Several of you have asked what our plans are for the APEC conference and I am pleased now to confirm them to you. We have today received approval from the Beijing Education Commission for what we have requested, and I am very grateful indeed to them for granting that permission.
Our request is driven by a number of considerations. First and foremost, I am very concerned at the possible loss of teaching and learning time at a very crucial stage of the year – we have already had the National Holiday week, then the Secondary residentials, and we have our school closure for Regional Conference in the middle of November. Whilst these are all important and worthwhile in themselves, losing another week would, I believe, have a damaging cumulative effect especially, but not only, for those classes preparing for examinations. I am also aware that, whilst some offices and businesses are closed for the APEC conference, others will remain open and childcare could place an additional burden on parents.
On the other hand, we do wish to support the Government of our host country in any way we can. We are also aware that some other schools are closing for the entire period of the conference, and some are remaining open for longer, but every school is different with different demands on its calendar.
We have therefore arrived at a solution which has met with the entire approval of the authorities, balancing support for their organisation of the conference with no loss at all of teaching time overall during the year:
Friday 7 November – school will be CLOSED to students and this will be a training day for staff. This will replace the training day scheduled for Wednesday 29 April, which will now be a normal school day (subject to final confirmation by the Government of the arrangements for the Labour Day holiday)
Monday 10 November – school will be CLOSED to students and will be a training day for staff. This will replace the training day scheduled for Thursday 13 November which will now be a normal school day.
Tuesday 11 November – school will be OPEN as normal.
Wednesday 12 November – school will be OPEN as normal.
Thursday 13 November – school will be OPEN as normal. Please note that this day was originally scheduled as a training day.
Friday 14 November – school will be CLOSED for training, as has always been the case.
I am sorry that these arrangements might not be ideal for everyone, and I am sorry that compromise sometimes does not involve a perfect fit. There may be parents who had planned to take children away from school on Thursday 13 November – please do tell us if this is the case and we will of course support this, without detriment to your child’s attendance record. We will also of course ensure that there is no work missed that cannot be made up. Likewise, we will be very sympathetic to any difficulties experienced in attending school, or attending on time, on Tuesday or Wednesday 11/12 due to traffic restrictions. I am sure you understand that there has had to be a level of negotiation here which might cause some inconvenience but, overall, I feel this is better than losing any further days of teaching time.
Please do not hesitate to contact me personally if you need to discuss this further.
With very best wishes