This is the start of your fourth year as Principal, how would you describe the past three years?
It has been a wonderful opportunity to make significant changes to what was already a very popular school. The BIC community have been very supportive and I am encouraged as to how far the school has come since my arrival in September 2015.
What would you say are the most significant changes?
Well, apart from the obvious – BIC students are now recognised across the island thanks to their new uniforms – I think the biggest change is that we are instilling in our students a strong and realistic desire to want to achieve. A school has to give students the opportunity to meet their goals and key to that is academic success. To achieve this we introduced a new target-driven reporting system that allows us to track students and monitor progress leading to support where needed and extension where required.
Do you think these have been successful?
I think so, we have had very good results this year, 88% of our Year 11 students obtained grade A* to C at IGCSE with 83% of A Level students gaining A* to C in their examinations. There is work to do, these results need to be repeated and improved upon year on year.
What plans are there to achieve that?
The school is lucky to have some very experienced and committed staff. There have of course been some required staffing changes these past years, but I think I can say that this is one of the strongest teams I have had the privilege to work with. To our already existing team, we have made some truly excellent appointments, a new Director of Sport who will re-design our whole PE curriculum, a new Head of Humanities, a Head of Maths and key teachers in both English and Spanish. There are more of course and last year saw the arrival of the new Head of Secondary, Head of English and the appointment of the Head of Sixth Form.
That is a significant number of new teachers, how do you recruit these teachers?
We are all very lucky to live on this beautiful island and that is an obvious ‘pull factor’. My aim is to, where possible, appoint staff directly from the United Kingdom, especially for leadership posts. They understand the needs of the students well, have high expectations and understand our assessment and reporting needs, they are key to our success.
What are you looking forward to this year?
There are two things that are really very exciting. BIC is part of the Orbital group of schools, there are schools in Doha, Budapest, Moscow, Slovenia, Ecuador, and Shanghai – in fact, students from our school there came to visit last summer. We are now looking at ways to integrate these schools together, creating joint projects and reciprocal visits. This will make us a truly global school, very exciting indeed. We also welcomed students from our sister school – a beautiful, standalone Primary school in Sant Agustí – who last year saw their first Year 6 graduation. To welcome them to our campus and watch them grow up to be fine young men and women will be a delight.
What are the challenges for this academic year?
We wish to make Sport a flagship of the school. BIC is lucky to have excellent facilities, a full-size grass pitch, a running track, a swimming pool, three hard court areas and an indoor gym. Alex Fitzpatrick as Director of Sport has some excellent ideas to make this happen. As a former Assistant Headteacher, he understands the challenges to achieve this and is ideally suited to make BIC a centre for sporting excellence.
Is there any area of the school that will be a focus of activity this year?
Our Sixth Form is one of those such areas. We have excellent results at A Level, can offer a broad curriculum and deliver lessons to small teaching groups, offering a truly personalised service. In the coming weeks, our Head of Sixth Form will be launching the Sixth Form prospectus and hosting an information evening for parents at BIC and from other schools. We want to make post-16 learning a truly enriching experience. Students will be in Barcelona next month for the British Council Fair and, as the only COBIS school on the island, students from Year 11 to 13 have been invited to a 3-day ‘Leadership Conference’ in Madrid. Tony Gray, the Head of Sixth Form, is also the Chief Examiner for Economics with Edexcel and has written a number of textbooks and A Level study and revision guides that will be put to good use this year.
Are there any particular highlights from last year that you wish to share?
Celebrating 60 years educating the local and international community on the island was a special landmark. There are always new schools opening, but our experience based on six decades delivering excellent educational outcomes is very special. As was receiving a letter from HM Queen Elizabeth II celebrating that fact.
And finally, any message to the readers of the Majorca Daily Bulletin?
My thanks for their continued support. Choosing a school for your children is perhaps the most important decision a parent can make and I am always happy to meet parents and prospective parents, both at school or in and around Santa Ponsa. All Head Teachers enjoy talking about their schools and I am no different. Also the Majorca Daily Bulletin does such an excellent job of bringing the English-speaking community together, it is a wonderful publication.