Mr Stuart May
Vice Principal, Head of the Junior School
Meet the Head
I have been at the School since September 2009, before this I was a headteacher in London, and have been teaching for over 25 years with experience across the primary age range, including 16 years in leadership roles.
I am really proud of our school, and the staff who work here that are committed to making your child’s time with us as full and as happy as possible. Amsterdam is a great place to live and work, and we aim to offer the best elements of a British education in an international setting, combined with a fun and energetic attitude to learning.
Life in the Junior School
The school day starts at 8.45 but many children arrive for 8.30 when the classrooms are open and children can start the day with some warm up activities in their classroom. Each year group has three classes, and the school day is structured into six fifty minute periods, with two break times, an hour for lunch and story time at the end of each day. The day ends at 3.30, and after school clubs and activities take place each evening until 4.45.
We have regular theme weeks which tie in with our topics of focus such as Science and Book Week. Each year group takes part in a full scale production every year, and we encourage children to make the most of their talents. We have a vibrant music department, with fifteen peripatetic music teachers offering private tuition through the school week and a Young Musicians BSA Orchestra.
Our School Council is made up of representatives from each Junior Class, and they meet regularly to think about ways to improve the school, as well as organising fundraising events and initiatives. We also have an environmental committee (the Eco Squad) of children across Years 3 to 6 who are looking at ways to make the school more environmentally friendly, and are working towards our Gold Eco Schools Award.
We follow the National Curriculum used in England where English and Mathematics are taught every day for one lesson each. There are key objectives that are taught through the lessons and each lesson is tailored to suit the learning ability within a class. Children who are new to English receive additional support and work in small groups either in class or as a withdrawn group. The children also learn Dutch and French. Those that are native Dutch and native French follow a specialised programme in their own language.
Science, History, Geography, Art, Design and Technology and Computing are all taught through a topic based approach. Topics are taught in short or long units and each one has a different focus. There are also two Physical Education (PE) lessons per week. For half of the year the children have swimming lessons at the Mirandabad in Amsterdam and the children work through the Dutch ZwemDiploma programme.
SEAL (Social and Emotional Learning) is taught through our assembly themes and lessons in class using the JIGSAW scheme. JIGSAW is a comprehensive, whole-school approach to promoting the social and emotional skills that underpin effective learning, positive behaviour, regular attendance, staff effectiveness and the emotional health and well-being of all who learn and work in schools.
Throughout the year children are assessed by the criteria in the key skills for each year group which forms a progress report at the end of each year and can be found in the curriculum handbook which is published for parents via our secure site.
We use the UK National Standard Attainment Tests (SATS) to test children formally at the end of each year in English and Mathematics, and these tests are externally marked at the end of Key Stage 2 (end of Year 6). We get very good results from our pupils, typically performing well above national averages.