Tagged with "From the Principal"...

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Open House Events 2014/2015

I remember the first year of the school with great warmth and a smile. It is fair to say it was mildly chaotic, most of the time - even though we all did our very best every day. One of the many things that I remember was the need to do a lot of Open Houses and open days to make sure everyone knew that we had opened a school in town. These days it’s a very different story - we have become Jönköping County’s biggest compulsory school. This in itself brings a different set of challenges - on quality assurance, keeping the school’s personal feel and retaining our special IES identity and culture.

Our size does not mean we are self-satisfied or comfortable: quite the opposite. When you become big, well-known and have a good reputation you are examined even more closely - and quite rightly so. As a big organisation we have the responsibility to ensure we actually live up to everything that we say we do.

Our Open House events take place every November and I make the school’s vision, ethos and promise clear for parents. The same presentation is made to staff once per year so we all know what we promise to future parents and students. This year we had a full house at all events and we met many positive parents and students hoping to get a spot at the school. We have now started intake for August 2015 and have sent home offers of places.

Good luck with your applications and I hope to welcome you to our school in August!

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March: time for a major webpage update!


We recently went through our webpage to check everything was up to date and discovered that we had failed to update it in a long time. We thought back about all the fun events we have had and all of our students’ achievements and felt the webpage really does not show our school in a true light.

Well, you can’t change the past but you can at least write about it! We decided to summarise each significant event that has happened here at Internationella Engelska Skolan i Jönköping this academic year and update the webpage about it.

From here on in we promise to be better at keeping the webpage as active and fresh as our school: check in from time to time to see what is going on at Jönköping’s biggest compulsory school.

Best regards,

Mr Simon Varley

Principal, IES Jönköping

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A visit to Våga Vara Egen 2015 at Elmia 26 February

A visit to Våga Vara Egen 2015 at Elmia 26 February

Last week, IES SPETS classes in year 7 and year 8 attended the regional Ung Företagsamhet's fair called "Våga Vara Egen" at Elmia. The reason was to find out more about entrepreneurship and to see the innovations and services provided by young entrepreneurs from 176 different UF-companies. The students found it inspiring and among other things that they too could become entrepreneurs one day.


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Zimbabwe Project

Our school’s Zimbabwe project started in 2010 with an innocent meeting between myself and a parent of one of our children. The previous year I had cycled Vätternrundan  together with some IES-colleagues to help raise money for ‘Barnhemmet’ - Jonny and Matias’ orphanage in Awassa, Ethopia. Now I was looking for a project that was unique for our school in Jönköping and via Elevaid and our very own Nonhlanhla “Nono” Berglund, I found it. Nono was a former student of Mafakela Primary School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and their toilets were in desperate need of sanitisation and repair. Cholera outbreaks were common and students were not able to sue the toilets or drink water there.

Our cooperation over the following years saw many adventures, including a desperate rush (battle?) to get a tourist visa approved in order to visit the school and meet the staff, students and parents. That trip was an adventure all by itself - one and a half days to get there, three days there and one and a half days to get back. Not quite your normal weekend getaway! The people we met and the stories we heard left a footprint and we returned to Sweden knowing we had to do everything we could to help them.

We ran many local fundraising projects at our school including the now infamous Varley Gangnam Style video to pull our students together around this common cause. We also received incredible help and generosity of our local Rotary June club and Rotary International we eventually managed to complete the project in full. We renovated all the toilet blocks and set up a rainwater collection system for the school. In the very near future we are also sending some of the leftover fundraising money to help boost their teaching materials as the school is in clear need of help there as well. The project is drawing to a close now and we wish our partners the best of luck.

Simon Varley

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Junior School Talent Show

Junior School Talent Show

Every year our students have the opportunity to take part in the Junior School Talent Show, an amazing event where we encourage students to express themselves through dance, song and other talents. "It is fun and thrilling to perform, but I like to perform for an audience", explains Sebastian, one of the 2015 winners. "I had butterflies when I got on the stage", explains Larsian. They all agreed that they felt the support of the audience. "We were in it, to win it", says Marin. The talent show is hosted by our students, who write their own scripts in English. This is a great way to ensure that all students have the possibility to show their skills and creativity. It is an event we create together, which builds on our school spirit. "The best thing about the IES Talent Show is to get into the dance in front of the audience", Manne concluded.

