Today, as we reach our mid-term break, we can look back at seven weeks of established learning and significant numbers of students attending school and engaging virtually. The impact for our Year 11 and Year 12 students as they move towards their mock examinations is manifest. Whilst the British Government debates the practicalities of staging next summer's examinations our students are preparing, covering content and readying themselves for what is potentially another unique set of circumstances in early 2021. This is important because in January several of our Year 12 students sit their first A level modular examinations, which contribute to their final awards in 2022. So, whilst everyone is focussed on next summer, we are already dealing with current challenges and the impact and lessons learned from last summer's processes.
The placement of Mock Examinations is an annual debate in every school. It boils down to two simple choices - stage examinations in January and the benefit of significant revision over the winter holiday. Or, stage examinations before the end of term and use the holiday for what it was designed for! In our case, it is a no-brainer. With A level modules set for January 2021, with many countries experiencing a 'second wave' and with the obvious benefit of having examination evidence secured, staging mocks in November is the only choice. The fact that Year 11 have a holiday is an added bonus at the end of a long term.
Years 7 through to 10 will be sitting internal assessments in November as well. Assessment timetables have been published and we trust that everyone is gearing up for them. Students in Year 11 and 12 who have opted to have full-time VLE will be obliged to attend school to sit their examinations. Students in Years 7 - 10 will be assessed in school and online, depending on their timetable. A series of parent consultations using the same cloud-based appointment system we utilised last term have been scheduled for each year group after the half-term break. Details will be sent to parents on how to book appointments with teachers. On those days all children will be at home and engaging with online learning.
Options Evenings for Year 9 (GCSE Options) and Year 11 (A level and BTEC) will take place towards the end of next month and the students have already been given initial information to inform their discussions with you. A full pack of resources, including Options brochures and individual subject information, will be made available prior to the Options Evenings. Parents will have the opportunity to discuss option choices with subject teachers, virtually, at each of the evenings.
We will stage our first House competition of the year after half-term. House Countdown will be an in-school competition based on the cult Channel 4 TV show, Countdown. A test of literacy and numeracy, against the clock, it has been a mainstay of UK TV for many years and our trial runs here in school, chaired by Mr. McCartney, have proved popular and fun.
It was a pleasure to confirm our House Captains for 2020 / 2021. They will have a unique challenge maintaining House spirit but they are the right people for the job and already have shown tremendous enthusiasm and leadership.
The selection process is underway for our new Head Girl & Head Boy, and their Deputies. It is the right time to thank the current school leaders who are stepping aside to make way for their successors. Ahmet Sayan (Head Boy) and Serena Williams (Head Girl) have been impeccable ambassadors for the school. Their conduct and their leadership, particularly during the grueling examination season between March and August, was outstanding and I wish to personally thank Serena and Ahmet for being such tremendous role models for their peers. They are special people who rose to the challenge at a special time.
Jodi Sequeira and Joshua Greaves will be handing over the mantle of Deputy Head Girl and Deputy Head Boy respectively. They have carried themselves with dignity and shown an obvious hunger for responsibility and leadership which will stand them in good stead for the future. Thank you to Serena, Ahmet, Jodi and Joshua for everything you have done for the school last year.
It is frequently commented upon by our teachers as to how well our children (your children!) are doing under the current circumstances. We are very proud of them, their good humour and steadfastness and we take strength from them. Thank you also to all our supportive parents, for your kind words and messages of support. They mean a lot and they go a long, long way.
Arabic and Islamic Studies
Our students, in the Arabic language subject, acquired many basic language skills according to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education Arabic subject standard, these include reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. They have developed in the subject and are applying these skills in different methods of distance or combined education.
Our Islamic Studies students have acquired many basic subject skills that are affiliated with the standards of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, such as the skill of reciting the Holy Qur’an and memorising the prescribed verses.
They and the hadith of the Messenger Muhammad, as they learned about several areas such as biography, jurisprudence and Islamic literature.
They have wonderfully committed to the implementation of the homework and assessments required of them.
Year 7: Formal Elements of Art and Design - Students will continue to develop their understanding of the Formal Elements of Art including Line, Shape, Form, Value, Colour, Texture and Space. Focus on Wassily Kandinsky will continue after half term break with the exploration of line and shape.
Year 8: Identity - Students have been exploring the Theme of Identity by designing a personal backpack that will demonstrate their personalities, hobbies and heritage. After half term students will look at skills development using a variety of media.
