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The theme for the school this year is “Stronger as ONE Fairfield”. I must thank the former Principal, Ms Audrey Chen, for leading and serving the school with her gift of leadership the past seven years from 2015 – 2021. The good results and stories you will read about and the many programmes highlighted on our website is a result of her leadership and the staff’s efforts.
I thank God for the privilege to lead and serve Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary) in the years to come. Fairfield is not only my alma mater but is a family with a rich history of 134 years. It has grown from the initial enrolment of 8 Nonya girls to its current enrolment of more than 1000 boys and girls. More importantly, as aptly stated on the school’s website, “we continue to stand as a school that is special, because of the staff and support we are blessed with, and because of the almighty and loving God whom we serve. His grace is evident in our school.”
In the first few months of leading the school, I found my heart warmed by what I have seen in the school. We have a collegial team in the School Executive Committee comprising school leaders, heads and subject heads of departments. We have a teaching and staff community with their hearts in the right place - caring and wanting the best for the students. And most importantly, we have our Fairsians who are always teachable and striving to become better versions of themselves. I have come to appreciate this quiet confidence of humble strength in our Fairsians and am excited for the school to work with them and build them up further. But that is not all, we have special groups of proactive and supportive partners in our Fairfield Alumni, Parent Support Group (a.k.a. PiE in Fairfield), Aldersgate Methodist Church and Holy Covenant Methodist Church.
Yet, we cannot rest on our laurels. To borrow the words of our Prime Minister at his 2016 National Day Rally Speech, we must ask to “be blessed with a ‘divine discontent’ – always not quite satisfied with what we have, always driven to do better”. At the same time, we need to have the wisdom to count the blessings that Fairfield has been blessed with, and to know how to enjoy these blessings and to protect them.
It was in this spirit that the school embarked on a journey to revisit its vision and values. I am excited to share the school’s refreshed vision and values. Refreshed because it is not a departure from our roots and traditions. Refreshed because it is the result of our collective thoughts, hopes and aspirations for Fairfield in the years ahead.
A Flourishing community of Self-Directed Learners, Influential Leaders and Caring Citizens.
Purity and Honesty. Unity. Resilience. Excellence.
A Flourishing Community
We desire for school to be a flourishing community where every member is valued and supported. Our approach is best described in three words – Connect, Nurture and Inspire. Embedded within this approach are three key ideas:
1. Connecting lives through relationships building and facilitating experiences of positive emotions.2. Nurturing engagement through effective design and implementation towards accomplishment.3. Inspiring passion through stretched and meaningful experiences.
It is the school’s vision to have every student self-directed in their learning. There are two aspects to this piece. First, we want our students to be engaged in class and to strive to do well in their academic studies. Second, we see learning taking place beyond the textbooks. Students should discover more about their strengths, interests and passions and take initiative for their own learning.
Beyond the national curriculum, our students will have various learning opportunities. These include the Model United Nations (MUN) Programme which gives students international perspectives on global affairs; the YMCA Plain English Speaking Awards (PESA), the largest English language competition held in the ASEAN region; and our applied learning programme in Environmental Science and Sustainable Living, where students apply knowledge and look for ways to mitigate rising temperatures in the urban environment through their research on urban greening.
Moving forward, the school is looking at intentionally developing a range of enrichment programmes and learning experiences over various disciplines to develop our students as Self-Directed Learners.
In the past years, Fairfield has been imbibing the model of servant leadership and nurturing in our students the five practices of exemplary leadership distilled from Kouzes and Posner’s work on The Leadership Challenge. The school wants to build on and deepen this work.
The school, community, nation and the world will need influential leaders with the character and skills to make a difference—leaders with the character to do right, to work hard, to be humble, to serve the weak, to inspire and to be enterprising in making a difference wherever they are and whatever station they find themselves in life.
We will adopt a termly thematic leadership approach to strengthen this narrative as we integrate elements from the five practices of exemplary leadership practices and the school’s values.
One of the school’s distinctive features has been her Values-in-Action programme which develops and nurtures in our students a caring disposition. In particular, the school has consistently been reaching out to the elderly in the school’s neighbourhood over the years and has also inculcated the ownership of the needs of the community and the will to make a difference proactively.
Our desire is for our students to develop empathy, conviction and capacity as caring citizens. We will integrate into our programme elements that will develop their presentation and research skills; and their awareness of specific challenges and needs Singapore is facing. We want to expand their concept of caring beyond meeting needs at the ground level (important as it is) to being effective advocates and thinking more deeply about causes and how these can be addressed as caring citizens.
All of us for all our Fairsians
We have laid out a bold vision for Fairfield. How can we not do so when it is the lives of our Fairsians we are talking about? Not one. Not some. But all of them.
It is a vision where everyone is a self-directed learner who knows his or her strengths and interests; where everyone is an influential leader in areas he or she is deeply convicted about; and where everyone is a caring citizen in deep and effective ways and at every opportunity - showing kindness, care and love.
It will require all staff at Fairfield to make this happen. But more than that, it will require every parent, every alumni and every stakeholder we can get to come on board. But most importantly, we look to God for truly “unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain”.
May all glory be to Him!
Mr Wee Tat Chuen