We had the chance to Skype with Ross Armitage, the Head of Primary at the French International School (FIS). Ross had been headteacher at another school where the IPC was used and he was keen to bring it to FIS.
The French International School, established for over 50 years, has both a French stream and an international stream; Ross is head of the international stream.
Ross has been leading curriculum change not only with the IEYC/IPC, but integrating bilingual learning at FIS with the intention of creating greater collaboration between teachers and students and across the French and international streams. Ross described the success that they have seen in the first year of implementing this strategy. We asked Ross to describe some of the ways he has led this change.
Probably the biggest success with our staff, is the collaboration we’re achieving across the two streams; French and international. We have a staff training session every half term focused on how the two streams have collaborated
The international stream has three to four sessions of French language teaching each week, linked to the IEYC/IPC unit. In addition, at our new Tseung Kwan O campus, we have established immersive bilingual teaching through a co teaching model in IEYC/IPC lessons. Class teachers and French language teachers deliver tasks in the curriculum collaboratively
With the Exit Point of each IEYC/IPC unit, language teachers plan activities in French as part of the event, this starts with the youngest children and will continues up the school
Sharing the pedagogy of the IEYC/IPC as a whole staff team has brought everyone together and it now feels as if we all share the same vision and are developing together
Relationships have developed between all staff; class teachers, language teachers and specialists, as they now interact on a regular basis for planning of the IEYC/IPC and team teaching.
We have developed a model of teaching station rotations which are linked to the IPC unit. Some of these sessions will be taught in French
In our new immersive bilingual approach, teachers completed a mapping exercise to match IEYC/IPC units to French steam curriculum topics. This means that it is easier for teachers in the French stream and International stream to develop their teaching and learning together at the new Tseung Kwan O campus.
As with many international schools, we have specialist teachers for some subjects such as music and art, we have ensured that these teachers have planning time with class teachers at the start of each unit which really helps consistency of pedagogy across the school.
We have used the IEYC/IPC as an anchor which we are constantly reflecting on and diving deeper with, and this has helped a lot for both teachers and students, given the fast pace of school development
In this first year, Ross said that parents of children in the French stream had commented on the increased engagement of children in the international stream, through using the IPC. This has resulted in many parents wanting to learn more about the learning and teaching in the international stream.
Ross spoke of the brand new primary campus at Tseung Kwan O and how the building has been designed for collaboration and bilingual teaching and learning. Each floor has a villa concept with classrooms centred around an Agora, an expansive shared space where children across both streams can learn together. Each week there is time for shared projects where children across the International and French stream learn together. Shared projects link to IEYC/IPC and French stream units and the adaptable and flexible layouts enable shared Entry and Exit points.
It was great to hear Ross share how the IPC is driving the vision at French International School, and we look forward to keeping in touch with their journey.