Year 9: Landscape - Students are completing their Abstract landscapes using coloured pencils and will be evaluating their work to date. After half term, they will begin looking at using watercolour and pattern application using Zentangles.
Year 10: Natural Forms - Students will continue to explore Natural Forms through observation producing drawings and mixed media work.
Year 11: IGCSE Coursework - Students will continue to work on their component 1
Year 12: Skills development for Personal Project - Students will begin to explore the Theme Circles focusing on developing Textile techniques related to Art Craft and Design.
Business and Economics
Year 10 Business - Business and the international economy: Students are going to be learning about globalisation and the external influences that affect business operations.
Year 10 Economics - Elasticity: Students are going to learning about Price Elasticity of Supply and Income elasticity of Supply. They will be introduced to a range of factors influencing PES and YED and analyse the impact on total revenues.
Year 11 Business - Financial Statement: Students are going to be learning about financial statements; statements of comprehensive income and of financial position. They will explore different financial ratios to assess the performance of business operations.
Year 12 Business - Human Resources: Students are going to be learning about theories of motivation. There will be a particular focus on both financial and non-financial motivation.
Year 12 Economics - Government intervention into markets: Students are going to be learning about the methods that government can use to intervene in markets in order to correct market failure. The impact of these interventions will also be discussed and evaluated.
Year 7 - We have been focusing on App Creation this term. Students learnt about the importance, purpose and uses of Apps in the digital world and were presented with a challenge to create an app offering information about healthy living. Students had to create name and concept of their app and also had to create a logo, using storyboards and suitable house styles.
After half-term, students will create a game. The first task will be to start designing a game before they can start building this on Scratch.
Year 8 - The focus was on Programming. Introducing students to concepts related to programming in python has allowed them to become budding programmers and aspiring tech giants. From basic concepts relating to inputs/outputs, arithmetic operations, casting and concatenation, students have been able to create simple programs prescribed to them and also using their own creativity.
After half-term, students will continue to learn all about programming. They will start implementing strings within their Programming challenges.
Year 9 - Students have been focusing on Data representation – how data is represented within a computer system. From Binary to Hexadecimal students have exercised their numeracy skills and were exposed to mathematics for computing. Students have been introduced to the iGCSE course early to expose them to content that would provide a smooth transition into KS4 if they chose to pursue Computer Science as an iGCSE
After half-term, students will continue with their skills challenges on programming. The students will learn all about Arrays and implement these within their work.
Year 10 - Students have started the year learning about data representation within a computer system. However, in preparation for iGCSE, students investigated the representation of Sound, images, Text, and Numbers in computer systems whilst also learning about compression and logic circuits. Exam practice has begun and all students are given an opportunity to familiarize themselves with exam technique and vocabulary.
After half-term, students will begin Topic 2 in the iGCSE Curriculum. This will enable students to start developing code.
Year 11 - Students have had a brilliant start to Computing this year. They have finished Topic 4 Machines and are currently revising for their November Mock Examinations. The students have learnt all about the CPU, Input and Output, Embedded systems and the Operating System. Students need to ensure they stick to their revision timetable to be prepared for their upcoming exams.
After half-term, students will revise topic 3 (Data), topic 4 (Machines) and topic 5 (Networks) before their iGCSE Mock exams scheduled for November.
Year 12 - This half term students have been focusing on HTML (HyperText Markup Language) as part of their web design unit. They have learnt how to perfect their skills in creating the structure of a website and have now moved on to learning about CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Exam practice has begun with this group to allow them to become familiar with exam technique and vocabulary.
After half-term, students will start on Networking. Students will learn the differences between Client-Server and Peer-to-Peer. They will also continue learning all about HTML.
Design and Technology
Year 7: At the start of next term students will begin the signage/logo project. Students will be required to design a digital image that can be laser cut to create signage for a specific client. This project includes an understanding of signage and logos to develop brands and convey visual messages.
Year 8: After the half term students will continue the manufacture of their pop-up book. Students will be using a range of card mechanisms such as rotary, v-fold, internal stand, mouth and slide. The project allows students to learn to develop their design communication skills and understand basic graphic principles of fonts, typefaces, colour styles and semantics.
Year 9: After the break students will be designing a new product for the Design Museum shop in the UK. The Design Ventura competition is the Design Museum’s flagship learning project. It is an opportunity for students to develop design thinking, creative and business capabilities and employability skills.