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Alumni 2014

It’s one of the highlights of the year. From around 4pm to 5pm we’re just hanging around our desks, catching up with emails, taking care of paperwork or tidying up classrooms. Then at around 5pm we start to hear muffled teenage conversations in the corridors of the school… it’s time to go outside and start welcoming our guests: last year’s IES graduates are back!

Every year we send out an invitation and an anonymous questionnaire to all our graduates from the previous year. We want to know what they think of our school and the education we provided them. Ultimately the question is: now that you have been away for 6 months and have a fresh perspective: did we prepare you well for your studies at gymnasium?

The basic answer we get back is “yes”. We can never rest on our laurels or be over-confident: I believe in “you are only as good as your last game” as a philosophy of continuous self-improvement. That said, each year we get the feedback that confirms that we have done a good job in a wide range of areas and that we have room for improvement in a few.

The positives: we prepared them well, we pushed them hard, we set fair grades (if slightly hard), they miss the food, the enthusiastic teachers and they miss the focused and secure environment. The areas for improvement: they feel they need pushing harder in Modern Foreign Languages and they would like a bit more Swedish vocabulary in Science and Maths… and they wanted us to know they they used the elevators even though they weren’t supposed to!


After analysing the questionnaire they filled out in advance, we meet them for the Alumni reunion itself. We catch up, we eat fish n chips and we have focus group interviews. We dig a little deeper into the things we could have done better. How exactly is it different now that you’re at gymnasium? What specific skills do you think we need to drill harder? Before you know it, it’s time to let them go as the evening is already over.

Then we have two jobs still to do. One: to take on their feedback into our work, and two: to try to get them to actually leave the building!

Mr Varley



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Spetsutbildning: Advanced Studies in Business English and Entrepreneurship, Intake for August 2015

We are one of the lucky few schools in Sweden that have been approved to run an Advanced Studies programme. Ours focuses on Business English and Entrepreneurship and you can read more about it here. This was our fourth year of doing the SPETS intake and the whole process went very smoothly. This year we had thirty-four applications of which two were from other schools.

On January 15th we had the main entrance exam and our nervous but motivated students did their best to show their knowledge. I must say I was very impressed by how hard they worked and the courage and dedication they showed in applying. 

Depending on how many accept their final places we will have around 24 students in the next SPETS programme starting August 2015. The average English grade of those being accepted was just over a B. Congratulations to everyone who got accepted! For everyone that didn’t get accepted - you have shown you true colours in your attempt: fortune favours the brave.

/Mr Varley

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Lucia 2014

Every year IES Jönköping arranges a traditional Swedish Lucia celebration including both new and traditional Lucia and Christmas songs.

Students in year 8 and 9 can sign up to join the Luciatåg. Our Senior School Music teacher Mr Åsman masterminds the whole show, beginning his weekly practice sessions with students months in advance. They start during fall term practising hard and at Lucia they perform for both parents, students and staff. This is a very appreciated event at our school and gives the whole winter season a lift.

Each year seems to get better than the last. This year’s Junior school show had an unusual ending when Mr Varley had to unexpectedly lead the Luciatåg out - the original Lucia needed to lie down to get some fresh air…



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Modern Foreign Language Day 2014

Modern Foreign Language Day 2014

On Language Day the MFL department took over part of the dining hall to focus on Spanish, German and French. Together with the English department, we prepared cultural quizzes, geographical puzzles and a special menu for the day. Thanks to our great kitchen staff the paella was fantastic! We had a special soundtrack for the day together with projections from cultural landmarks, such as Barcelona's iconic architecture. Students were very proud of the flag-badges they got from us and we even ran out of them! All in all it was a fun day for everyone.



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Crazy Hat Day 2014

Crazy Hat Day 2014

Every school year we arrange the creative and inspiring contest called Crazy Hat Day. This is a fun day for all our students and staff. This is the one day of the year when you are not only allowed to wear a hat inside, but you might even be rewarded for it! Our students take pride in creating the craziest hats that they can think of. Throughout the day you hear staff and students laughing about the crazy hats that people wear. The winner is selected by students who vote for their favourite.

Below you find a selection of all the hats that our students and staff contributed with for this year's Crazy Hat competition. Enjoy!