Rumour Mill

I am making an exception and writing to you on a Thursday this week as we are about to embark on a long weekend. This message will no doubt reach many of you while you are waiting in line, or watching the primary end of year show.

While there are plenty of celebrations going on throughout the school as we prepare for the end of year, I wanted to take a moment to write to you about a fascinating phenomenon, rife in every school in the world; I want to talk to you about rumours.

Rumours – smoke of noise as Victor Hugo puts it – are born of uncertainty. Which is why we aim to be as transparent as possible in our communication with you. With the weekly memo, this Friday letter, Seesaw in primary, Pronote in secondary, correspondence books, emails, report cards, parent-teacher meetings, parent representatives and class contact parents we do our utmost to keep you informed of everything that happens on a daily basis at our school. We believe that our transparent position leaves little room for doubt or assumption, which often lead to misunderstandings and confusion.

It seems to me that for the most part we are successful in our bid to be honest and transparent with our families: ours is a calm and stable community and there is a tight bond of confidence between families and school. We rarely suffer from unfounded rumours or gossip. That said, two baseless rumours have been brought to my attention in close succession. I have absolutely no idea how they started, but they have been passed on to me in total seriousness by concerned parents. They may seem trivial to some of you, but it is the fact that they are a symptom of uncertainty and doubt in our community that compells me to write to you today and clarify them.

The fact that these rumours have reached my office means they must have been doing the rounds of the parent community for some time now. So please be assured:
There is absolutely no question of us imposing an arbitrary repeat year of school on anyone, nor of us insisting that children have to skip a year of school based on their age or their nationality. In the extremely rare cases that teachers recommend a child repeat a year or skip a year, the parents are well-informed months in advance and work in close dialogue with the class teachers to study the available options. Nor is there any question of us streaming classes and putting children into level-based class groups. It goes against everything we believe in to separate good students from better ones.

In the six years I have been amongst you, I have surely taken decisions that you haven’t loved. But in every single case, I believe I have always laid out plans and the thinking behind them to parent representatives in a clear and honest manner. So I can promise you, I am not about to start making controversial decisions without keeping you in the loop!

There is nothing extraordinary in rumours, so please, if you do hear anything at all that bothers you or causes you concern, please do not hesitate to contact me: I am always available to talk to you.

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