Year 10: After the half term students will continue to complete their practice Non-Examined Assessment for their Design and Technology GCSE. So far students have completed the research and investigation section and will be moving onto creating a range of creative and unique design ideas.
Year 11: Students are currently completing the Non-Examined Assessment coursework element of the GCSE course. So far students have completed the research and investigation stage and over the past week, they have been producing a range of design ideas. After the break students will be completing the review of design ideas page and development pages (which will include sketches, computer-aided design and modelling).
Drama and Performing Arts
Year 7- Have been exploring drama strategies this term. After half term, we will continue the scheme of work. They will be creating a whole class soundscape in response to several images and then they will start to plan their own radio play exploring what happens to the characters they created last term in the old spooky mansion!
Year 8- Will be exploring Stop-Motion Animation. They will learn about the history of the technique, as well as guidance on how to create their own stop motion films using voice to create effective voiceovers along with the skills of storyboarding, captions, and scriptwriting.
Year 9- Year 9 have completed some excellent work on Monologues. After half term, they will be exploring different film genres and styles. Focusing on documentaries and raising awareness through film. The students will work towards creating their own short campaign film to raise awareness/add their voice to an important cause already created in the world or to promote an issue they are passionate about whether at school, local community, or a wider global issue.
Year 10- Have had a great start to the Drama GCSE course. After half term, they will be starting their set exam text An Inspector Calls by J B Priestly. We will be reading the text and practically exploring the world of the play.
All year groups in Performing Arts are exploring World Performance. We have so far explored Chinese Theatre and after half term will be looking at performance traditions from Greece, Japan, Kerala, France, Italy, India, Bali, Africa, Turkey and many more. This work is to open our eyes to the many different theatrical, musical and dance traditions from around the globe. All leading to create mini-projects.
Year 7’s have been studying the text War Horse. They have been examining the bond between a young man and his horse and the friendship that develops between the two in a difficult stage for them both.
Year 8 have been reading the text ‘Private Peaceful’. They have looked at life during World War I, how it started and the living conditions of those in that time. We briefly looked at the many non-European countries that also contributed to the War effort that truly made it a ‘World’ war. They have also focused on topics such as propaganda and those that were left behind. Students particularly enjoyed taking part in socially distanced group tasks.
Year 9’s have been reading the dystopian novel – ‘The Hunger Games’. The novel takes place in an alternate world where young people take part in a set of gruesome tasks in order to win privileges for their district. The students have enjoyed the book thus far as it allowed them to make comparisons to issues of inequality in the real world but yet be creative with the technologically advanced aspect of the tale. In the picture below you can the students presenting their products designed for one of the districts in the story.
The Year 10’s begun their GCSE courses. They have been enthusiastic about their learning and spending hours working on the structure of their writing. They have also spent substantial time researching the context of the short stories they are studying; learning about the lives of Inghuits, the Somalian War of the 1990’s, the migrant experience and living between cultures.
The Year 11’s have completed the final section of the anthology and began their revision for their Mock exams commencing November. They have worked extremely hard to balance all their workloads for all subjects.
Year 12’s have been studying Othello and Great Expectations. They have risen to the challenge of reading outside of the classroom, particularly reading academic commentaries on their exam texts. They have also been learning about the renaissance period and how that influenced the cultural norms of the day and reflecting on to what extent some cultural norms still stand today.
In Geography, we have been studying about life in Africa in Year 7 looking at the different types of ecosystems found there and the difficulties some of the people face such as changing climates.
In Year 8, students have been able to analyse why some countries are more developed than other countries and can analyse development indicators to suggest reasons why they are at the level of development.
In Year 9, students have been studying about what factors affect the population of a country and why the population changes as it becomes more developed. We have also looked at the migration patterns around the world.
In Year 10, students have learned about the physical concepts that cause plate tectonics and the hazards associated with the movement of plates. We have analysed how different countries are better prepared to cope with certain hazards.
In Year 11, we have studied about economic activity and the factors that affect the types of jobs in each country and why industries change as countries become more developed.
In Year 12, we have studied the different natural disasters in detail and how human and physical factors affect the damaged caused. We have also looked at how countries have different levels of vulnerability and the capacity to cope during and after a disaster.
In Year 7, we have been studying about the Romans and looking into detail about their lifestyle.
In Year 8, we have been studying about empires and the implications this still has on today’s society.
In Year 9, we have been learning about the rise of a dictator and how Hitler was able to come into power and how he influenced how people behaved and thought, this will link to our next topic when we study World War Two.
