The River Thames outside DLD College London

From The Principal #190

22nd September 23

Sarah Watson
Sarah Watson, Vice Principal (Academic)

Our third week of term has brought a stability across the school, as students and teachers settle into their timetables and routines of the day. The start of each academic year reminds us of the importance of human connection and relationship building, to feel comfortable and confident in our environment, and importantly to create a space in which we can learn. Students are forming friendships with each other and beginning to form positive relationships with their teachers and tutors. I have also been delighted to begin to build partnerships with some of our parents and guardians, and I look forward to meeting many more of you throughout the academic year, as we support your child’s growth and development together.

Students, by this point, will have had their initial assessments which give teachers a baseline of their current skills and knowledge in their subject areas. As a distinguished academic institution, it is important that we ensure that students are on the most appropriate courses for their level, and also for their university and career aspirations. I have enjoyed speaking with many students individually this week, to listen to their goals for the future, and to give advice on the best pathways to achieving them. It is not always the pathway we envisage, but we must all adapt if we are to meet the end goals that we set for ourselves, perhaps also a metaphor for life! I have appreciated the combined support of academic staff, parents, guardians and agents in engaging students in those conversations.

Continuing on the theme of academics, on 3rd October all students will be sitting annual baseline skills testing. UK and international schools use Cambridge CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) which provides computer-delivered adaptive tests designed to measure a student’s aptitude for learning. As students get questions right or wrong, the programme automatically changes subsequent questions to challenge at an appropriate level. As such, there is no way to revise for this testing and students are not expected to prepare in any way. The feedback simply provides teachers with information that can be used to start conversations with students about their learning.

However, development as a student is about much more than subjects and results. Co-curricular activities (CCAs) have now begun! It has been wonderful to see students expand their capabilities or take the opportunity to try something new in a wide variety of activities. Holistic development is good for one’s soul, however it is also a vital tool for building a successful profile for university and work applications. We should always aim to be as interesting a person as possible, to be able to speak with passion, and to stand out from a sea of applicants who have the exact same grades. The brand of ‘you’ is something that we speak about with students in Careers lessons, Personal Development courses and PSHE (Personal, Social, Health, Economic education). The brand that you put out to the world is something we are all continually working on, and we are proud of our students at DLD College London for developing their own unique and considered take on this.

Please do look out for an email containing more detailed information about academic life at DLD. I look forward to connecting with more of our community in the coming weeks.

Sarah Watson, Vice Principal Academic