Denla British School, or ‘DBS’, is dedicated to the development of an inspiring and nurturing environment in which students fulfil their unique potential as global leaders. As schools turn their attention to the new academic year, Vice-Principal, Mr. James Lyng answers questions on one of the main principles at DBS.
How important is Academic Excellence at DBS?
Academic Excellence for All is one of the key pillars of the DBS vision. Everyone in the DBS community enables the students to achieve their best possible results in all their endeavours.
What steps does DBS take to promote Academic Excellence?
Our enhanced British curriculum is the perfect platform to allow our students to achieve their potential. The curriculum design encourages rapid progress to give excellent foundations as they begin more rigorous studies in preparation for IGCSE and A level examinations. Our team of inspirational and well-trained teachers prepare very engaging and challenging lessons which allow each individual to thrive. We do not believe that ‘one size fits all’: children have different and unique talents and abilities. Personalised learning, based on a deep understanding of the child, allows us to support students as individuals as they aim for Academic Excellence. We carefully support students who need guidance to achieve these goals, and we offer extended learning opportunities for more confident and higher ability students. In this way, students and parents recognise that we are marking out challenging new pathways for Academic Excellence.
What do DBS teachers do, above and beyond subject knowledge, to encourage Academic Excellence?
All of our teachers have an excellent understanding of our enhanced British curriculum. In addition, their experience, and deep subject knowledge, allows them to go beyond this curriculum to ignite students’ passions and interests. The teachers at DBS focus on developing creative and higher order thinking skills. They also embed crucial independent learning skills from a very early age which allows students to seek out new learning and understanding for themselves. This is vital as the students get older and take IGCSE and A levels, which are well known globally for their academic rigour. DBS teachers are excellent at building children’s confidence to enable them to succeed. The DBS focus on developing the skills necessary for entrepreneurship and creative thinking, means that our lessons develop subject knowledge and all the tools that children need to achieve Academic Excellence.
How do you measure student progress towards Academic Excellence?
On a daily basis the teachers monitor and evaluate each individual’s progress towards short term goals within the lessons. Longer term progress is monitored against challenging Learning Objectives set for each half term. We determine whether our students are secure or exceeding these Learning Objectives in a number of ways: ongoing teacher assessment, in-class tests and quizzes and, in Year 5 to Year 8, more formal examinations in November and June. The teachers use this information to set challenging targets and to make sure that their students are receiving the right support if they need either more guidance or greater extension in the subject. In English, Maths and Science we use annual GL Assessments to allow us to compare ourselves against other schools around the world and in the UK.
What is done beyond the classroom to support Academic Excellence?
The extended day at DBS means that beyond normal curriculum time we can offer activities that also support Academic Excellence. This includes extra subject support for students, developing their English, working on projects, and clubs such as Chess, Young Enterprise and Model United Nations. We also have a very successful Accelerated Reader programme for all students in Y3-9 that extends the foundations built in Pre-Prep. This is mirrored by a Thai reading programme which encourages strength and depth of Thai culture beyond Thai lessons. The DBS Beacon programme for scholars and aspiring scholars will provide challenge and extension to our most able and engaged students who desire additional stimulation beyond the curriculum. Equally, our students successfully enter national and international competitions in all manner of subjects. The co-curricular programme is central to our belief in Academic Excellence for All – by nurturing students’ personal interests, and wellbeing, we give them the confidence to achieve their very best at DBS.
What about the parents?
Parental support is crucial and we have many different ways of engaging them in the academic life of the school. This may take the form of Parent Time in Pre-Prep or subject-based seminars and academic showcases. We regularly report on students’ attainment and progress, and encourage parents to have a supportive and open dialogue with our teachers and the Senior Management Team – our door is always open! Parents can also become involved in other ways, for example offering to become involved in the DBS Beacon programme, and this strengthens our DBS community.
Do you think Academic Excellence has been embedded in the school?
Absolutely. The whole community is collectively working towards this on a daily basis. One important aspect of excellence is reflection, and we are always mindful that we can continually strive to be better – as our motto states: ‘Always to Greater Things – Semper Ad Maiora’!