Tagged with "From the Principal"...

From the Principal

Second Term Newsletter #23

Greetings parents and guardians,

Thank you for such a high attendance at September's parent evenings! It was great to meet so many of you there. We are looking into what subjects you would like to hear or read more about. I ask you therefore to fill in this short survey to tell us what areas could be interesting for you.

Student safety and calm learning environment

We have a very good school environment overall, but some areas do need to improve. This is both for the students themselves but also for our staff. The less staff have to deal with unnecessary disturbances the more time and energy they can put into their teaching.

In August I invited the UK government advisor on Behaviour Management, Mr Tom Bennett, to IES Jönköping. He gave me advice and trained our staff for a day and spent a second day with our behaviour staff and Heads of Years. I have read the parent, staff and student feedback on behaviour, as well as the recent 'sociograms' that all students have done in their classes. I have carefully discussed this with the relevant people at the school and made a plan together with them for how we can improve the situation. Among other things, we are now adding a second Behaviour Coordinator, Mrs Jessica Rosén, who will focus on Junior School and in particular the classroom environment.

We will make a fresh start in certain behaviour areas from week 46 (12th November). Here is a link to a video summarising the main areas for parents. I am informing all our students in year 4-9 in assemblies this week - giving them the next two mentor times to discuss this or ask any questions they have. Year 1-3 will be informed by their class teachers as the information needs to be adapted for their age and language level. Senior school student council gave me feedback week 43 and junior school student council will also give me feedback next week.

School Food Developments

We have taken in feedback from parents and students about the school food. We feel confident that the food is a good standard but we also respect that not all students are satisfied with it. The kitchen team has therefore met the school council and listened to their requests and suggestions. Based on their input we have decided to make a number of changes. Please see attached. You as a parent are welcome to come and test the school food for free any day of the week - just come anytime after 12:15 and get a visitor's badge from reception.

English Speaking Society

We are starting a non-profit organisation called the "English Speaking Society" (ESS). This is for people who enjoy speaking English who also want to get to know Jönköping better and meet new people. The original goal of this is to help our international staff to integrate better into Swedish society and meet Swedish and international people from outside the workplace. We hope this will make their stay in Sweden both longer and more enjoyable. The society also wants to help other companies and organisations with international staff and families that need help integrating, making contacts and getting to know Jönköping.

If you or your organisation are interested in helping or participating in this society - lease fill in this interest survey by the November 23rd. We will have our first society planning meeting in December

To help you get to know your child’s teachers and our many caring staff - please see our Staff Team Sheet.

Best regards,

Simon Varley


From the Principal

Welcome to new School Year 2018-19 #14

Greetings all parents!

Thank you for a great start to the year and for such high attendance at the parent evenings - we broke the attendance record in every year group!

This year I will send out 6 all-parent emails. One at the start and end of the school year and four more - one for each quarter of the year.

School Developments

The sports fields are now complete and we are just waiting for the 5-a-side goals to arrive from England. I chose a different kind of goal to give the students a different kind of football game - one that emphasises skill, control and teamwork. We have also resoiled, fully re-seeded and fenced a large green area at the back of the school that is specifically for Primary students.

The traffic safety measures are also almost complete - there is now a barrier blocking cars from driving near the Primary entrance. There are barriers that protect children walking from the drop-off corner to the Primary entrance.

We have also written a three year school development plan. This covers all key areas of the school - for example quality of teaching, academics, behaviour, student safety, student care and staff professional development. It tackles the challenges brought up in the spring surveys and those of staff turnover.

Student influence

I have added three part-time staff to work with freetime activities: This provides support to students in years 4-9 with materials, equipment, competitions and practice times covering most of the day when they have breaks. I would like to get student input to lunchtime and freetime activities (years 4-9). Please encourage your children to do this freetime activities survey!

As you heard at the recent parent evenings, I am reviewing some aspects of the school food. We would like to know exactly which meals they like the most/least and to ask them for suggestions of things they would like us to try. We also want to update our list of student ideas for "Friday Favourites". Note that it is still not realistic to do chicken nuggets or pizza for 900 people - so we ask students not to request these items!

