Dear Parents and Friends
I hope you had a splendid National Holiday week, despite the unseasonably cold weather during part of it, whether you remained in Beijing or went farther afield.
We have come to the end of a busy week at school where we have been inspected by a team of six from the Independent Schools Inspectorate, the agency that is approved by the UK Government to accredit and evaluate British Schools Overseas. Very few schools in China have this type of inspection, and we feel that it is critically important to continue to benchmark ourselves against the best private schools in the UK.
Under the terms of the inspection regulations, I am not allowed to reveal anything about the feedback we have received from the inspectors, until the official report is published, probably in around four weeks time. What I can say is that I am exceptionally proud of every member of the BSB community and the way they showed the school during the inspection week. I am sure that the report will give a fair and accurate reflection of the school we are so proud of, and also recognise the great progress that has been made since the time of the last inspection three years ago. Some of the comments made by the students to the inspection team were really heartwarming, and I am extremely grateful to the nearly 500 parents who completed the parent survey (out of a parent body of approximately 750 families this is a quite exceptional rate of return) and who gave the school an extremely high approval rating on all counts.
We know that there is still work to do (what will make us great is always knowing we could do better), and parents will, I know, continue to work with us to keep BSB moving forward in the direction we want, but this show of pride in and loyalty to our school was absolute delight to hear. My sincere thanks to you all.
On a wholly different note, parents may have heard of some disruption that is likely to be caused during the upcoming APEC conference which will take place in Beijing (Huairou district) between 7 and 12 November. Traffic restrictions will be in place throughout Beijing, including the Shunyi area, with number plates ending in an even number only being allowed to drive on even-numbered dates, and odd numbers on odd-numbered dates; these restrictions apply from 3 to 12 November and there will be fines for any breach of the rules.
Many Government offices and local Chinese schools will be closed for the week. The question has been asked as to whether international schools will also be closed. At this stage we are not being required to do so and therefore currently we plan to stay open - especially for our secondary school students, it is a critical time of year for learning and beginning to prepare for examinations, and it follows very quickly on the back of residential week, and immediately before we have a two day closure (13 and 14 November) for our China Regional Conference. We therefore believe that closing would be too disruptive to children's learning at this time. However, this may change if the Government extends the regulation to the international sector.
The number plate restrictions do not apply to any of our school buses so buses will run as normal. We do not feel it is appropriate to change the pick-up times in the morning as many of our children have a very early start in any case. However, the traffic is likely to be fairly intense during the conference, especially on the Jingcheng Expressway and the Jingmi Highway, so it is possible that students may arrive a little late for school in the morning, and there may be delays on the way home. We do of course understand, assuming we do indeed remain open, that some parents may be unable to get their children to school because of traffic restrictions and our teachers will of course be sympathetic to that in the work they plan and set during this week.
In finishing, may I remind all of our secondary parents that next Tuesday (14 October) is our Secondary Day of Sport, with events happening throughout the morning, and fun sports activities in the afternoon. Parents are more than welcome to come and watch the events if they wish.
With my very best wishes for the week ahead and my thanks once again for all your support over the past few.