Dear Parents and Friends
As I write this newsletter, three absolutely fantastic events are still filling my mind and making me smile with pride at our phenomenal BSB family. On Monday, so many of you joined us for our international day – without a doubt the biggest and, in my mind, best I have seen. The day began (on a fairly grey morning) with an amazing parade, led by professional dragon and lion dancers, and followed by a procession of 62 nationalities. This is our biggest number yet, and just reminded us of the truly international flavour of our school population. The children, students, staff and parents all looked magnificent in their national costumes – and in some cases, the costumes of their most famous football teams! – and the parade was watched by literally hundreds of parents.
The rest of the day was, if anything, even more exciting! We had over 30 nationalities with stalls around the school, sharing their culture, music, history, and food with the rest of the school family. There were more stalls than in previous years, even though we spread them out more in the gym to allow everyone space. The students absolutely loved it and they learned so much also. Parents made new friends and learnt about each other’s cultures, and we were treated to so many shows of singing, dancing and talent from across the community that the mind really boggled. I cannot begin to thank enough the team that organised it, including Eli Puttock and her in-school team, our wonderful Parents’ Association, our Chinese families who made sure that we not only had great displays but the dancers to begin the day, and ALL the nationality communities, large and small, who put so much effort into the stalls, games, displays and shows. I am really sorry if I didn’t get to thank you personally on the day; there were just so many of you! Elsewhere in the newsletter you will find just a small collection of the photographs that were taken– a lot more will shortly be in the foyer.
As you have heard me say many times, I make absolutely no apologies whatsoever for referring to us as ‘the BSB family’. That is what we are, and days like our International Day just hit it home again and again. Thank you!
On Saturday, a number of our parents and colleagues had a really enjoyable evening at the annual British Charity Ball. This is always a spectacular event which raises huge sums of money for charity, and which we are always delighted to support. This year had two very significant highlights for me. The first was a surprise appearance by the full band of the Queen’s Coldstream Guards, who gave a performance which literally raised the hairs on the back of the neck of those watching. But then came a really special performance (despite the poor sound system) by, for the first time, a joint choir of Primary and Secondary students from BSB, singing Bruno Mars and then the theme song from ‘Alice in Wonderland’. They were fantastic and, given that we had children who only left junior choir this year right through to accomplished secondary singers, showed teamwork at its best. Well done to Ms Clark and her team for bringing off something truly memorable.
Then, on Tuesday, we had our annual Secondary School Day of Sport, which was again a really terrific event when our students showed themselves at their very best, this time in the sporting field. I had the privilege of seeing some truly outstanding sportsmen and –women, but perhaps equally importantly, it was the leadership, tenacity and resolve of every student who participated that really struck me. There were those that knew they would be beaten, but recognised the value that their participation would bring to the team, so willingly gave it their very best shot. There were others whom I saw helping and supporting others, and the level of support given by the watching students was just incredible. We are aware that the Awards Ceremony lasted for much too long and we will be reviewing this closely as we plan for next year – as ever, please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any suggestions or comments. Our thanks go to Mr Washko and the PE staff for organising such a great day, and to all the Secondary staff, students and parents for making it such a success.
I have also received outstanding reports about our Secondary students as they undertook their residentials last week. As Secondary parents will know, we have changed our programme a little this year to ensure it is more leadership and service based and less ‘holiday’ (although I think most of them still had a great time!). They rose to the challenge superbly, throwing themselves into activities that, in many cases, were well outside their comfort zones, and showed the usual impeccable behaviour, politeness, care for others and good spirits that have been a hallmark of our school for a long time now. I will never get tired of writing just how special our students (your children) are – it something I will never take for granted and which gives such pleasure to all those around them.
As this newsletter goes to print, I will be having the privilege of accompanying, as their coach, the under 19 volleyball teams as they go to Hong Kong for the annual ACAMIS tournament. We have had over 50 players playing volleyball every week this year – last year it was more like 20 – they have worked incredibly hard, and I look forward to reporting back on their achievements in the next newsletter.
With very best wishes and thanks as ever for all your support