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From the Principal

Avian Flu?

Avian Flu?

Main image: Mr Allvin and Mr Stone in their second jobs as Virus Control Officers

It is IES Environment and Health Day this week. The Science department has started a fun activitiy with the students, namely, infecting them all with a killer Avian Flu virus!

The idea of this activity is simple: to get students thinking about health, transmission of diseases and the living conditions of people in other parts of the world where disease and health struggles are a regular part of daily life.

How it works: this Monday morning, some students were handed an envelope telling them they were infected! Yes, they have the virus and in only a few days they would go to the school's "Virus Control Center" find out if they lived or died... They also have a few infection cards that they can hand to other students if they should come into contact with them and happen to pass on their virus...

What will happen? How far will the virus spread? Who will live and die? How must it feel like to live in a country where such risks are a real part of everyday life? What can we do to limit the spread of such diseases? Can science beat nature or will nature evolve new diseases again? The discussion topics and lessons to learn are many!

Personally, I will be avoiding the student lounge for a few days - until the worst of the Avian Flu has passed...

/Mr Varley

From the Principal

Spetsutbildning applications

Spetsutbildning applications

Time flies quickly and the busier you are the faster it seems to fly! It feels like only a few days ago we wrote the original application to Skolverket to be approved to run one of the country's 'spetsutbildningar'. Well, a whole year has gone by now since then and we are already doing our second intake for our Advanced Studies class in Business English. This year we received 35 applications ?" 14 more than last year which is the positive trend we expected.

 

In the application with Skolverket our agreed goal is to have a class size of maximum 28 students, provided they reach the standard required to form a so-called "spets" class. That means some students, despite working very hard and being very good at English will not be able to get in to this class. This can be a difficult process to go through for a student, but it is also one of life's important lessons. Sometimes you work hard and try your best but you still don't win or get the result that you hoped for. That doesn't mean that you should give up. Keep trying and next time might be your time.

When I think about how many applications we get for every position we advertise on the Swedish job webpage Platsbanken, I realise the chances of being the one who actually gets the job are very slim. It is a tough competitive world out there and it will not get any easier in the future with competition from the international workforce increasingly being a factor to consider... even more reason to get the best education possible?

 

From the Principal

Crazy Hat Day

Crazy Hat Day

I love our little Crazy Hat Day - it's good, clean innocent fun just like the good old days. It costs nothing, anyone can join in and there is a bit of light competition mixed in there with the fun.

For the last couple of years I have been reasonably imaginative with my hats (the world's smallest hat and the world's third smallest hat respectively) but this year it really crept up on me. At the last minute I had to think of a good hat - and I looked in Mrs Pavlica's rubbish bin and saw an empty godispåse (!) and realised that I had found my saviour... a few seconds and a bit of tape later and I was avec chapeau - joy!

Here is a selection of some of the day's most interesting hats for you to enjoy!

 

From the Principal

Delicious lunch...

Delicious lunch...

The team here continuously teases me for eating too many cakes and biscuits? there may be a tiny amount of truth in this of course, however Mrs Hulusjö and Mr Grant are definitely worse if you ask me.

Anyway, when I was putting together my lunch plate today I could not help but think how incredibly colourful and healthy it looked! A wide range of fresh salad items and grilled vegetables ?" juicy fresh meatballs and delicious steaming gravy! Wow? I actually asked myself "is this for real?" "Do we get to eat this for free every day?"? I had to take a picture to share it with you so you can see for yourself what it looked like.

Now tell me this: If I eat such a healthy lunch every day, aren't I allowed a little cake or biscuit from time to time??

/Mr Varley

From the Principal

A brief history of time...

Greetings Parents and Students!

Our fourth school year has gotten off to a very positive start! Over these few weeks I have heard so much positive talk in the corridors from staff, students and parents that I can hardly believe it!

The road here has been quite long and at times very challenging. Leading up to our first year we had the huge challenges of setting up the entire structure and routines of the school, of organising all contracts and purchases, recruiting and training the entire team and of course simultaneously managing a huge building project. Oh, yes, and of making our first ever calendar and timetable... Those were busy days working out of temporary offices at Junex Huset.

During our first school year there were many more challenges and I often whispered under my breath with a smile "I should write a book about this one day!" The whole team soldiered on through power cuts, water cuts, internet cable cuts (literally) and all kinds of daily doses of laughter. We had incredible obstacles to overcome, again often literally, with having building supplies delivered to the school on a daily basis and having a 70 metre tall yellow crane just to the side of the school yard. But we survived and our first year 9 classes graduated with flying colours!

