Secondary years 4 and 5
In the Pre-Orientation Cycle, students continue to follow a broad curriculum which includes a number of compulsory subjects. Students in the Pre-Orientation Cycle are making a big step towards taking responsibility for their own learning and well-being. Meetings between a teacher, Mentor or the Cycle Leader and parent, in principle, always take place in the presence of the involved student. We aim to speak with the students rather than about them.
At the end of S3, students have the opportunity to personalize their subject package. Students keep the language scenario they already had in the Observation Cycle, and next to their three languages, they must take Mathematics for 4 or 6 periods a week. Biology, Chemistry and Physics are studied in the language of the section, for 2 periods per week each. History and Geography are studied for 2 periods each in the student’s second language, as is Ethics. Students add at least one elective subject from the following: Language 4 (ab initio), Economics (in the second language), Latin (only if studied in previous years), Art, Music or ICT.
The Mentor lessons are in part a continuation of what was done in the Observation Cycle, but students also work on study skills and career orientation. In addition to this, S4 students participate in a volunteer project, Make a Difference, as part of their citizenship development and they do two weeks of work experience in S5 as part of career and university orientation. Highly motivated students may apply to do a 6-8 week exchange with another European School during the first semester in S4, or a 4-month exchange during the first semester in S5.
The Make a Difference Project requires S4 students to participate in activities in which they make a positive contribution to their community. Students arrange their own activities such as volunteering with a community organisation, tutoring, coaching, organising charity events, helping a neighbor, etc. The aim of the project is to give our students an opportunity to help others without expecting anything in return, while demonstrating the school values of positivity and respect. The project begins in winter and runs through until the summer holidays. In that time, students are required to complete at least two projects, both long and short term. Students keep track of their projects and reflect on their contributions.
As an embodiment of the school’s vision to inspire students to be responsible, future focused and proactive citizens of Europe and the world, we are confident that this project will be highly valued by our school community, and will continue as a vital part of the S4 Mentor programme for many years to come.
The Student Mentor programme gives S5 students the opportunity to become Student Mentors for our new S1 students. The programme not only forms an important part of the transition programme for new Secondary students, it provides our older students with more opportunities to complete acts of service and develop their leadership skills. The relationships developed between the students and their Student Mentor has the possibility of extending long-term to ensure strong social relationships within the student body.
The role of the Student Mentor encompasses tasks such as taking part in P5-S1transition activities, being present at the S1 induction days, attending S1 mentor lessons and assemblies once a month, and joining in activities such as the mentor Christmas lunch and sing-along. During mentor lessons, the Student Mentors help out with things like, social climate, study skills and planning, discussing the use of social media, and helping Class Representatives prepare for Student Council meetings. Student mentors may also be asked to attend or participate in information evenings, information mornings, and parent evenings etc.
Recruitment for the programme is conducted in spring, so that the students are prepared to begin the role as soon as the new S1 students begin in the new school year. Student Mentors participate in training to prepare them for the role, which focuses on learning to listen, mediation techniques, role-playing common social situations, and working in groups.
Each class has a Mentor who is the first point of contact for students, parents and teachers. These experienced members of staff form a group of Mentors who are supported and led by a Cycle Leader.
The Cycle Leader is responsible for overseeing the education that the teachers provide. Any questions that cannot be answered by the student's mentor, should be directed to the Cycle Leader.
The Cycle Leader has individual meetings with the class representatives of S4 and S5 once per semester, where they discuss ongoing issues and try to look for constructive resolutions together.