- A framework of what our school offers for its provision of learning.
Our Purpose / Shared Vision
Our core belief at Saigon Star is that education should help children to acquire a balance of academic achievement and personal qualities, that will support them as lifelong learners and enable them to contribute in meaningful ways to our rapidly-changing, global society.
“Intelligence plus character - that is true goal of education.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Our goal is to be recognised, externally, as a leading IPC school.
Our School’s Definition of Learning
“Learning is the acquisition of knowledge, the development of skills, and the deepening of one’s understanding. It occurs when neural connections are either created or strengthened in the brain.”
For students aged 2-5, we utilise the International Early Years Curriculum. This is supplemented by five hours of Montessori per week for children in Pre-School up to Year 1.
At the primary level, we follow two curricula: the English National Curriculum is used to teach English Reading and Writing, Mathematics and Computing. All other subject goals are taught through the International Primary Curriculum (IPC).
All children receive two lessons per week with PE and Performing Arts specialist teachers, and Modern Foreign Languages is taught from Year 1 upwards.
Through using these curricula, we aim:
a) To offer a broad, balanced, relevant and rigorous curriculum to all learners
b) To give learners the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding that will equip them for life in the 21st Century
c) To maximise learning opportunities and develop students into lifelong learners
d) To ensure equal opportunities for all learners, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion or background
e) To promote learners’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
What is It?
The IEYC, IPC and IMYC are international, comprehensive and future-oriented curriculums designed specifically for learners aged 2 to 14, growing up in the 21st Century. They nurture a love of learning and encourage the necessary key skills, personal qualities and habits of mind.
The curriculum has a few fundamental beliefs:
a) Learning is about making connections and we ensure that all learners are given the opportunity to see the ‘Big Picture’.
b) Relaxed alertness, not stress, is the best state for learning. This is achieved through providing high challenge but low threat.
c) Children and adults access learning in different ways and a variety of opportunities must be provided and experienced by learners.
d) Time needs to be created for complex thinking time - ‘slow thinking’ time.
e) Good health is important for effective learning.
The IPC curriculum consists of three types of learning goals.
Each learner at Saigon Star International School has a set of Personal Goals to strive for; these personal goals refer to those individual qualities and dispositions children will find essential in the 21st century. Efforts towards achieving these goals are reflected in our whole curriculum and other aspects of school life. The personal goals are not age-specific and apply to children and adults of all ages.
These are the goals listed for each subject. Please note that although all goals are covered over the course of each two-year cycle, not all subjects are covered in every unit of work.
The IPC is unique in defining learning goals that help young children begin the move towards an increasingly sophisticated national and international perspective.
The IPC view of an international perspective is based upon:
a) A knowledge and understanding of one’s own national culture.
b) An awareness and understanding of the independence of and the interdependence between peoples.
b) An awareness and understanding of the independence of and the interdependence between countries.
d) An awareness and understanding of the essential similarities between the peoples and countries of the world.
Our School’s Definition of International-Mindedness
‘A developing awareness, understanding, appreciation and respect of the similarities and differences between our own lives and those of others within our global community.’
An Internationally-Minded Person:
A Definition of Culture
The ways of living that exists within a particular society or group.
Our Personal Learning Goals
Strategies we use to help learners, teachers and the community to know about our Personal Learning Goals:
What do we want for our learners?
WHY do we want this?
What do we want for our learners?
WHY do we want this?
Living a life of integrity means that we never have to spend time or energy questioning ourselves or our past choices. When we listen to our hearts and do the right thing, life becomes simple.
Furthermore, integrity is perhaps the most important principle of leadership. People with integrity are more likely to be given higher level responsibilities because they are trusted to always do the right thing.
Relationships with others are vital to our survival and showing respect to others, people’s belongings and our environment is essential for building and maintaining those relationships.
Cooperation enables us to complete certain tasks that would either not be possible by ourselves, take much longer, or not be performed to the same standard.
In our increasingly interdependent, global society, cooperation is required at many levels, between individuals, organisations and even countries.
Having good communication skills helps us to think about and consider multiple perspectives, which is the beating heart of every thriving community.
In addition to being able to express ideas and feelings clearly, good communication skills enable us understand the thoughts and feelings of others.
