative Potential of the Halcyon Bursary


Author: Will McAdam

Drawing Out Potential Through The Power of Community, Technology and the International Baccalaureate

Artur, currently in Grade 11, describes Halcyon as a community that goes beyond education, emphasising the friendliness and supportiveness of teachers and students:

“The best part of Halcyon is the people. The community is very friendly and supportive: teachers show real passion to help, and students always try to make contact and support despite huge differences in culture, interests and life philosophy”.

He acknowledges the unique educational experience at Halcyon, highlighting the emphasis on real-life applications of knowledge through technology and the International Baccalaureate programme.

“Unlike my previous school in Ukraine, using technologies in the learning process like laptops is much more frequent and allows me to study quickly and with higher output.  The International Baccalaureate is much more concentrated on real life application of knowledge than on pure theory, encouraging research topics beyond the standard syllabus.”

Artur has not only excelled academically but has also grown personally, developing strong language and organisational skills.

“A large part of the Diploma Programme depends on the work of students beyond our six academic subjects, for example, the Extended Essay is a long research project and essay that students independently select the topic for, research and write. I have become much better at planning and organising  my time, which unquestionably I will benefit from in the future.

“I am very proud of my academic and social successes at Halcyon. Despite initial challenges due to the lack of the English language and at the start of the Diploma Programme, I have achieved well, gaining positive marks in all my subjects. I have tried to develop beyond academics, such as my recent participation in the British Physics Olympiad. Moreover, I have made friends amongst my classmates, who share similar interests and hobbies.”

Powering Academic and Personal Progress Through Sports, Friendship and Skills

Anton, Grade 9, echoes this sentiment, even finding it difficult to pinpoint a favourite part of being a Halcyon student, “as I enjoy everything!” He did want to make a special mention of his “experienced and patient teachers, who are so knowledgeable” and his fellow students. When it comes to his learning, Anton values our holistic approach to education and the high academic standards we maintain.

“Firstly, I value the high quality of education provided at Halcyon that not only focuses on pure theory, but also explores other aspects of education, such as critical thinking, investigation, creation or reflection skills, which go beyond a standard syllabus. Moreover, the education process at Halcyon incorporates the usage of technologies that makes it more engaging, efficient and deep”.

Our ever-growing roster of sports teams and opportunities also comes in for praise from Anton, crediting them with helping him make friends when he first started with us, as well as developing “fundamental skills like communication”.

And it is on the topic of communication skills that he highlights the progress he’s made, “thanks to Ms Fairweather, my English B teacher”. It is through this that he, like Artur, has felt able to develop skills “like critical thinking and reflecting, as well as investigating and time management while completing different tasks and assessments”. It enabled him to deliver one of the speeches during the Sport Award event in June (whilst also winning Sports Personality of the Year), which he singles out as “one of my greatest achievements last year”. We agree and we couldn’t be prouder of the progress they have both made.

A Strong Base From Which To Shape Your Future

This is a sentiment we know Artur and Anton’s mother, Uliana, shares. The approach we take to the International Baccalaureate will “create a strong base for my sons to shape their future,” she notes. Elaborating on this, she highlights that the opportunities afforded by the IB and Halcyon is down to “the real actions of a talented team, a team of people for whom your child is not a statistical unit but an important individual.” 

This can be attributed to the “sense of family,” Uliana experienced both through the Admissions process and since joining the community. Uliana particularly wanted to say “a big thank you to all parents who have helped with their contributions” to the bursary programme. 

“What you create, what you invest in, is an invaluable contribution.  Each of you personally, as a mother, gave me the opportunity to feel peace for my children.  Although I do not know all the people who participate in donations, I can confidently say that goodness and humanity exist”. 

And Uliana had one final message: “For future families, Halcyon is the best thing that happened in our lives.  If you have doubts, come to the school and you will experience everything personally. This school is the best place for your child in all aspects.”

We are so grateful to Uliana for her words, and so proud of all Artur and Anton have achieved already during their time with us. We second Uliana’s gratitude to all our donors, who make our bursary programme possible.

For more information on the Bursary Programme and how to donate, visit our dedicated Bursary Programme page.