I expect there are many references throughout this edition of the Thistle regarding 2021 being a challenging year, and for good reason. We began the school year in hybrid mode, before returning to remote learning for some months, and then finally in August the school was fully open once again. Throughout these turbulent moments our teachers continued to impressively adapt to multiple ways of working, leading excellent classes and providing excellent emotional support and guidance for their students. We were unable to see all of our students regularly in the first half of the year, and it can be very disconcerting being responsible for a group of young people that you cannot see in person regularly. To help us continually adapt and improve our practice, we attempted to gain more insight into the students' experience by conducting regular surveys of students and families.

In the Secondary School we continued to contribute towards the whole school competency transformation by introducing the competency profile in our report cards and hosting regular workshops designed to explore the 6 Cs (creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, character, and citizenship), offer advice regarding how to nurture them, and listen to families, staff, and students regarding the behaviour and habits they would like students to develop whilst at school. The work that we carried out has been used by the Senior LeadershipTeam and Secondary teachers during 2022 in deepening our competency-based work with students.

"The work that we carried
out has been used by the
Senior LeadershipTeam and
Secondary teachers during
2022 in deepening our
competency-based work
with students."

We also paid special attention to digital citizenship, given that the advancement of an all consuming digital world was accelerated by the pandemic. Technologies such as social media offer wonderful possibilities, but they are also dangerous places to be and expose children to risks. We offered digital citizenship workshops for parents and students designed to provide strategies to help protect children when online, and to help encourage children to be more responsible and proactive when using their devices.

Founders Day saw the first assembly in well over a year, with year 12 present in the Hall while we live-streamed the assembly to all of the other students in their classrooms. The emotions we felt when we saw students singing, playing instruments, and dancing on stage once again took us all by surprise as we were overcome by an overwhelming sense of joy at being able to see students perform live once again. The arts continued to thrive, with the outstanding Arts Festival at the end of the year and the impressive production of Grease (The Film), to name but a few activities.

Perhaps less joyfully, but of no less importance, our year 12 students also returned to the examination hall once again to sit their final IB examinations. Both teachers and students maintained high expectations whilst also supporting and caring for each other, and many of the students certainly produced excellent results that they and their teachers should rightly feel very proud of, given the exceptional circumstance.

You will see in the following pages that our teachers and staff continued to design and deliver outstanding activities and experiences for all of our students in all areas of the school; from the International Mathematical Modeling Competition, to the construction of our Forestry Classroom, to working with a children's home in the Sea of Learning.

Finally, there were changes in the Secondary Leadership Team in October with Diego Bertotto replacing me as Head of Secondary until the end of the 2021, and James Thomas assuming the role of Deputy Head to work alongside Marisa Márquez. I would like to thank all of them for their excellent contributions to St Andrew's.

Secondary Leadership Team

Ben Davies - Secondary Head
Diego Bertotto - Secondary Deputy Head
Marisa Márquez - Secondary Deputy Head &
Intermediate School Coordinator