Wednesday, 5 October 2016


In a day school, these events are usually called "Parents' Evenings," but the principle remains the same: an occasion providing an opportunity for parents to meet their children's teachers and discuss progress. Parents are encouraged to meet the Head and members of the school Management Team as well. We hold KYUEM parents' meetings at the end of each semester. The next one is scheduled for Saturday, December 3, 2016.

I was interested to read an article about them in the UK Guardian newspaper online recently. You can find it here. For those of you who may not have heard of him, Gordon Ramsay is a British celebrity chef who runs a whole host of restaurants around the world. His TV shows are famous for his free use of swearing and bad language - shocking people seems to be his shtick. I have to confess that I am not a fan - as a lover of the English language, I believe that people who resort to a limited and abusive vocabulary cheapen both it and themselves. However, on this occasion, if the reporting is accurate, I am with him 100%. It seems he was asked to leave his child's parents' evening after asking the Head if he could take a selfie with him. Speaking personally, when a parent or a student at KYUEM asks for a selfie with me, I am both flattered and perplexed; flattered to be asked and perplexed as to why they should want a picture taken with me in the first place. In this particular case, if I read the story right, there is something worth commenting on: I doubt Mr. Ramsay would have asked for the picture if he was unhappy with the progress his child is making. He seems to have been proud of the school's achievements and wanted to document that with a photograph. It's almost like a pictorial seal of approval.

The Head in this instance, seems to me to have been a bit precious. Surely we all like recognition for what we do. Was he merely making the point that he doesn't need to be photographed alongside foul-mouthed celebrities? If so, his outlook on life, to say the very least, is rather narrow. Nothing gives me greater pleasure at KYUEM than to be told we are doing a good job, and if one of the ways this is expressed is by having my picture taken with the person who is happy with our work, then so be it.

Leaving selfies and celebrities aside, the article in the newspaper is worth reading for a number of better reasons. It offers sound advice to parents in terms of what to ask at such meetings and the best ways in which to find out how your sons and daughters are doing. For that reason alone, I commend it to you.

Nonetheless, I would like to make it very clear to everyone that you are not limited to seeing either your child's teachers or me on only two occasions a year: we are always very happy to meet parents to discuss their concerns. My only plea is that you call the college first and make an appointment. In that way we can be certain to free ourselves to see you. There is nothing worse than making the journey out to Lembah Beringin only to be told we are unavailable. Give us some notice and we will always be glad to meet and talk with you about any aspect of your son's or daughter's life with us.

Incidentally, I don't only read the Guardian, but it is my online daily newspaper of choice (particularly since it has a detailed Education section). I was interested to read this article over the weekend about a new proposal to rank UK universities using Gold, Silver and Bronze standards (remember, this is an Olympic year!). One wonders if it is merely a political stunt (i.e. another headline-grabbing gimmick) or whether there is some merit in it. We will continue to monitor things and keep you posted.

London 2012 medals

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