Please encourage your children to do this lunch favourites survey!

Parent School Association (PSA) Dates

Here are the dates for this year's parent meetings with the Principal. Note that the first date is different to that on the calendar we gave you in August. This is to avoid having too many parent evenings close together at the start of the term. The Parent School Association work together to help develop the school. The PSA gives feedback on school progress, the systematic quality work and to input on certain new policies, developments and investments before final decisions are made.

W41 October 11th

W48 November 27th

W9   February 27th

More information will be sent out to those parents who signed up to be in the PSA. If you would like to receive those emails and/or attend a meeting, please send an email to helene.holmgren.jonkoping@engelska.se

Thank you for reading!

Simon Varley


From the Principal

Mon 20th Aug Week 34 Mentor Day #2

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Please see below schedule for Monday 20th August, Week 34, to help get a better idea of the start and finish times for Mentor Day:

Week 34 Schedule

Year 1-3 start at 8:00 and finish at 13:00

Year 4 start at 8:00 and finish at 13:30

Year 5 start at 8:10 and finish at 13:40

Year 6 start at 8:20 and finish at 13:50

Year 7 start at 8:20 and finish at 13:50

Year 8 start at 8:30 and finish at 14:00

Year 9 start at 8:40 and finish at 14:10

From the Principal

Yearbook letter from the Principal 2018 #98

To the Graduating Class of 2018


Congratulations! You made it!

Here are a few last bits of advice, incase you miss listening to my short speeches when you get to gymnasium...

In life, you will have good days and bad days. Even some truly awful ones.

The total number of good and bad days we all have doesn’t actually vary that much between people. What varies is our attitude towards them. Your attitude makes the difference - it can change normal days to bad ones or bad ones to acceptable ones. The lens through which you see the world IS the world.

Change your lens → change the world.

Attitude is everything. It doesn’t matter if you believe you can or believe you can’t - either way, you are right. If people can beat cancer, cycle across the US fixing punctured tyres without actually having any hands or arms, swim from Britain to France without legs then you sure as heck can sort that homework out, get that project done on time, save up for that car, talk to that person you feel all gooey about or run further than ever before. Hey, one day, you’ll have two sick kids at home and a full time job that you will have to go to despite not having had more than 42 minutes of continuous sleep at any point in the whole week. One day you might have to go through mind-bending things like burying someone you love or getting fired from a job. It happens. So when you think you’re struggling through tough times at gymnasium - remember, there’s a billion people going through something tougher than you at the very same point in time, you just don’t know about it.

So when life gets tough, and you think you’re at the end of your rope… tie a knot in it and hang on. You are capable of more than you know. If you are truly committed to doing something you will find a way. If not you will find excuses.

I would like to end this letter by saying “good luck” - but I stopped believing in luck a long time ago when I heard something infinitely more useful:

“Luck” is where opportunity and preparation meet.

/Mr Varley

From the Principal

Welcome to May Newsletter #60

Greetings parents,

Welcome to the May newsletter, the last newsletter for this academic school year!

We focus on the last weeks of term and briefly cover some important law updates.

Week 23 - Student Choice Week

This week has a different starting and finishing times for students in years 4-9. These times may vary depending on the activities your child has chosen. The mentor teachers will inform all students of the times and rooms for their choices and these will also be on the Student Start Site, which all students can access even from home. Please check with your child what their schedule looks like for that week.

Week 24 - Last Week of Term

This week’s schedule varies from year group to year group. Please see each year group’s summary PDF (in the email sent out to all Parents & Guardians last week).

Year 9 Graduation Ceremony - Thursday Evening 14th June.

You are formally invited to celebrate your child’s hard work at our Year 9 Graduation ceremony! Grandparents, brothers and sisters are also welcome. This ceremony will be on Thursday evening at Folkets Park. See attached invite for all the information you need. Be extra aware that parking may be difficult so plan your journey to allow time for walking to Folkets Park. Note that the Year 9 PROM is on Wednesday 13th June evening, not Thursday.

