Parental Communication Is Key to Supporting Students to Reach Their Full Potential whilst in School

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Miss Chloe Millward joined the British School of Bucharest in 2021 and is teaching our Secondary students Physics and Science, alongside being the Head of Key Stage 5. She studied Physics at the University of Durham and afterwards worked as an After Treatment Integration Engineer for Cummins Emissions Solutions before returning to the University of Durham to complete her teaching PGCE in Physics and Mathematics. She worked in Middlesbrough, then moved to Lusaka International Community School in Zambia, where she taught IGCSE and A-Level Physics. During her time there, she was promoted to Pastoral Leader, Year 9 and 10 and successfully ran the Student Council. She recently completed her MA in Education from the University of Durham.

Sum up your role at BSB.

I am an IGCSE and A-Level Physics teacher and I also teach Key Stage 3 Science. Since I started teaching, my role has been predominantly focussed on the Physics examination classes and ensuring that these classes are taught Physics in a fun and meaningful way, whilst simultaneously preparing them for the next stage in their education. I have always had a passion for understanding how the world around us works and often the answer comes back to Physics. Physics deals with matter and energy and how the fundamental constituents of the universe interact and I enjoy teaching these concepts to students. Within Key Stage 3, I get the opportunity to inspire students by teaching all the Sciences and encouraging them to become the next generation of scientists.

Alongside teaching Physics and Science, I am the Head of Key Stage 5. Within this role, I work within an effective pastoral system, which supports every student’s individual needs both academically and emotionally. When students feel supported and cared for in a school environment, they thrive and I firmly believe that student well-being should be at the core of any educational environment. Along with the Tutor Team, University Guidance Counsellors and PSHCE and Careers Coordinator, we ensure that students are cared for on an individual basis and that they are prepared for life beyond BSB. I can often be found having one-to-one conversations with students about their well-being and talking to them about anything from study skills to university choices to personal issues. Speaking with students is the highlight of my job and I am extremely privileged that the Sixth Form students at BSB are willing to come and speak to me about their issues, however big or small.

What inspired you to join us?

I had been living in Zambia for three years, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I wanted to move closer to home and enjoy a more European lifestyle. From the moment I came across the job advert for BSB, I was impressed by the School’s grounds and facilities and after watching the School videos about the teachers and students I really wanted the job. I wanted to work in a small school, which values holistic education and supports all students, not just the most able. It was clear that BSB had excellent educational standards and colleagues who worked for COBIS advised that the School would be a great fit. During the interviews, the staff had a clear love for the School and I accepted the job with no hesitations.

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that every student should be given the opportunity to flourish and education is the key to that. Education is more than academics and the retrieval of content; it is the ability to problem-solve and critically analyse situations and enable a person to become the best version of themselves. None of this can be possible unless students feel supported and cared for within the school environment. Students should feel supported even when they fail and fostering this resilience can result in people who are ready to take on the modern world. Teachers can have such a profound impact on their students and I hope that the impact I have on the students at BSB is meaningful.

What do you think are some of the advantages of studying A-Levels at BSB?

A-Levels are qualifications which are recognised around the world and are accepted by most universities. They allow students to study in-depth aspects of their chosen subjects, beyond the IGCSE courses. A-Levels can be a big jump from IGCSE which some students find challenging. However, here at BSB, we have intimate class sizes that allow for all students to receive individualised support and to develop excellent relationships with their teachers, all of which are specialists in their subject areas. On top of the academic support, all students have a Form Tutor, who the students see every day and are there to support the students in a holistic manner. We also have dedicated staff who provide individualised advice regarding A-Level choices and university and careers support. Every student in Sixth Form has regular one-to-one conversations regarding their choices and we provide support plans for any student who is struggling academically or personally. Studying A-Levels at BSB not only prepares students for the examinations but also focuses on their growth as a person and life beyond School.

How do you help them prepare for the A-Level examinations?

Within my role as a Physics teacher, I ensure that my students are exposed to examination-style questions throughout the Academic Year. This is to ensure that they understand the style and terminology within the exams and can apply their knowledge. I also incorporate practical and hands-on teaching as much as possible, so students can visualise the concepts. Discussing concepts such as quantum and particle Physics can be challenging but visualising these with practicals and simulations can make them more tangible. We also spend a lot of time in class going through questions and modelling the mathematical approach to problems, enhancing their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

As Head of Key Stage 5, I ensure that all students are supported throughout the year. This last term, we have focussed on creating revision timetables that are realistic and can be followed. Some students make these on paper, others do this on apps on their phones or using online calendars. The key to making a realistic revision timetable is by scheduling time for things other than academics. Going to the movies, reading a book, or seeing friends can greatly improve memory and productivity during scheduled revision sessions. We also have offered study skills and exam stress workshops to further prepare groups of students. I often have one-to-one sessions with students, mentoring and coaching them to ensure that they feel prepared for the exams and offer an individualised support plan for each student.

How do you communicate with the parents? Do you think they need a particular approach?

Parental communication is key to supporting students to reach their full potential whilst in School. The parents here at BSB are exceptionally supportive of their students and the staff and together we prepare students for life beyond School. Parental communication can take numerous forms; emails, phone calls, video calls and face-to-face. I personally prefer to speak with parents rather than over email, as often in emails the personal touch is missing. Given that every situation I call parents about is unique, every conversation needs an individualised approach.

What are your goals for this Academic Year?

Moving to any new school and country can be particularly tough. This year I want to learn about BSB, its traditions and students, whilst establishing myself as a teacher and Head of Key Stage 5. Next year, I will be looking at what I have learnt and improving on that. The student leadership here at BSB is excellent and this is an area I am keen to grow further, offering more opportunities to both Sixth Form students and younger years. Given that the COVID restrictions have also recently been lifted, I feel that this is now the time to re-establish traditional events and implement new ones, so I will be looking at new trips and extracurricular ideas for students to get involved in for both Science and Sixth Form.

What challenges are you looking for at BSB?

As a COBIS Training School, BSB is an ideal School to learn and grow within. I hope to be challenged continuously to be a better teacher and develop as a professional. BSB is filled with experts in teaching and these are people I want to learn from. I am also excited about the opportunities and challenges that will come with developing the Sixth Form and ensuring that we are improving our excellent provisions even further. However, one of the biggest challenges will be to learn Romanian!

June 2022


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