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Halcyon London International School
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Written by Khushi Hunt, Communications Manager, Halcyon London International School

Halcyon London International School was founded in 2013 as the only not-for-profit IB School in London. Our diverse community provides an optimum learning environment for each student to flourish, learn, and fulfil their unique potential: our uniquely student-centred ethos means that we ensure that every voice has an advocate, creating an environment of belonging, inquiry, and aspiration. As we reach our eighth year as a school and our fifth graduating class, we are proud to see that our community is reaching new heights in pioneering education. Our teachers continue to showcase their commitment to innovation in respect to academic attainment, extra-curricular provision, and social and emotional learning.

Together, we are launching our new Robotics Programme, which will see students participating in both national and international competitions, and our Wellbeing Team continues to engage in new research, with our students participating in a Cambridge/UCL Blakemore Lab study on how to positively harness peer-influenced decision-making. Our community’s dedication to innovating classroom culture has extended into a new partnership with Estonian digital startup Clanbeat, an exciting collaboration that will allow our students to hone their entrepreneurial skills, understand app development processes, and co-create a tool to manage their own wellbeing using the app itself. We are proud to be the first school that will integrate the Clanbeat App into school life, collaboratively with students - just as we were proud to be the first school to launch a Cognitive Coaching programme, which is a key part of our students’ development of social and emotional skills to this day.

This is all possible because of the combined mission shared by our staff, parents, and students: to draw out the unique potential of each student. All of our resources are channelled into providing an ever-improving learning environment for our students: we recruit the most committed teachers, and provide our educators with the responsibility and opportunity to pursue new ideas in the classroom. Our Sustainability Project Leader has challenged the boundaries of what sustainability policy looks like in schools, working with our teachers to embed a focus on the natural world into the curriculum in all subjects, from measuring Hyde Park’s tree density in Mathematics to discussing different views on the anthropocene in English. These ‘Earth Day’ activities were part of our students’ wider work of applying their classroom skills to matters of global importance: learning how to bring forward different understandings of human relationships with nature, often represented through literature and art, will be crucial to protecting our planet.

Our teaching team has taken IB Service into every area of the curriculum, inspiring our students to reflect on what they can do to create a better world. Our Community Partnership project has launched with our ‘Knowledge in the Service of Social Justice’ speaker event; this inspired students, parents, and staff alike to think about how we can best serve our world. Dr Eva Thorne, who works on policy and tech in the developing world as well as Covid treatments for developing countries in her role for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, visited Halcyon to inspire our students and staff with ideas to harness their knowledge to lead change in international society. We look forward to seeing where this series develops next.

While we have not been able to meet our local educational community as much as we would like to this year, our Model United Nations students have strived to bring issues of global concern into the classroom, inviting local state and independent schools to a virtual edition of our annual Halcyon-hosted MUN Conference, this year with the theme of Accessibility to Education.

The achievements of our growing group of alumni shine a light on how everyone in our small international community is nurturing students to go out into the world as thoughtful, internationally-minded changemakers. To name a few examples from the Class of 2020, Sabrina has explored how fashion embodies global and urban identities as editor-in-chief of UCL’s MODO magazine, and Isaac has hosted his own art exhibitions which encourage viewers to think more closely about the individuals they encounter everyday.

Looking back on our journey, we can say that - in the face of opportunities, innovation, and challenges - our small international community of 159 pupils has drawn on our united strength to deliver an outstanding, ever-improving educational experience for young people.

Halcyon London International School were finalists for British International School of the Year at the Independent Schools of the Year Awards 2021.