In Year 10, we have been studying about the origins and course of World War One and how several factors created tension in the European countries which then lead to the start of World War One between two groups of countries: Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente.
In Year 11, we have been studying how medicine has changed throughout the course of history and how the developments and technology save millions of people today.
In Year 12, we have been studying the Russian Revolution and having a deeper understanding of the different factors that led to the rise of the communist party.
Year 7 students will be learning fraction, decimal and percentages.
Year 8 students will be learning mental calculations along with fraction, decimal and percentages.
Year 9 will be learning the properties of 2D shapes and to be able to find interior and exterior angles for 2D shapes.
Year 10 will be learning how to identify upper and lower bounds and use them to solve problems.
Year 11 will be learning how to solve simultaneous equations when one equation is quadratic and one equation is linear. They will be also doing a unit test for Functions Unit on 5.11.20.
Year 12 will be learning straight line graphs equations and trigonometric ratios.
Year 7 - We will be learning about African drumming, starting with the playing techniques of the Djembe and learning the main features of the drum.
Year 8 - We will be looking at what makes a good presentation about music. How to describe and identify the genres of the student's own choice.
Year 9 - We will be looking at the issues that arise when we consider music in a wider society. Students will be researching issues in the first week back.
Students have been working hard this term exploring theoretical concepts of sport and exercise whilst completing weekly fitness challenges. They have had the opportunity to learn about sport in society, current issues that sports stars are facing and how it can impacts their goals. Next term students will continue to keep up their strength and fitness through weekly challenges and will have the opportunity to explore in more detail cultural sports around the world.
Year 10 PE students have started the GCSE PE course this term and have been learning about health, fitness and wellbeing. They have had the opportunity to design a nutritional diet plan for their favourite athlete after learning all about a balanced diet and nutrients.
Year 11 PE students have excelled this term in GCSE PE and have been working towards their end of year exams with great momentum. They have had the opportunity to explore how commercialisation and the media have a huge impact on sport and the financial side of sports and events. We are now currently learning about the biomechanics of sport and the range of movement the human body can make. Students have created their own lever systems, planes and axis.
This Half Term in Science we have found creative ways to Introduce science at the secondary school level, some of the concepts we have looked at include:
In Year 7, we have looked at the cellular structure of living organisms and what makes them human, how physical matter can be mixed and separated and we have introduced the students to the concept of the conservation of energy.
In Year 8, we have studied the digestive system and its unique structure, combustion, what makes fire extinguishing possible and how the states of matter govern most of the physical universe.
In Year 9, we have looked at how metals are extracted, the genetic make-up of humans and its links to variation and survival. We have also studied how electric motors work.
In Year 10, we are consolidating on last year's introduction to the IGSCEs curriculum and we hope to build on it in the next half term.
In Year 11, we are inching closer to the end of the course and we have started placing emphasis on exam techniques and exam-style questions, this will become the focus more in the next few weeks.
In Year 12, We have had a smooth transition to the IAL courses across all sciences, and at the moment, we are progressing towards the January exams effectively.
Year 7: After the break students will begin the mood light project. They will also develop their CAD/CAM skills with the use of the laser cutter and vinyl plotter. In the first couple of lessons, students will produce a design brief and initial specification, whilst looking at existing products and carrying out primary research.
Year 8: Once students return from the half-term break, they will continue the design and manufacture of a small batch of identical lanterns based around a theme. Students will work in groups to design and manufacture lanterns to help them understand manufacturing processes including batch and scales of production.
Year 9: Students will be designing and making sustainable packaging to promote the reduction of food waste after the half term. The challenge for this project is for students to identify any product which is currently packed and distributed using single-use polymers or mixed materials, and to design an innovative packaging solution. Students will gain an understanding of how over the past two years packaging has become a major consumer concern.
Year 12 BTEC Engineering
Year 12: After the half-term break, students will be developing their understanding of two-dimensional computer-aided drawings that can be used in engineering processes. Students will learn about the principles of engineering drawings and the attributes of orthographic projections. Students will be using computer-aided design (CAD) systems to produce engineering drawings and circuit diagrams.
Year 12 BTEC Travel & Tourism
BTEC International Travel and Tourism has been offered at Oryx International School for the first time this year. The students have been hard at work completing their assessments for Unit One in the course. They have been studying about the businesses involved in the travel and tourism industry and learning about the key components and scale of the industry, using data to analyse key trends and their impact.