Good reading, writing, speaking and listening skills are essential, but so too are recognising non-verbal cues.
Curiosity / Enquiry
One of the most reliable and overlooked keys to happiness is cultivating and exercising our innate sense of curiosity. That’s because curiosity — a state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something — creates an openness to unfamiliar experiences, laying the groundwork for greater opportunities to experience discovery, joy and delight.
There is also evidence to suggest that having a higher curiosity quotient (CQ) is important when it comes to managing complexity and finding simple solutions to problems, allowing people to making meaningful contributions to society.
If learning is a product of thinking, being able to think deeply enables us to do four things well:
Life constantly presents new and difficult challenges. Being resilient helps us to achieve things that others would not, and to have the self-belief that we can tackle any challenge, if we maintain a positive “can-do” attitude.
Many adults react negatively to change, however, it is a certainty that we will find ourselves in many new and unfamiliar situations throughout our lives. How we react in these situations is telling.
Being able to maintain a positive attitude to change, evaluate each new environment, learn new rules quickly, and adapt our behaviour to each situation is therefore essential.
If education is about preparing students for the world they live in, our job is to prepare learners for a world that is becoming increasingly international.
Many of the students we teach today already have a dual nationality, speak 2 or 3 languages, and are almost certain to go and live and work in other countries around the world and/or live and work alongside people from many other countries.
In order to build relationships with the people we meet, we have to show a developing interest, understanding, appreciation and respect for the similarities and differences between our own lives and those of others.
Risk-Taking → Growth-Mindset
People who are willing to go beyond their comfort zone, try new things and risk failure, will do more, learn more and achieve more than those who don’t.
They are willing to accept difficulty and/or failure as a possibility, knowing that they can exercise control over what happens next time. This “growth mindset”creates lifelong learners who are open and eager to work hard and learn new things, which is critical in a fast-changing world.
“We like to try new things”.
Risk-taking means attempting something where failure is a possibility but may lead to positive results.
Agreed Classroom Practices
(linked to our School’s Shared Vision)
Below are the agreed structures and strategies that we, as a school, believe will contribute to improving learning and impact on the shared vision of the children the school is helping to develop.
What do we want for our learners?
HOW we do it
What do we want for our learners?
HOW we do it
“We are honest and choose to do the right thing, even when no-one is watching.”
“We consider people’s feelings when we act. We are polite and kind to others, and care for the environment
“We learn and play together with focus, to complete our tasks.
(to be reviewed)
present information, exchange ideas, express our feelings and listen to others with empathy.”
Varying structure, time, and location to appropriate learner level.
Define learning as KSU and what learner and teacher roles were (eg “This is how I learned/practised/understood” etc and, “This is how my teacher helped me”
Vary group sizes based on age-appropriate levels to teach expectations and consolidate concept/reason for showcase
Any subjects to be represented/encouraged including Performing Arts, Languages, and PE
Explicit and age-appropriate connection/symbol for neural connections
Curiosity / Enquiring Mind
“We have a hungry mind. We like to ask questions and find out more.”
“We go beyond our first thoughts.”
“We go beyond our first observations, our first ideas and the obvious connections. We seek multiple perspectives and strive to ask more insightful questions.”
“We never give up.”
“We are flexible. We cope with change (new people, new places and new rules) easily.”
“We think about the similarities and differences between our own lives and those of others.”
All Personal Goals
Our School’s Definition of Rigour
Rigorous learning is when learners engage deeply because they believe the learning is important; when every child (or group of children) is challenged appropriately and sufficiently, and when every learner is held accountable for completing the task to the expected level.
Four ‘States’ of Learning
IEYC, IPC & IMYC Curriculum Map
English & IPC short term plans
Planning booklets to be printed (double-sided) and annotated using the following guidelines/checklist:
Expected number of hours per task
Dates of lesson/s
Primary Learning Goal highlighted
A Clear Lesson Outcome i.e. what will be produced?
Product or Process Success Criteria
e.g. knowledge checks, exit pass or use of the rubrics
1 or 2 Personal Goal/s identified
Cooperative Learning Structures
Differentiation - for learners working at B/D/M level
Specific EAL/SEN support
Role of each adult
Power of Reading Scheme - teaching English through the use of high quality texts.