Year 6 Graduation Ceremony - Friday Morning 15th June

We do not formally invite parents to the year 1-8 ceremonies due to space reasons. However, parents of students graduating year 6 are welcome to join the Junior School this year. It will be at Folkets Park, Friday starting at 9:15 (parents who want to join should arrive at 9:00).

Spring Fair

It’s a new Spring fair with more activities and free dinner for all students and parents! All year groups join in this year and there is a schedule of start times to space the students out. We start the spring fair by taking attendance in the mentor classroom and handing out the game card. There are small competitions for individuals and the best class in each year group win bigger prizes! The students will receive more information about that from the mentors and via the school TVs.


Please refer to the detailed newsletter emailed last week for full information on how our school is adhering to the new laws and regulations regarding GDPR.

Next Autumn

Next year’s calendar will be sent out with the general June parent letter.

The first day of  regular school will be Monday 20th.

Best regards

Simon Varley

From the Principal

Welcome to April Newsletter #34

Reminder: Monday 16th - 18th April are development talks

- To find your bookings, login to schoolsoft and look to the right. All your bookings are there with times, rooms and a green tick.

- Please make sure you ready to start your talk on time as they must end on time for the next family.

-Please go to the main glass corridor after your talk and fill in the parent survey on the available computers there. This gives us valuable information about how we are doing our work. We believe we have improved many things this year and are looking forward to seeing your feedback on how we have developed the school. The results will be shared with all parents in August.

- If you go to the main glass corridor, you can get help from our Admin team installing the SchoolSoft app on your phone and with any other SchoolSoft questions.


School Developments

Every year during spring we plan our development work and investments for the following school year. This school year we have made improvements to the timetable, invested in some outdoor games and equipment, built our astroturf pitch, added various things to the senior student lounge, improved some of staff rooms and worked hard on the school culture by bringing in Character Counts and Growth Mindset. We will continue to develop the way we work with these two culture areas next year.


We have also worked to improve our school food - we know not all students agree with us, but the food we serve now is of much higher quality. It is made with a much higher percentage of ecological ingredients, local produce, there is more in-house catering as well as offering more vegetarian Tuesdays in line with international recommendations. Not all these changes are popular but all the adults in the school agree the food is better. Not convinced? Then please feel free to come in to school on any day of the week after 12:00, register with reception and eat our food for free. Welcome!

Investments next school year

IT: We will spend 750,000kr on IT investments during spring and summer. That means freshening up a lot of computers, adding a bookable cart in Junior school, and investing in a school-wide strategy for teaching programming across the year groups.


Sports fields: two new sports fields at the front of the school will be added for approximately 650,000kr. The sports fields will be where there is currently the bike stands and the sloping area. This will be dug out and flattened completely. One smaller field and one larger one. Students will be asked what types of activities, surfaces and goals they would like there. This is instead of the earlier obstacle course and other climbing equipment which students previously voted against doing.

Safety and security: to improve safety for our youngest students, the rear side of the school will be blocked off for all regular traffic after summer, including school staff. There will be no parking there either. Anyone who enters the area in car or motorbike ill receive a written warning from me and if it happens again I will report it to the police. There will also be a safety fence built alongside the back of school to divide students away from any delivery vehicles. This will help make drop off/collection near the corner feel more safe. Additional lighting will be bought to help with safety and visibility during winter months. This is to improve the safety for all our youngest children when arriving / going home from school.

Other: We will also invest 150,000kr in building improvements such as better ventilation in Senior School Home Economics and new drying cupboards in Primary/Fritids.


Spring Fair - June 11th

- No normal lessons and no school in the morning!

- Fritids open as usual. Non-fritids students in years 1-3 are welcome to join fritids that day from 8:00 until spring fair begins for free.

- Spring fair starts in the afternoon and the day focuses only on spring fair and the activities

- More activities and many new activities being added, especially for older students.

