14 Aug 2020

Letter from the Principal

Dear Parents/Guardians and Student,

I hope that you have found the last three days of school with your tutors a positive start to the 2020 – 2021 academic year and that you are now all set and ready to go. At our last check 67% of our parents have signed up to use the ESF App. Very shortly we will be moving to the ESF App exclusively for our communications, so all parents/guardians should download it so that you can stay up-to-date with events at Sha Tin College. We have produced a handy guide on all of the app features and how to use it. You can access that here.

Going forward please note the following:

1) Please find attached our Online Learning Protocols. These have been updated to reflect the required use of cameras and information about the afternoon learning sessions. We have also included suggestions for parents/guardians to support the success of your children in an online environment.

2) To enhance our online learning environment, all subjects will now be using google classroom. Work will be posted on google classroom and parents/guardians will be able to receive a daily or weekly notification of work set. The Senior Leader for Learning Technologies and Systems, Dr. Kathryn Reed, will send more detailed communication about this via the ESF App so be sure to look out for that. Homework/classwork will now no longer be set on SMART.

3) As I mentioned in my letter last week, based on student feedback, we have adjusted our daily schedule to better support students in balancing direct group engagement with teachers and time to get work done independently. We are piloting this approach for three weeks and will then take feedback from students, teachers and parents/guardians. The new daily schedule is below for your reference. All zoom links for lessons will automatically appear on your child’s calendar according to this new schedule. All students and teachers will remain working and be available until the end of the school day as normal.

4) As you are aware we had our IB MYP authorisation visit last June. We were notified by the IB in July that we were successful and we have now been authorised to offer the IB MYP. This IB programme is now running in Years 7, 8 and 9. We were delighted with this news and look forward to moving into the next stage of programme implementation. I’d also like to welcome our new IB MYP Coordinator Ms. Janice Lee. Ms. Lee is a very experienced MYP Coordinator and workshop leader who also teaches History and I&S for us. Parents will have the opportunity to hear from Ms. Lee during our Back to School Night in a few weeks.

5) With Mr. Matthew Ko stepping down from his role as parent representative on the Sha Tin College School Council I will be writing to you next week for parent nominations to stand for election. Be sure to watch out for that if you would like to join the School Council. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Matthew for his two years of dedicated service to the School Council and for the wonderful work he did on behalf of parents/guardians.

6) Thank you for your patience while we rolled out our e payment system and apologies for the initial technical difficulties. The registration process is now entirely digital, more environmentally-friendly and far more efficient. Please contact <info@stconline.edu.hk> if there are any issues with overpayment or questions about calculators or language choices and the query will be passed along to the appropriate person. Please bear with us as our staff are currently working from home and there may be slight delay in responding to queries.

7) Next week will see the release of the remainder of our I/GCSE results. If you are following this in the media, you will be aware of questions being raised about the award of grades. We have already received the results for our students from the Cambridge Examination Board. VP Curriculum Ms. Kellie Fagan has written to our Year 12 parents/guardians. For now, all that we can do is to wait for the release of all our results and await further clarification from the examination boards about how grades were awarded and what an appeal process will look like. In the meantime, Year 12 students should concentrate on making a strong start with their IBDP/CP and not worry too much about the status of their I/GCSE results as this will likely take some time to get clarity on. I can assure you that we are already communicating with the boards and working on this with our ESF colleagues. We will be sharing information about our I/GCSE results in due course when the information is available.

8) With concern globally for Year 13 students’ ability to complete the full published assessment requirements for the May 2021 examination session the IB have just released updated assessment requirements. We are currently in the process of evaluating how this will impact our Year 13 curriculum. The intention of the IB is to streamline assessment requirements for May 2021 to alleviate pressure and volume of work on Year 13 students. We welcome this recognition by the IB that students have been unable to access face-to-face lessons for the past several months and that meeting all the usual IB assessment requirements in the current climate could be difficult. We will be looking at this further to see how this can positively impact our students.

As you can see from the above, there is a lot happening. As always however, we have an excellent team here at the College determined to offer support and guidance for all our students and families.

Kind regards,
Carol Larkin
Principal – Sha Tin College