During our second year we grew from 290 students to 520 students. If you count the staff and students who left the school, over half of the people in the building were new. With the new building and sports hall finished - over half of the school's rooms and over half of the school yard was also new... and with our starting years 4 and 5 for the first time - even all the classes of years 4, 5 and 6 were also new. It was quite literally ?" a new school start all over again.

Year three was calmer in some ways (no major building work or new year groups). However we still met many new faces in the corridors with a total of 200 new students replacing the old year 9s and filling up in certain year groups. There was a new school law and curriculum in Sweden to adapt to and learn. We applied for Spetsutbildning in English and got it (yesss!), we received a grant from Kulturrådet (Counsellor for Cultural Affairs, www.kulturradet.se  ) and we received permission to open our school to students in years 1-3. The latter would not only require recruiting some very special teachers and staff but it would also require an evolution of the current building.

In the face of our rapid growth and new future structure, we decided to re-organise all of our internal leadership structure and re-do all our job descriptions and handbooks to meet these future challenges. It quickly became a year of planning, change and adaptation. A great deal of work was put in by all staff on all levels to make the school work both on a daily basis but also to plan ahead for a successful start in August 2012.

At a meeting during spring term, our Primary and Junior special educator Mrs Adén reminded me and of something I said in the first weeks of basic training back in 2009. Someone had asked me how long it would take before things settled down at the school and I had replied "it takes about three years to build a school, before everything starts to really fall into place"...

And there you have it, three years later and things have really started to fall into place. The school is working very well, the building structure is now final, we have a new internal organisation in place with new clear job descriptions and routines ?" all collected into handbooks for each part of the school. Never before have we been so ready for the challenges of running a successful modern school... and that feels great to be a part of!

See you in the corridors,

Simon Varley

 

From the Principal

An inspiring journey

Hello and welcome to my first Principal’s blog entry – strangely enough for an entry in October 2011, it is actually about preparing for August 2012!

Mr Stone and I recently travelled to Edinburgh, Manchester and London on an IES recruitment trip. The goals of the trip were to find great teachers and even school leaders to join all of the 17 IES schools in August 2012. Travelling to our home country is of course a lot of fun and we enjoyed eating more than our fair share of fish and chips! More importantly, however, we really enjoyed meeting so many good teachers. In the four days we  were away, we interviewed around 70 qualified teachers and future school leaders.

The teacher quality was very high and the interviews were inspiring – hearing people’s reasons for choosing teaching, how they motivate students, their ideas about what a great teacher is - all these things fill us with hope about what schools can achieve and what potential there is in people for having a positive impact on others. Something else we discussed was how easy it felt for both Mr Stone and I to talk about our school, IES Jönköping. We forget sometimes how much we have all achieved together in just two years and just how far our students have grown and developed… it only really hits you when you have to explain it to someone else.

In short, we came back from the trip feeling very proud of what we have achieved and of all the staff, students and parents who have helped to build this school since we opened in August 2009.

From the Principal

Rektor hälsar er välkommna

Hej!

Tillåt mig att presentera vårt team här på skolan. Varje skolas viktigaste tillgång är dess människor. Utan utmärkta lärare och personal kan du inte bygga en utmärkt skola. Med ambitionen att hitta bästa möjliga personal reser jag med jämna mellanrum till Storbritannien, genomför regelbundet intervjuer på skolan i Jönköping och har oräkneliga telefon-och skype intervjuer med lärare på internationella skolor över hela världen. Naturligtvis letar jag efter lärare som är utbildade och kunniga inom sina ämnen men än mer viktigt-jag ser till människorna dem själva.

Att vara en framgångsrik lärare är en riktig utmaning. Du måste förstå ditt ämne på en väldigt hög nivå samtidigt som du måste kunna förenkla och förklara på en mängd olika sätt för elever som all lär på olika sätt. Du måste vara bestämd men rättvis mot alla elever, göra lektionerna både roliga och lärorika och du måste hjälpa varje elev att utvecklas både akademiskt och socialt.

Jag är otroligt stolt över vårt team här på skolan och vi kommer alla att arbeta hårt för att ge dig den bästa möjliga utbilding. Vi ser alla fram emot att arbeta tillsammans med dig!

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