Units to be accessed from Google Drive, downloaded and annotated with lesson goal, KSU, success criteria (aka ‘WILF’), differentiation and role of adults (CT, LTA etc).
Maths Medium Term Planning:
- annotate PUMA curriculum maps with how many days per subject area
→ See planning guidance, template and exemplar in Google Drive
We recognise 3 different TYPES of learning at Saigon Star. Each one has unique distinctions and therefore needs to be taught, learned and assessed differently. Below are our school’s agreed assessment techniques for each.
Chosen Assessment Strategies
Why It’s Important To Assess/Reflect
To help learners to think of a ‘hook’
To think of a ‘hook’
Tests help us to reflect on which knowledge is secure and which knowledge is not secure YET.
To model, observe & coach
Reflections help us to know where we are on a continuum and help us plan what we need to do next to make further progress.
To reflect /
Reflections help the learner to process how their understanding of something has changed (or deepened) as a result of new learning.
Recording and Reporting Assessments of
Knowledge, Skill & Understanding
Knowledge is secure or not yet secure. We can record this as ‘Achieved’ and ‘Working Towards’. Knowledge goals that are not yet achieved are shared with parents via Assertive Mentoring Targets (shared termly) and end of year reports.
Skills are assessed along a continuum. These stages are labelled as Beginning, Developing or Mastering, however, some children may achieve beyond what is expected. We call this ‘exceeding’ (see the staircase analogy on following page). Learners and teachers use rubrics (written statements describing what the learners’ performance might look like for each learning goal) to make judgements and provide learning advice.
Assessing children’s understanding is complex, since it requires to teacher to access and evaluate children’s thinking. We do not formally record our evaluations but do believe it is important to provide learners to reflect on theses learning goals.
Providing Feedback that Moves Learning Forward
Overarching Idea: ‘Feedback should cause thinking.’
Maths-Specific - Rather than using ticks and crosses, tell children how many errors there are, and challenge them to find and correct the errors themselves. If all the answers are correct, set a new challenge e.g. Not Try ….
Home-Learning - If children’s home-learning projects do not meet the expected standard, mark it as ‘not finished yet’ and return it.
sp Spelling error
p Punctuation error
gr Grammatical error
^ Missing word
// New line or paragraph
→ Learning Advice
Summary of changes:
Behaviour / Classroom Management
In order to maximise learning time, the following are recommended:
• All classroom equipment such as air-conditioner, projector, speakers to be in good working order before the beginning of each day. Any faults to be dealt with in a timely manner.
• All books, worksheets, resources or other equipment to be on tables at the beginning of each lesson
• All Teachers to be outside between 8.25-8.30am in order to welcome students before lessons begin
• When the bell rings, older students are to make their way inside (i.e. they do not need to line up first)
• Teaching Assistants are to escort students back to class after morning break and lunchtimes
• Clear, agreed routines for entering and exiting the school building and classrooms are to be practised and reinforced
• Agreed carpet and table positions to ensure lessons start promptly and there is minimal disruption during lesson transitions
• Quiet signal - should take no longer than 3-5 seconds for class to achieve quiet. Consider changing each term to keep it fun for students.
• Clear routines for handing out and collecting materials are to be e.g. one person from each pair (As and Bs) or group (1-4) to distribute and collect materials
• All classroom resources to have a designated ‘home’ and to be clearly labelled to reduce time spent searching for resources
• All children’s equipment such as pencils, whiteboards, pens and erasers to be in good order before the beginning of each day to reduce interruptions to workflow
• Use of a Visual Timer to signal how much time is remaining for the task is encouraged in some lessons to create a sense of urgency and ensure learners get started promptly and make the most of the time available.
• Music might be used in some lessons to encourage ‘flow’ - 60 bpm during solo work (reading, writing, solving problems) / 120 bpm during non-academic activities
• ‘Sponge’ activities available for students who finish tasks e.g. reflection questions, reading corner
To encourage 100% attendance and ensure learners are organised for lesson (have all of the necessary items with them) house points are awarded each week for meeting these two criteria.
Parent Communication & Home-School Partnership
At Saigon Star, we truly value the important role that parents and carers play in their child’s education; it is no coincidence that students of parents who are actively engaged in their child’s education often outperform those whose parents are not. As such, we aim to develop a close-working partnership with all parents through high-quality, timely communication. Since the majority of our students travel to school by bus, the majority of communication is done electronically.
