Computing Technology is the study of principles and practices that underpin an understanding and modelling of computation, and of their application in the development of computer systems. Computational thinking provides a framework within which to reason about systems and problems, well beyond the scope of hardware and software. This mode of thinking is supported and complemented by a substantial body of theoretical and practical knowledge, and by a set of powerful techniques for analysing, modelling and solving problems.
At West Island School we want to prepare our students for a world that doesn’t yet exist, involving technologies that have not yet been invented that present technical and ethical challenges of which we are not yet aware.
To do this, we aspire to teach disciplines with long term value, rather than skills with short term usefulness. Computing is a ‘discipline’ that is characterised by:
- A body of knowledge, including widely applicable ideas and concepts, and a theoretical framework into which they fit
- A set of techniques and methods that may be applied in the solution of problems, and in the advancement of knowledge
- A way of thinking and working that provides a perspective on the world that is distinct from other disciplines
- Longevity, a discipline does not “date” quickly even when the subject advances
- Independence from specific technologies, especially those that have a short shelf life
Computing shares attributes with Engineering, Mathematics, Science and Technology. It has its own theoretical foundations and mathematical underpinnings, and involves the application of logic and reasoning. It embraces a scientific approach to measurement and experiment. It involves design, construction, and testing. It requires understanding, appreciation, and application of a wide range of technologies.
Computing is not Information Technology although the two are complementary. Computing teaches the student how to be an effective author of computational tools while Information Technology teaches how to be a thoughtful user of those tools.
The key concepts that West Island School will endeavour to develop are:
- Languages, machines and computation
- Data representation
- Communication and coordination
- Abstraction and design
West Island School wants our students to understand and play an active role in the digital world that surrounds them, not to be passive consumers of the technology that surrounds them. An understanding of computing concepts will help them get the best from the systems they use, and help them solve problems when things go wrong. In a world which is becoming increasingly dependent on technology, every student should have an understanding of computing.
At West Island School we are building a dynamic community that cares for its people and fosters and celebrates knowledge, creativity and innovation. A vital community is one that embraces a sense of discovery, creativity and imagination at the same time as basic human values of compassion and respect. Our future depends on valuing the status of knowledge and being curious and exploratory about new ideas and new things. Ideas come from all around the world and from a variety of sources, and with such diversity comes new approaches and perspectives producing new and hopefully, innovative ideas.
Within our education community the Creative Arts faculty and Circle in the Water aims to develop a creative culture by emphasizing active engagement and reflection within the following subject and performance strands:
• Drama, Theatre, Performing Arts (BTEC) • Dance • Film and Media Studies • Music • Visual Arts, Art and Design (BTEC) • Circle in the Water
Our subjects provide opportunities for students to acquire knowledge, practices and dispositions that can be used to develop self-awareness, aesthetic awareness and the ability to solve problems, make decisions and communicate effectively.
Students have ways of working to develop and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. They enhance their understanding of arts practice through active engagement, both individually and collaboratively using arts elements, techniques, skills and processes, working creatively and imaginatively, to take risks and focus on how the arts reinforce and challenge their own experiences and those of other artists. They develop their ability to critically analyse and reflect on the creative process that has occurred within one or across many arts disciplines. Students select and use a range of tools and technologies, including information and communication technologies (ICTs). They routinely demonstrate an autonomous and purposeful use of ICTs to inquire, create and present arts works, and to communicate their own arts practice and that of others. Students demonstrate evidence of their learning over time in relation to the following assessable elements:
• creating • presenting • evaluating • knowledge and understanding
Design and Technology
Design and Technology is about making things better for people. Through the study of design students develop empathetic skills required to conduct genuine and meaningful inquiring into the needs of users, they generate a range of meaningful and suitable ideas using flights of pure imagination, they apply rigorous technological processes to development and manufacture high quality products and reflect meaningfully on the impact and success of their creations.
