Adapting and thriving in uncertain times
By Thomas Banyard, Headmaster, King’s College International School Bangkok
In September 2020, King’s Bangkok successfully opened its campus and welcomed over three hundred happy students. At the end of Term 1, 99.4% of parents reported that their child was happy at school and 100% were pleased with the well-rounded development of their child. In Term 2, we moved to online learning due to the second wave of COVID-19 and it felt like opening the school a second time. Once again, the feedback from our families was extremely positive: 97.4% felt satisfied with our online programme and 100% felt that their child was supported by their form tutor. However, we are so glad to have our students back on campus for what feels like our third opening. So, what lessons have we learnt and how will COVID-19 affect our school?
We adapted quickly because we have a community where everyone wants the same thing: for our students to be happy and successful. From our Board of Governors to our parents and carers, we all want the best for them, and this means supporting their teachers and carers. During online learning, 100% of teaching staff felt supported by the school and, more importantly, felt supported by the families. So how do we ensure we have the right people?
- All of our teachers face a rigorous selection process with all class teachers having a final round interview with King’s Wimbledon to ensure we have the same standards as our sister school.
- We are fortunate to have six teachers, which will grow to nine next year, who have come from King’s Wimbledon.
- We interview parents and children after a thorough set of academic assessments. The values of the whole family contribute to the child’s place at King’s Bangkok.
There are two ways to face a crisis: to see it as a damage-limitation exercise, or as an opportunity. Throughout online learning, children developed their key skills and received more personalised feedback. We focused on providing structure and small-group sessions, which helped our students progress, and our teachers went out of their way to support families through frequent communication. Furthermore, we looked at how best to help our community rather than simply emulate other schools:
- We developed an opt-out system for our youngest students with a tuition fee credit for this period.
- We lent iPads to parents and provided extra help and ICT support where needed
- We provided resource packs so that students could extend their learning
So how will COVID-19 affect education? We will use technology more and our teachers now have another way to deliver outstanding teaching. However, for us this pandemic highlighted the need for schools to adapt quickly. The only way to do this is to have people who share the same vision and will go above and beyond for our families. We feel blessed to have such a kind and happy community. It is clear that schools must put people first and we hope that COVID-19 has helped everyone see this more clearly.