Daily - Class Dojo is a communication tool that allows teachers to post photos and videos of learning to a private newsfeed, which parents can see in real-time. It is available as ‘App’ on both iOS and Android, or by logging on to the Class Dojo website. A maximum of 3-4 posts per day is recommended in order to avoid saturation and disengagement from parents. Teachers should aim to include multiple students in each post, together with a learning focused comment. ‘Pic Collage’ is a great app for including multiple photos in the same post. Class Dojo also offers a useful messaging service which can be used to share reminders or short messages. MP3 also use SeeSaw extensively.
Weekly - Teachers are to send a message to parents every Friday afternoon via Class Dojo with a brief summary of upcoming events, reminders and information about the learning that will be taking place the following week.
Per Topic - At the beginning of each new unit of work, the class teacher should send parents an overview of the theme to be covered and ways that parents can help their child at home during that unit of work.
Following Assessment Weeks - Teachers send home ‘Assertive Mentoring’ targets that they feel parents could support their child with at home. Student progress towards these targets will be evaluated during each assessment week.
Parent-Teacher Consultations - These face-to-face meetings happen bi-annually, however parents are encouraged to share any concerns with their child’s class teachers as and when they arise. Any concerns are responded to with 24 working hours.
Written Reports - Teachers send home written end of year reports, detailing learner’s progress and attainment in subject, personal, social and emotional learning.
Events - To overcome the issue of parents rarely visiting school due to our bus service, Saigon Star organises various family events throughout the year in order to develop better relationships and a stronger home-school partnerships. This includes: Coffee-Mornings, Parent Voice Meetings, Open Days, Parent Workshops, Camping Events, Mid-Autumn Festival, Tet Celebration, Sakura Hanami festival, Family-Fun Day (Roller Dash), Exit Points, Christmas & Summer Shows, Library Volunteers.
Periodically - As of January 2018, explanations regarding different parts of the the school curricula are sahred via a Blog, available here: https://saigonstarschool.blogspot.com/
Understandably, all parents have different expectations about what is an appropriate amount and frequency of home-learning. As such, we have the following policy.
Our core beliefs and values:
For these reasons, Saigon Star sets out the following expectations:
Each milepost’s current topic overview and home-learning menus are available to parents on the school's website: http://saigonstarschool.edu.vn/home-learning-menus/
Students learn best when there is no underlying or unresolved conflicts, when they like the people they are working with, and feel valued as an individual. However, conflict with others is an inevitable part of life for children; problems often arise because children don’t yet have the necessary skills to avoid or resolve conflict alone. All staff are committed to guiding and supporting all students through conflict resolution.
Before small conflicts escalate into something bigger, and use up valuable time to solve, students should be encouraged by staff to utilize relevant personal learning goals to help them resolve conflicts with minimal staff support. Guiding students helps them cultivate these skills for future, independent use.
When major conflict does arise, there is generally little to no chance of further learning taking place. It is the responsibility of every community member to ensure every student feels safe, respected, and valued, and any unacceptable behaviour must be reported to the teachers of students involved to ensure incidents are dealt with effectively and immediately.
At Saigon Star International School, we have the following definitions:
“Behaviour Incident”: When a person’s behaviour shows a lack of respect for people/property
“Bullying”: When a person’s behaviour, once asked to stop, is repeated and targeted towards another person (this includes not considering one’s audience when repeating the behaviour). This also includes any online or cyber actions targeted against another person.
If the conflict is unable to be resolved using personal learning goal skills, the following conflict resolution procedure should be followed until a resolution is achieved.
Behaviour Policy and Personal Learning Goal Expectations
Personal Learning Goal Expectations: A systematic approach favouring the reinforcement of desired behaviours in order to support a strong school culture and ethos, as per our Shared Vision Statement, where all students can strive for excellence.
The Goals of this Policy:
Cycle of Establishing a School Culture:
Pupils will be expected to:
It is important that effort is acknowledged. Attainment of academic or behaviour goals, or demonstration of Personal Learning Goals may be acknowledged by each Milepost as is age-appropriate, preferably as soon as possible following the achievement. Students may also acknowledge others or themselves when they feel they have been successful and are proud of their work/behaviour.