In the lower school the students investigate contemporary issues and design and make products for themselves and others, using modern and traditional techniques including CAD/CAM in materials as diverse as Food, Textiles, Woods, Metals, Plastics, Cards and Foam. There is a growing emphasis on the need to design and make in an ethical and sustainable way.
In the upper school students may choose to study courses from a range of courses in Engineering Food Preparation and Nutrition, Graphic Design, Product Design and Textiles.
EAP - English for Academic Purposes
West Island School is a community of multilingual learners who have various nationalities and cultural backgrounds. We have more than 40 first languages in the school and this contributes a diversity and dynamism to our international school. Many students at WIS pursue and maintain their first and second languages both within and outside of school. However, students undertake a majority of their study through the medium of academic English which we realise could be new to them. This is also the language of exams and academic discourse in textbooks in every subject. The EAP faculty supports the equal opportunity of every student to fully access academic English across the curriculum and for ‘every learner to be the best they can be.’
Aims of the EAP Faculty:
To recognise that academic English as well as the subject specific jargon of disciplines are foreign and new to all students.
To foster academic English for cross-curricular success through small groups in a language rich environment with language specialists well versed in CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency) and trained in systemic functional linguistics.
To provide targeted intervention for specific text-types and academic genres, grammar and vocabulary support in context.
To provide the time, support and scaffolds required to review and extend the learning of new concepts, terminology and skills from across the curriculum, whilst building on prior learning.
To provide targeted conferencing with advice on best practices for drafting and editing of coursework, projects and extended essays.
To provide writing frames, scaffolds, graphic organisers, pre-teaching of language and concepts alongside vocabulary to improve knowledge and understanding of subject work.
To explicitly teach the IB Approaches to Learning alongside study and organisational skills to empower revision for tests and exams.
To provide a range of CALP skills specific to language intensive subjects that are directly transferable across the curriculum.
In the English faculty, we support our students to develop a love of reading, to write accurately and adventurously and to speak with confidence. We hope students develop an appreciation of English Language and a passion for English Literature.
Our comprehensive and challenging MYP curriculum combines subject rigour with the ethos of inquiry. Students engage with a range of literary and non-literary texts, encouraging them to discuss and interpret purpose and meaning. They demonstrate their understanding and response through creative and analytical writing, oral presentations and discussions.
Students study two iGCSEs in Year 10 and 11, English and World Literature. With a strong focus on literary context, students demonstrate an open-mindedness to other perspectives and experiences. Critical analysis is further developed; students learn how to articulate their own views as well as how to deconstruct the views of others.
At IB, we offer English Literature and English Language and Literature. Through these courses, students develop a knowledge of literary and non-literary text conventions, an understanding of the power and impact of language and appreciation for texts from different times, places and cultures. Students develop their power of expression through oral and written mediums.
The School has an inclusive philosophy that aspires to provide students with a wide range of learning needs in term of equal access to the curriculum and opportunities to every aspect of school life in order to achieve their full potential.
Through the Individual Needs Faculty, the diverse learning needs are catered for as identified by the ESF’s Levels of Adjustment 1 to 4. The Faculty is an integral part of West Island School which is dedicated to ensuring that students are challenged and supported for all aspects of their learning, have experience of a broad and flexible curriculum and therefore be the very best they can be.
The bespoke curricular programmes and pathways include, either an aspect of or a combination of, strengthening skills associated with literacy, numeracy, social communication, executive functioning and life skills. Advocating for the students is considered to be a vital part of the role of the Individual Needs staff in working collaboratively with subject specialists, external agencies and parents to ensuring that the teaching and learning are accommodated for adequately.
The Individual Needs Faculty team consists of six specialist teachers and eight educational assistants that supports students in a variety of ways – in-class support, pull-out intervention programmes, external courses and community access.
