It is difficult to realise that twelve months have elapsed since my last
report on the Junior Department. So often we sigh at the end of a term and look
forward to the next one which we assure ourselves will be much quieter.
However, with so many activities at Verdala, we are reluctantly coming to the
conclusio:n that the only quiet term at our school is the summer vacation. This
is how it should be; each term bringing its own high-lights and pressure, and
long may it continue.
When we had twelve-hundred children at Verdala we looked forward to the day when the reduced numbers would allow us more breathing space and more time for the individual approach to the children's problems. Thanks to the continuous eftorts of our Headmaster, Commander A. J. G. Newbery, the size of classes has been reduced and the general amenities of the school greatly improved. Through these improvements children have benefitted enormously and all efforts have been made with this end in view.
By concentrating on streaming of classes we have reduced the numbers in the less-able streams and this has given the teachers concerned more time to eradicate stumbling blocks to the children's progress. This is very important in a school which has a continuously changing population.
Within the pages of the magazine parents will read of the many social, cultural, athletic and academic activities taking place at Verdala. Without the fullest co-op- eration of staff during and outside school hours many of these activities would have to cease. It may not be generally realised that the School's Christmas Show is almost entirely -an out-of-school activity. Many evenings were spent rehearsing the cast and the ballet and so interruption of normal classroom work was kept to a minimum. On Saturday mornings during the autumn term we had so many staff preparing scenery, stage properties etc., that finding enough staff to supervise the Saturday morning House Soccer Teams and Netball was almost impossible. Here I must thank the many wives of staff and members of the Infant Department Staff who helped us out. With- out their aid we would have been in serious difficulties. However, I am sure that ail who saw the finished product will agree that it was effort well spent. Before leaving this section I must add our thanks to all parents and friends who assisted in many ways not the least being the splicing of the stage curtain ropes five minutes before the final performance was due to begin. This excellent co-operation between school And parents is very much appreciated.
I normally list all our school activities but I am certain that your children will have briefed you already and the many arrivals from school on late-buses is proof of their existence.
This is the time of tremendous change in the Junior Departments of Primary Schools all over Britian. Parents interested should obtain from H.M.S.O. copies of The Schools Council Curriculum Bulletin No.1 "Primary Mathematics," priced 10/- and Working Paper No.3 "The English Project," priced 3/-. These outline the new approaches to the teaching of Arithmetic, Mathematics and English in the Primary Schools. The Nuffield Trust have projects in Science and French Teaching in the Primary School and bulletins are issued from time to time. Most important of all will be the report of the Plowden Committee due some time in October. This report will cover the whole range of Primary Education and may well alter the age-range structure, by having Infants Departments taking the age-range 5-9 years and Junior Departments from 9-12 years. This will obviously affect the Secondary Schools.
It has always been the policy of the Staff of this School to keep themselves
well- informed on all the latest developments in Education and it is therefore
not sup- rising that we have already introduced new Mathematics, English,
Science and French Schemes. The new French Scheme so far only affects the 2nd
Year Children but next year it will operate in the 3rd and 2nd Year and finally
cover the 4th, 3rd and 2nd Years. This has caused some concern among older
brothers and sisters but it is essential that new schemes be introduced
properly and without haste if they are to succeed. There is a proposal to build
a Mathematics and Science Laboratory at the School and should the Plowden
Report recommend the raising of the age at the Primary School to 12 years,
Verdala should be well-equipped to deal with the recommendation.
Staff changes last year have been much smaller than usual no doubt due to the reduced number of children. We are delighted to welcome Miss Haffey and Mrs Hill and we hope they will both have a very happy stay in Malta. During the year we had to say goodbye to Mr Carrell, Mrs Mifsud, Miss Newman, Mrs Lewis, Miss Harris- Candey, Miss Rowe and for the second time, Miss Perkins, who came in to help us out whilst she was on holiday in Malta. We wish them every success and happiness wherever they may be and thank them all most gratefully for all their efforts on be- half of the Verdala children.
Normally we don't single out individual members of staff for special mention but we feel we must make some exceptions this year. Two of our young ladies have left us and they have left gaps which will be most difficult to fill. I refer to Miss Harris-Candey and Miss Rowe who between them have given over thirty years service to the school.
Miss Harris-Candey has retired and is enjoying her well-earned retirement in Malta. I don't think I have known any teacher to receive so many letters from former pupils. This is a great mark of respect and one well earned, especially when one re- members that Miss Harris-Candey taught so many of our academically less-able pupils. The letters she receives are a tribute to her skill and her understanding of the needs of these children. She is also an excellent pianist and she has delighted children, parents and staff with her playing at many Christmas Shows.
Miss Rowe has left us to return to the U .K. and it will be a very fortunate
group of children who find her on the Staff of their school. Her skill in
teaching Drama and Ballet was remarkable and parents who have seen Christmas
Shows will agree that her dressing of the cast, and her training of the
dancers, really were outstanding.
Both are very sadly missed and Verdala is not quite the same without them.
Finally we thank Mrs Waiters, Mrs Cook and Mrs Griffiths for their invaluable help during Staff absences.
P. .Ross _1965