“A high quality education starts with relationships”.
(The Council of Essential Schools’ handbook for 21st Century Education)
Our guidance system aims to ensure all students are known and are able to build relationships with peers and significant adults in a trusting environment in order to support them as learners. To do this effectively the school population is divided into three smaller groupings, which we have called ‘Families’.
Learning Family Bauhinia is for students in Years 7 and 8. There are 400 students in this Family. There are Heads of Year for Year 7 and Year 8.
Our key aims in this family are to:
- Learn as much as we can about incoming students and their PYP experience and to use that understanding to shape their learning with us
- ensuring that they have the best possible introduction to the school.
- Continue to obtain the best possible personal picture of each individual child and to monitor, track and report academic and personal progress
- Give Year 7 students the chance to mix with and learn from Year 8 students
- Offer all the students a chance to take up leadership and personal development role
- Manage their learning choices and transfer into the next ‘Family’
The two Learning Families Bamboo and Banyan operate in parallel and run from Years 9 to 13. Each Family consists of approximately 500 students who are split into three Houses. Each House is led by the Head of House and there are ten tutors.
Our key aims in these two families is to:
- Establish a really strong House and Family spirit that is both unique and consistent with the values of the School
- Focus charity work through meaningful and sustainable relationships
- Advise and guide on each student’s personal study route and monitor, track and report academic and personal progress
- Provide personal and high quality careers guidance from Year 9 onwards
- Give younger students opportunities to mix with and learn from older peers
- Establish family relationships with particular Houses so that brothers and sisters can be known together and parents build relationships with a single Head of House
- Offer the best possible preparation, academically and emotionally, for students choosing and starting the Diploma programmes
- Offer a warm and welcoming House for new students
- Make sure that every child is known and known well
This supportive environment begins immediately upon entry to South Island School when each student joins their tutor group. The tutor group is made up of 18 students and the tutor & students remain together throughout years 7 to 13 helping to build trusting relationships and a group identity.
The Tutor role is a crucial one as they are a child’s most significant adult at school. They are the first point of contact for parent or student. The key role of the Tutor is to building relationships and help students meet their academic expectations.
Students are motivated to give of their best through a sense of ownership and belonging. By building relationships between Heads of Houses and Heads of Year, subject teachers, Tutors and parents, we work together to ensure that students develop the knowledge, skills and understanding to be confident, successful and independent individuals and members of society.
Student Support System
The school is aligned into a vertical system of three Learning Families, comprising of six houses which span two Learning Phases – a Foundation Phase of Years 7 and 8 and a Pathways phase from Years 9 to 13.
In the Foundation phase there is a Learning Family team which comprises Director of Lower School Carolyn Andrews and two Heads of Year, Andy Thums (Year 7) and Victoria Butcher (Year 8).
In the Pathways Phase there are two Learning Family teams led by Director of Senior School Annette Chapman and six Heads of Houses:
Family Coordinator Neil Picknell (Bahay), Anne Henderson (Casa) and Sophie Young (Shtepi).
Family Coordinator Paul Gardner (Kuca), Estelle Stringer (Maison) and Nat Webster (Namas).
All students from Years 7-13 are aligned into six houses, with each year group being sub arranged into two tutor groups per house.
Each Tutor group is made up of 18 students. The Tutor and students remain together throughout Years 7 to 13. These small student adult ratios are achieved by having nearly every member of staff take responsibility for a Tutor group.
The role of the Tutor is a crucial one as they are advocates for their students and they serve as the main adult point of contact, gathering information from other teachers about what the student needs and spearheading efforts to support them. Tutors make every effort to ensure that the relationships fostered between the student, home and school is positive. Qualities that our students expect from our tutors are being trustworthy, fair and consistent, sensitive, caring, enthusiastic, having high expectations and a sincere interest in them as an individual.