Two distinct programmes are offered in order to meet the diverse needs of the students:-
a)Strategies for School (S4S) – This intervention programme targets specific English and Maths skills to reinforce the students’ access to the mainstream curriculum whilst also solidifying their individual skills. These may include skills linked to reading, spelling, nonverbal reasoning, keyboarding, social communication, organisation and self-regulation.
b)Learning Support Centre (LSC) – This programme targets students with more complex and significant needs that require extensive teaching and learning adjustments. Their curricular pursuits are specially tailored and may include a combination of mainstream subjects with alternative courses.
Individuals and Societies
Students in Year 7 – 9 follow the IB Middle Years Programme putting inquiry at the centre of the curriculum. Students complete units of work in Geography, History and Philosophy and at the end of Years 7 and 8 complete an integrated Individuals and Societies unit. These integrated units draw upon the skills from all subject areas, in Year 7 students investigate the identity of Hong Kong curating their own museum exhibit and in Year 8 students investigate the impact of conflict on young people. Following the mini option process during Year 8, students select two Individuals and Societies subject to study in Year 9. There are numerous fieldwork opportunities throughout these courses including trips to the Peak, Cheung Chau, Kowloon Walled City Park and the Hong Kong museum.
Students in Years 10 and 11 study for their IGCSE’s. There are a wide variety of Individuals and Societies subjects open for students to study including: Geography, History, Religious Studies, Psychology and Business Studies or Economics.
As part of the IB Diploma Programme students in Years 12 and 13 have the choice of the following subjects:
- Business Management
- Global Politics
All students in Years 7 to 11 take mathematics at West Island School. From Year 7 to 9, students learn mathematics in mixed-ability classes, with lessons and assessments following the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP).
During Years 10 and 11, students study the Edexcel International General Certificate of Education (IGCSE) Mathematics A (9-1) course. Students are grouped to offer the best support and challenge. Within each group, differentiated tasks are set which are appropriate to students’ ability, the aim being to provide support and consolidation whilst also making sure that all students are appropriately challenged. A selected group of students study the EdExcel Further Pure Mathematics (9-1) IGCSE.
For Years 12 and 13, students studying the IB Diploma Programme have one of three options, Mathematics Studies SL, Mathematics SL and Mathematics HL.
For all ages and abilities, we aim to ensure that a wide range of teaching and learning techniques are employed. Students will work individually or in groups and are encouraged to ask questions and take an active role in lessons at all times. They are taught to employ investigative strategies to solve problems, which we aim to present in a real-world context as far as possible. Above all, we aim to ensure students see mathematics as a valuable and useful tool with many applications as well as an enjoyable and challenging subject in its own right.
Modern Foreign Languages
Language provision at West Island reflects the nature of our community and aims to equip students with the skills and competences needed to adapt to and participate in both home and international environments.
We offer the opportunity to develop mother tongue in Chinese and to study a European language. Currently our linguistic menu includes Chinese as a first language, Chinese as a second language, Chinese as a foreign language, French and Spanish.
Our foreign language courses emphasise the use of the language for practical communication. Students develop their abilities in all four skill areas – listening, speaking, reading, and writing – through pair work, role play, games and a wealth of other activities and assignments. In accordance with the IB learner profile, students are also encouraged to show initiative and drive their own progress in the language by working more independently and at their own pace using the Faculty’s own websites as well as a host of excellent online materials. The skills of all students are further enhanced and reinforced by regular contact with our Language Assistants. Through conversations with these native speakers, students are offered insights into the culture of the target-language countries as well as an immersion language experience. In Years 10 and 11 students may study either one or two languages at IGCSE. They then continue with either one, or, if their university course requires this, two languages at IB level.
Our first language Chinese course emphasizes literature, genre and register and aims to develop learners who will study the IB bilingual diploma (A1 Chinese) in Years 12 and 13.
Physical Education and Sport
Every student at West Island School participates in PHE lessons which are active, dynamic and challenging through the setting of appropriate activities and tasks within the framework of a specifically designed curriculum to facilitate progression through each year and following the MYP guidelines. While developing competency and improving skill acquisition, the thinking capability of the students is challenged and developed. Opportunities to plan tactics, strategies and sequences, perform and refine skills, and ultimately evaluate and reflect on their own work and that of others, are provided throughout the curriculum. This leads into a vibrant and successful Sports Team and activities programme.
