There is a famous quote about school – School is a building which has four walls with tomorrow inside. It is the foremost fountain of knowledge where learners flourish their skills. It is not an exaggeration to say that schools provide the necessary building blocks to shape the lives of learners. Human history indicates that the educated society has always dominated the world. Education is directly proportional to progress.
Education was very underrated till the 20th century but the rapid development in the world started highlighting the importance of education. Many countries then emphasised education and thousands of schools were established worldwide. Many of these schools stamped their excellence with the standard education system. Nexus International School (Singapore) is among these successful schools, which is focused on empowering learners with advanced education.
Nexus was created by Taylor’s Education 10 years ago, based on the purpose – to educate the youth of the world to take their productive place as leaders in the global community. Under the able guidance of Dr Heather Millington, Head of Secondary School, Nexus is touching new heights in the education sector. At Nexus, learners are provided with a range of learning opportunities based on its ideology – embracing diversity, challenging minds.
The Nexus Way
Nexus is an empowering learning-focused community. It has taken Taylor’s vision and created the ‘Nexus Way’. The four elements of relationships, mindsets, inclusion and innovation underpin all that Nexus does, and the Nexus Way permeates all aspects of school life. The core values of Nexus are known as the RECIPE, where all staff respect each other, create a culture of excellence with open communication and act with integrity.
The school is passionate about its learning approach and focuses on creating enjoyable learning environments. Learning should be fun. As an educator, nothing beats the look on a learner’s face, when he or she makes a connection and discovers something on their own. In the fast- changing world, many jobs are being automated. It is essential to empower the learners to become collaborators, communicators and problem-solvers who can use information and apply it to real-life situations.
Setting Goals with MYP
The Middle Years Programme (MYP) framework enables staff to create their own content, which is incredibly liberating as a teacher. As well as gaining knowledge and understanding, we help learners develop the skills to learn. These are known as the Approaches to Learning. This blend of knowledge and skills alongside the learner profile attributes, helps them to set goals. The learner profile outlines the ten personal qualities learners need. These are common to many job descriptions, for example, being principled, open-minded and reflective. The conceptual and interdisciplinary nature of the MYP helps learners to make connections between ideas and promotes deep learning.
The learning approach is set within real-life global contexts to help learners to see the relevance of their understanding. The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and International Baccalaureate® (IB) diploma programmes for the upper years provide the opportunity for learners to specialise in distinct subjects. Learners evaluate knowledge and think critically about their research. Learning is then validated by external awarding bodies.
Learning in Nexus
Education at Nexus is not just about exams, it is about setting learners up for life with innovative and advanced education. As an Apple Distinguished School, Nexus is a technology-rich school. Interactive and collaborative learning is normal in the school. Learning happens in classrooms, breakout spaces and collaboration spaces. Learners have their choices, fostering autonomy in their learning. They get to write on tables and walls to collaborate and share their ideas through interactive devices and platforms.
There is a state-of-the-art science mega lab, which enables learners to move between experiments and carry out research. There are exhibition spaces for learners to present their work and Design & Technology rooms to integrate STEAM into lessons throughout the school.
For art, music and drama enthusiasts, there is a range of Visual Arts studios, including ceramics and media suites, that enable learners to explore their creative spirit. Music lessons are enhanced with three state-of-the-art recording studios. Their two-tier auditorium and black box drama studios make the perfect backdrop for music performances, concerts and school productions. There is even a boardroom for learners to hold meetings!
Dr Heather highlighted, “Relationships underpin all our work, and our teachers pride themselves on the learning- focused relationships they forge with learners.” Teachers interact with each student individually and help them to explore their visions. Everyone plays their part in the success of Nexus. The principal, head of school and senior leaders set the priorities and direction for the school.
The pedagogical leadership team provides subject expertise and rigour. The teachers and tutors provide daily learning and well-being support that help flourish the learners. Teachers encourage learners to gain knowledge and be active participants in the learning process.
Nexus has seen the fruition of instilling an empowering learning approach – their 2021 graduates attained a 100% pass rate with the average score of 37 points, well above the global average of 33 points and their IB Bilingual Diploma students scored an average of 38 points.
Nexus strives to ensure that your child has a world-class education, internationally recognised and accredited by the most respected awarding bodies such as the International Baccalaureate® and Cambridge IGCSE. It is part of the Council for International Schools and Western Association of Schools and Colleges, ensuring that the school holds itself accountable to rigorous international standards. Nexus is also certified with EduTrust, a quality certification scheme introduced by the Ministry of Education to strengthen private education in Singapore.
The school thrives on entrepreneurship. If learners bring ideas forward, the school supports them to make things happen. In fact, teams from Nexus have competed and won the Junior Achievement Award in Singapore Company of the Year competition for the last two years.
One of these teams went on to the global finals to represent the Asia Pacific. Learners of Nexus demonstrated their innovative marketing prowess by upcycling single-use advertising banners in the school. Such experiences develop both character and skills and will surely benefit them in the future.
Integrating Technology with Education
In the period of lockdowns, collaborative tools such as the Jamboard were used widely in the school. The school is also introducing Canvas as a learning management system. This allows teachers to collaborate with learners and supports learning outside of school hours. By providing a window into the curriculum, parents are given insights as to what their child is learning in school, the progress of their child and how their child can improve.
Teachers have always worked hard to provide informative feedback that helps learners progress. Quiz tools and grading tools within the platform mean that learners can review and self-assess at any time.
Scaling the Future
Dr Heather said, “We would love to see a return of the period where older learners mentor younger learners. Our campus is spacious and provides learners the required space and opportunities to demonstrate learning. I expect we will see more learner-led initiatives on how we use the space and deliver the curriculum as we continue to work in partnership to empower them and support them to become autonomous and independent learners.”