From Andy Puttock:
I hope you enjoyed the long Labour Day weekend. This is still one of my favourite times of year in Beijing as we finally say goodbye to the winter and look ahead to the summer months. It’s always a time of real energy (and of course some stress) in school as our examination students enter the final phase of their studies. They have prepared really well (honestly, the best I can remember in 30+ years in teaching), are motivated, positive and ready for the tests ahead, and of course know that the end is in sight. We wish them every success, in the knowledge that they have the brightest of futures ahead. Knowing these young people so well now, I would simply be astounded if we do not see some of them as world leaders in their fields in the years ahead.
It is my pleasure and my privilege to welcome our new Principal, Richard Thornhill, to the school this week. He arrived last weekend and has already got fully into the swing of things here at BSB. I know that he can’t wait to meet as many of you as possible – in his part of this joint letter, he invites you to an event to hear him speak and to ask questions. Please do come along if you can. You know the sadness I will feel as I move on from this wonderful and awe-inspiring family, but I know that the school, and our precious children, are in safe hands.
As ever, I have to report back on some amazing events in school over the past few weeks. In the secondary school, we have now had the Art examinations and the visit from the PE examination moderator. In both cases, the standards achieved by our students were exceptional and drew very rich praise. We also experienced a great Sunday afternoon at the CAS Fashion Show, which was conceived, organised and modelled by BSB students – they did a wonderful job and everyone who came really enjoyed the show. Our Primary School has shown us the quality of what they can do, not only in their day to day learning, but in the creative and performing arts. The annual Music Circuses were, as ever a joy to behold – this is work that goes on week in, week out with our instrumental teachers and I am always so pleasantly surprised to see what the children manage to achieve.
And of course, you will have seen the excellent art work produced by students across the Primary School as they prepared for the auction at the PA summer event. They worked so hard on their pieces, and I am delighted that, as a result, significant sums of money were raised for our charity work in Myanmar. The event itself can only be described as a roaring success – my wife Eli and I were certainly not alone in describing it as one of the best nights out during our time here. The atmosphere was wonderful, great food, fantastic company, and a real buzz throughout the evening. Our sincere thanks go to all the PA steering committee for their work on this, but most especially to Daniela Menzel and Anna Seidel who gave tirelessly of their efforts over many weeks to pull off such a stunning event.
Looking forward, I know that parents will be keen to know how the handover to our new Principal will be accomplished. This week is a week of orientation and induction, and then at the beginning of next week, we are joined by our new Head and Deputy Head of Secondary (Mr Jeff Shaw and Mr Rob Khan), to ensure that they are fully briefed on everything about our school ready for a smooth start in the summer. At the end of their visit, on May 11, Richard Thornhill will officially become the Principal. I will be remaining until the end of June to assist him with the handover, and of course will look forward to participating as much as possible in everything, between now and the end of term. Richard will lead on events that look forward, and he has generously agreed that I should speak at the events that look back – the Awards Ceremonies, Graduations and the like.
Of course, it is an absolutely packed run in to the end of the year, with particular highlights being:
- The FOBISIA Maths competition hosted here at BSB on 12 to 13 May with teams from 24 other schools attending;
- Sports invitational events we are also hosting;
- The Primary residential trips;
- The FOBISIA Music Festival in Kuala Lumpur, and Primary School Games in Hong Kong;
- Primary School Council Duathlon on 3 June;
- The Summer Fair on 4 June – probably the biggest event in the school calendar;
- Performing Arts Summer Soiree on 7 June;
- Sports Awards Evening on 15 June;
- Year 6 Graduation on 20 June and finally….
- Our Awards Ceremonies for Primary and Secondary schools on 22 June.
Please do come along to as many as you can. It’s always a busy time of year for families too but I always find that these are really uplifting moments, when we can celebrate the genuinely phenomenal talents of our students, along with the spirit and warmth of the BSB family.
From Richard Thornhill:
It is with the greatest pleasure that I make this contribution to the Principals’ Update. It has been a long held ambition of mine to be Principal of an International school and to have the opportunity to lead a school of the calibre of Nord Anglia’s British School of Beijing, Shunyi is indeed a privilege. As Andy said in his remarks I am keen to meet as many parents as possible and begin the process of building upon Andy’s outstanding leadership of our school. I would therefore extend an open invitation to you to join me on the 22nd of May at 8:45am and/or at 6:00pm in the theatre and we will have the opportunity to meet personally.
A school is defined by the people who work in it, students, staff, parents and families and of course the Nord Anglia central team working hard to support the school. I have to say the welcome I have received has been beyond my hopes and I feel I must make comment on the students who without exception have been a joy to meet. I genuinely believe I am lucky enough to have the best job in the world. To be able to work with families and staff to create the opportunities for our young people to grow and develop, to achieve the highest academic standards and to develop their individual talents to their fullest potential; to lay the foundations for each one of them to go on and achieve their dreams is indeed a privilege.
I have taught for over 30 years of which over 20 years has been as a Headteacher. I hope to bring this experience with me, learn new things from the BSB community, to ensure that our school is the very best school for every one of our students.
I hope that I will meet as many of you as possible on the 8th of May and also around school in the coming weeks.
With very best wishes