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Mr Puttock's Blog

30 April 2014

Update from our Principal

Dear Parents and Friends,

It only takes a brief look through my diary each week to remember how many things we have to celebrate, given the remarkable talents of our young people here at BSB. As I hope you have noticed, we have decided that our foyer, which used to look rather bare and cavernous, should be a pure celebration of the many and varied achievements of students. Last month, we had an awe-inspiring display of the creative work in Secondary PE and Design Technology. This month, we turn to literary skills, as we demonstrate the remarkable writing talents of our German Primary School children, and national prize-winning writer Amy Wei in Year 11, as well as some interactive displays for you and your children to enjoy together and work by our younger French classes. You have a part to play too – please do inform your child’s teachers of anything that they do that is worthy of celebration. We have now started whole school assemblies in Secondary (a new feature for BSB) with the sole purpose of recognising and rewarding achievement in any field of endeavour.

On a wider scale, I have had the privilege to watch the ‘music circuses’ which are the culmination of Primary students work in their PIPS classes. The progress made is amazing and we have some really committed and talented young musicians here. This is a unique feature of BSB, where every child in Primary learns a musical instrument in a structured fashion, and we know that it paves the way for great musical skill in the future. As with Sport, we believe that the ability to play a musical instrument and appreciate music is a core part of a young person’s development and it was delightful to see the hard work come to fruition. My thanks to all the music teachers for their commitment, and also to the many parents who supported the event.

On a wholly different note, two of our young BBC reporters, Leoni Reusing (Year 8) and Jun Yu (Cathleen) Loh (Year 9) joined Mrs Cundall and myself at the very formal second UK-China People to People Dialogue. This year’s dialogue was co-chaired by China's Vice Premier, Liu Yandong and by the UK's Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP and the students had the opportunity to mingle and chat to a number of very significant UK and Chinese diplomats, universities and business people, which they did with a confidence, manners and genuine interest in and understanding of the matters being discussed that amazed everyone they met.

Changes to AQI policy

Now that we are building the Dome this summer, we have the chance to review the AQI policy to ensure we are doing the absolute best for our children in terms of their health, and correctly balancing the need for physical activity and exercise, and the need to avoid breathing in an excessive level of pollutants. I am very pleased to say that we have therefore decided that, from August 2014, Primary children will remain inside when the AQI level is above 200 (currently 250). In  Secondary, the limit will remain at 250, and we will limit the range of outdoor activity to avoid strenuous activity when it is above 200. Once we have confirmed other building changes in the summer, we will also review whether we should lower the limit for Early Years even further, by allowing them to have excellent alternatives to run around which do not involve going outside.

We used the statistics we have gathered during this school year to arrive at this decision (clearly we are talking about the winter months and we would expect these statistics to improve over the last two months of the school year) and you may be interested in knowing what these are. We used the AQI at 10 am i.e. decision time for Primary breaktime. There were:
  • 31 days when the AQI was over 250 – indoor play
  • 17 days when it was between 200 and 250 – so only 17 additional days where children would use the Dome and other indoor facilities rather than being outside under our new regime, BUT
  • 65 days when it was between 150 and 200, which is why we do not believe that we should go lower than 200 for the majority of Primary School for the short time that they are actually outside.

May I wish you all a really enjoyable and relaxing Labour Day weekend

With very best wishes,

Andy Puttock