The aims of Physical Education at WIS:
- Encourage physical activity
- Promote fitness and well-being
- Develop movement skills and knowledge
- Improve social interaction and team development
- To promote positive self-image and self-realisation
- Strive for individual excellence
Curriculum: The Physical Education programme promotes mental, physical, emotional and social development through guided sports activities. The students work in an educational environment which promotes an enjoyment of lifelong activity and sport, which provides opportunities for students of all levels to improve their skills, ability and understanding. Students are also encouraged to engage in a variety of roles, such as leader and official.
Post 16 – In addition to core PHE, students can opt for the following courses (2 years) of study;
IB Sports Exercise Health Science – Higher and Standard Level.
The BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma (Minor) and Diploma (Major) in Sports and Exercise Science will suit students who have an interest in sport. The course will broaden all-round understanding of skills in sport as well as developing a greater knowledge of the theory behind enhancing sports performance. It is demanding, enjoyable and rewarding. It is a recognised academic qualification for admission to higher education institutions and will be advantageous for some courses. An IGCSE Physical Education qualification is not a prerequisite.
Pre 16 – In addition to core PHE, students can opt for the following courses of study;
Y10/11 IGCSE Physical Education (Cambridge) The course provides learners with an opportunity to study both the practical and theoretical aspects of physical education. It is designed to encourage enjoyment in physical activity by providing learners with an opportunity to take part in a range of physical activities and develop an understanding of effective and safe physical performance. This helps learners to develop an appreciation of the necessity for sound understanding of the principles, practices and training that underpin improved performance, better health and well-being.
Y10/11 Sports Leadershp. i This course provides the ideal starting point for learners who wish to develop their leadership skills. The syllabus is designed to develop generic leadership skills that can be applied to a variety of sports and/or recreational and leadership situations, as well as contributing to the personal development of the learner.
The Level 1 Award in Sports Leadership will give learners the chance to develop their organisation, motivation and communication skills, whilst also focusing on positive role models in sport, how to mentor others, and how to use leadership skills in a variety of settings. Leadership skills learnt here will be transferable to many different aspects of life, whether it be further education or in the world of work. The qualification is also a well-recognised award for many international universities and further education institutions.
In the lower school, students participate in a number sports covering skills, games play, rules and tactics.
Sports include: Swimming, football, netball, hockey, badminton, athletics, gymnastics, water polo, volleyball, tag rugby, basketball and striking and fielding.
In the middle school a more whole game approach is adopted in practical sessions.
Sports include: Swimming, football, netball, hockey, badminton, athletics, trampolining, water polo, volleyball, tag rugby, basketball, cricket, rounders, dance and ultimate frisbee.
The Post 16 PE programme aims to educate students about the benefits of an active and physical lifestyle that they will hopefully continue to develop after graduating from WIS. The programme provides students with the opportunity to participate in sports of their choice. Additionally all students will take part in athletics, cross country and swimming.
We have a wide range of science courses available at West Island School to enable every individual to achieve their full academic and personal potential. We aim to develop within students the ability to think analytically, critically and creatively to solve problems, judge arguments and make decisions in scientific and other contexts.
Science is a key subject for many of our students. At IB level, 78% of our students take a science as a higher level subject. We offer Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Systems and Societies.
In years 10 and 11, students study towards international GCSE courses. The majority of our students opt to take Edexcel iGCSE triple sciences with a separate GCSE in each subject. We also offer a ‘double science’ course where 2 science GCSEs are awarded, based on attainment in all 3 science disciplines. A few students each year opt for our CIE single science combined award.
In year 9 we currently run a course based on the UK national curriculum that is an introduction to our iGCSE courses. We offer MYP for our current year 7 classes, and this course will move into Y8 for 2019-20. The MYP science program is inquiry based and includes a focus on practical work and the scientific method.