- Bigger prize range, including big prizes for the best classes (the students who collect the most points on the activities)

- Coming to spring fair is now compulsory for all students, all year groups. Spring fair will begin with register in mentor classrooms with mentors. Report absence as usual on the school phone. Non-reported students will be followed up on as if they skipped a regular school day

- We want to see as many parents as possible join us, particularly in years 1-6 where we hope at least one parent per child can join us. Please try to book the late afternoon off work on June 11th. If you can leave work at 13:00 to be able to join your child in the afternoon that would be great!

- To help make this convenient for you there will be a free food buffet for all parents and all students in the evening. Other things can still be bought such as hot dogs, ice cream and popcorn. We ask parents to use Swish wherever possible or bring change (coins and small notes).


April 23rd - no morning mentor time for years 1-7.

- Monday April 23rd no morning mentortime for years 1-7. Year 5 will still come in as planned for their fire training.

- If you still need to leave your children at the regular time that is fine. Fritids is open as normal.

- All other children not in fritids are welcome to watch the children's morning news and eat breakfast for free in the big lunch hall.


Please don't forget to read the full newsletter emailed to all parents and guardians.

Best regards
Simon Varley
From the Principal

MMMW - Monday Morning Military Workout! #32

Every Monday morning at 6:15am up until summer we team will do a workout called MMMW - Monday Morning Military Workout!

It's a great start to the day, as it gives you energy & confidence!

The workout will last 30-40 minutes and the exercises can be done by everyone. If you feel like joining the staff, you are welcome!

If you think you are tough, you just have to add a few extra repetitions or sprint a bit! If you think the workout is too tough you take it a little steady and go at your own pace.

We gather outside the school's main entrance and start sharp at 6:15am - no waiting for streagglers! ;)

See you there, every Monday!

From the Principal

Happy Easter #23

Wishing all our staff, students and their parents/guardians a very Happy Easter!

Hope you all have a well rested holiday!

See you all after the Easter Break!

Best wishes

IES Jönköping

From the Principal

Welcome to March Newsletter! #19

April 23rd - no morning mentor time for years 1-7.
On Monday April 23rd we need to have a slightly longer Monday meeting - we have therefore cancelled the morning mentortime for years 1-7. Please write on your calendars that students do not need to be at school until their first regular lesson.
If you still need to leave your children at the regular time that is fine. Fritids is open as normal. Children not in Fritids are welcome to watch the children's morning news and eat breakfast for free in the big lunch hall (with staff supervision). Students in years 7-9 who travel with younger children are able to enjoy a free breakfast in the senior student lounge. All lessons begin at the normal time.
High Absence Routines
Research shows that attendance is one of the strongest factors affecting of how well a child will succeed both at school and in life later on. High absence can leads to gaps in knowledge, affected grades, decreased confidence, social difficulties and even depression and serious mental illness. We are improving how we follow up on and support students with medium and high absence. Please refer to the detailed school newsletter to find out how we are trying to support our students with their absences.
Spring Fair - June 11th
We are busy making the plans for this year's new and improved Spring Fair! We want to see as many parents as possible join us, particularly in years 1-6 where we hope at least one parent per child can join us. Please try to book the late afternoon off work on June 11th. If you can leave work at 13:00 to be able to join your child in the afternoon that would be great! 
Alumni survey summary 
Every year we invite our Year 9 graduates to come back and visit us for our "Alumni Evening". They fill in a survey in advance to give us feedback on the school, the education they received, our rules, grading and how well-prepared they were for gymnasium. As part of the evening's activities, we also do a follow up interview with them to find out more about how we can improve the school for our students. Please see detailed newsletter emailed in Week 12 to find a summary of the results.
School Photos
Our fantastic photographer, Kathryn Nilsson, continues to document the daily lives of our students. Please follow us on Instagram where Katie is displaying regular updates of our students' activities or take a look at the school blog pages on the website to capture more detailed information of the activities and events happening throughout the school.
Please don't forget to read the full newsletter emailed to all parents and guardians.
Best regards
Simon Varley