Caught in the Act
Research has shown that students respond most quickly to high rates of DRO (Differentiated Reinforcement of Other Behaviours) to shape and change culture and embed expectations
Pupils are awarded house points weekly for attendance and preparedness. Staff record the House Points on a Google Drive document to be announced weekly. Term winners are announced and acknowledged with an ice-cream party or other similar event.
Other Teacher / Headteacher Acknowledgement
Positive referrals can be given by the Headteacher/Other Teacher as an event to acknowledge a student’s particular effort. A small item is given following a brief student/teacher discussion about the student’s success and self-evaluation.
Caught in the Act
Following Personal Learning Goal Expectations in any setting
Acknowledgement appropriate to Year group/Milepost
Anywhere on Campus
Individual- Available to all in Milepost
Anyone who witnesses success
Once Yearly Per House
Other Teacher / Headteacher Acknowledgement
Marked improvement or Best effort or following Personal Learning Goal
Growth Mindset Stickers
Anywhere on Campus
When student achieves criteria with care not to use too often lest in lessen the meaning
Other Teacher / Headteacher or member of the SLT
Times Tables/ Academic Performance
Maximum Academic Achievement
Certificate of Achievement
Once per Term
SUPPORT STRUCTURES FOR AVERSIVE BEHAVIOURS
The following structures exist within the school to support pupils whose behaviour is causing concern. It is essential to re-teach the expectation In the case of repeated behavioural disruptions, parental communication and/or involvement is essential.
TIER 1 - PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH MINOR INFRACTIONS
A team of mentors works within the school to support and encourage pupils who are not achieving their potential.
Involvement of Behavioural Support Specialist Teacher (Often SENCO)
SEN/Behavioural Support Specialist consults with teacher/families if needed to advise on support plans/strategies or to work with pupils on an individual basis (social skills). All students are updated in the EWSI Behavioural Index for reference.
Pupil Support Plans / Behaviour Contracts
These plans are for pupils who repeatedly demonstrate disruptive behaviours and should be evaluated every three to four weeks for effectiveness. Students need time to understand and adjust their behaviour to the expectation. Pupils have set targets and the school’s interventions are stated.
Milepost Appropriate Reflections
In the event a student commits an infraction of a more serious nature, a Milepost appropriate consequence (such as “Thinking Chair” or Behavioural Evaluation Slip/Agreement is to be completed with the student)
(See Attachment of Pyramid of Support and Aversive Behaviours)
TIER 3 - PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR
More serious incidents can be dealt with by the teacher. If appropriate, additional staff and parents will be involved for support, follow-through, and consequence.
All incidents of students being monitored should be logged and take appropriate action. They are also responsible for dealing with serious incidents which are likely to result in the continuum of consequences appropriate to the infraction.
Members of the Senior Leadership Team are available throughout the day to remove pupils from lessons where there is serious disruption. Subject teachers should send a sensible pupil to the main office who will contact the member of the SLT who are on duty. These incidents are to be recorded as well.
The Headteacher (or a member of the SLT deputising for the Head) is the only member of staff who can sanction a fixed term suspension or permanent exclusion. In all cases, parents/guardians are informed in writing of the reasons for the suspension/exclusion and their right of appeal. Suspended pupils are provided with work for the full duration.
1.0 Cooperative Learning Principles – ‘PIES’
• Positive Interdependence - A powerful principle that quickly and easily creates positive relationship between students, as each student hopes their partner comes up with good answers, knowing a gain for one is a gain for the other. There can also be a healthy bit of negative interdependence or “friendly competition” whereby teams compete against each other for the best ideas or answers. Sharing, caring, verbal skills, and listening skills are enhanced as a result.
• Individual Accountability - Individual Accountability means holding students accountable for doing their part. Every student is required to regularly and repeatedly contribute ideas in front of an audience (their partner, team or class) creating engagement and learning. Students know they can’t hide because the structures themselves often hold them accountable. (No logs!)
• Equal Participation - All students participate approximately equally, based on either time or turns. (No hogs!)
• Simultaneous Interaction - At any one moment, up to half the students in the class are overtly active rather than just one student in the class.
Saigon Star International School Learning Policy, 2018-19