PASCAL Primary Schools are being launched this year. Meet Nicosia Head Teacher, Stavroulla Stavrinou
The PASCAL school will launch its primary schools from September this year, which aim to lay the foundations for its pupils to become the global citizens of the future.
It says it is committed to providing the highest standards of educational achievement and a safe, happy and friendly atmosphere where management, teachers and parents/guardians work together in a spirit of cooperation. Class sizes will not exceed 24 children. The PASCAL Primary Schools in Nicosia and Larnaca will be housed in the Secondary School campuses, in an area separate from the Secondary School pupils. The Limassol Primary School will be housed in a new campus.
What is your philosophy on education?
My philosophy on educational and academic success is based on five key ingredients; social and emotional well-being alongside self-belief, commitment, and high aspiration. I think these are the key tenets of any successful story. A successful school carries the responsibility to ensure that these key elements are in place for each child. It sounds simple, but from an educationist’s perspective it requires excellent understanding of how children learn, through subject and curriculum knowledge as well as having the empathy and experience in understanding each child’s individual need. Our aim is to achieve long term academic success for all our pupils which will set them up well for the rest of their academic careers. I believe that the early years followed by the primary school years constitute the most important part of an individual’s educational experience. If the foundation is right, the rest follows smoothly!
Tell us about your experience in education
The majority of my education has largely been based within the British education system. As a young child, I attended schooling in Cyprus and at the age of 11, I moved to England having been admitted in the last year of primary school. I continued into secondary school and went on to further education in the UK attaining an MA and partly undertaking a PhD thesis. My teaching career began in state education and I have since worked in a wide range of roles including leading educational programmes, English as an Additional Language projects, leadership and management training programmes whilst forging links with other educational agencies.
I have also acted as an educational consultant for two educational local authorities and was commissioned by the British Department of Education to produce educational materials for schools. The world of education in the UK is characterised by a very dynamic and rigorous means of working and I am very grateful for excellent opportunities in enriching my professional career within a very wide range of settings. I am very keen to contribute much of this experience within my new context in PASCAL Primary School.
What is your vision for PASCAL Primary School?
My vision for PASCAL Primary School is to create a school which instills drive, ambition and educational success for every one of its pupils. In order to achieve this, we will ensure that every child feels secure, happy and cared for by those around them. The ethos of PASCAL Primary School will be underpinned by the values of care, self-belief and aspirational learning. We will provide a schooling experience which embraces children of all backgrounds and excites young minds towards lifelong learning and high academic achievement.
We aim to offer a bespoke combination of the best curriculums on offer. For the main subjects of Maths, English and Science we will offer the Cambridge Primary curriculum which is highly aspirational and accessible to all children. We also aim to build on the language skills which our children bring to school, in order to develop fluent bilingual and multi-lingual learners who will be able to compete in future global and economic employment markets. As a result, we offer a bespoke programme for the native speakers of Greek language as the curriculum is based on the Cyprus National Curriculum precisely as given by the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture. Children who do not speak Greek as a first language will be given a chance to learn it as a foreign language. We will also provide a very rich and broad curriculum in reference to the foundation subjects such as Geography, History, Art and Design, Music, Physical Education, and World Religions as taught through the current British National Curriculum.
Are there any extra-curricular activities which the school can offer?
Yes, absolutely as we are very aware that many parents now need the extra support not only in terms of their child being looked after within a safe and happy environment but also within a stimulating and fun environment. Therefore, we offer the ‘extended day’ package which consists of after school homework club and other fun activities linked to the Arts, Sports and Social based activities. Some examples will include projects such as 3D product, ceramic making, painting and drawing, music composition, cookery club, collage work and many other exciting projects. For sports activities, we will run skills based games such as tennis, basketball, softball, football and swimming. We are very lucky to be located on the same premises as our secondary school partner so we intend to have specialist subject teachers leading some of these activities, as well as some of the older students who bid for an activity based session. The groups will always be supervised fully by members of the staff teaching team.
What should parents expect for their children in the early years?
Our Early Years practice is based on the British Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum which is considered to be one of the best in the world. Learning takes place through a balanced approach between structured adult led activities and learning through play. We intend to offer a very exciting and vibrant learning environment where children can learn how to develop their independence, social and emotional maturity as well as learn about the world around them. At the same time, we intend on developing their reading, writing and mathematical skills early on so that they can have the best start in life. We have a very comprehensive phonics programme which all children will participate in on a daily basis and regular reading, writing and maths sessions.
How will you forge links between parents and school?
We believe that the relationship between school and parents is probably the most critical one in a child’s schooling career. We regard parents as partners from the onset of their child’s education and the school’s responsibility is to work alongside parents in order to offer the best learning environment for the children’s educational success. We are proactive in forging such links through regular parent workshops, drop-in sessions as well as regular reports on our children’s progress and attainment. We ensure that we are always available for any arising concerns no matter how ‘big’ or ‘small’ they may seem at the time. Communication between parents and school are most effective when there is reciprocal respect by both parties.
How will you ensure that high academic standards are achieved in PASCAL Primary School?
We begin from the premise that every child has the potential to reach high academic achievement given the right opportunities and learning environment. Einstein was thrown out of class for being too innovative and highly disengaged! Given the right environment, he excelled in being one of the most highly admired scholars the world has ever known!
We make sure that the environment is right so that our learners can take risks and develop their critical thinking skills. Secondly, we provide a highly rigorous assessment programme. We track each child’s progress on an ongoing basis ensuring that their attainment is at least in line but preferably ahead of age related expectations. If gaps in learning are identified, then we will quickly provide very rigorous intervention programmes so that our children pick up as early as possible from the intended learning level.
Quality learning is at the heart of all that happens in PASCAL Primary School. We believe that children have an innate capacity to learn. All we have to do is provide the right opportunities, in the right environment and at the right time!