Dear Parents and Friends
As regular readers of our newsletter will know, there are MANY times during the year when I get very excited about the BSB family, and the constant support our students, staff and parents give to make this school the very special place that it is. But I suppose that this is never more true than in the period leading up to the Christmas holiday, when there are so many events and activities, and such a feeling of community that pervades everything that is happening, alongside the day to day work of academic study, which our students always manage to put first despite everything they are doing. The fact that this week began with a covering of deep (for Beijing anyway) snow just adds to the amazing atmosphere!!
This was totally epitomised last Saturday by a quite stunning German Christmas Market and Christmas Fayre, which was once again enjoyed by over 2,500 visitors to our school in the space of three hours. It was certainly the best I have seen since I joined the school, and our grateful thanks must go to our German community (including lots of people who became German for the day!) for their vision and hard work in turning the dream to reality once again. I think that the other keys to the growing success were firstly the very significant numbers of students now involved in running games and activities, and also the huge impetus that Music is now developing in the school. It is at an event like this, when you realise that the orchestra is more than twice the size compared to the same time last year, that we now have a flourishing senior choir, rock bands and new ensembles, that suddenly all the hard work and ambition of our new music team really comes to life. And now that it is confirmed that we will be offering the unique Juilliard music programme from next September, the area can only go from strength to strength.
Music continues in a very different way at the end of next week as we have the annual House Music competition for Secondary students – this is a huge event in which every Secondary student performs in some way. It’s always a lot of fun, but more importantly it brings together so many of the ‘soft skills’ that we also aim to nurture in school such as leadership, team work and problem solving, and gives a chance for some of the more usually hidden talents to shine.
Last Friday was also a very special day in our German community, as we engaged all our students in the day of reading. Colleagues and parents really threw themselves into the event, dressing up and working together to make sure it was a really special day for the children.
Debating also continues to feature very highly and we have seen some great success recently, as groups of students took part in the Model United Nations in Hangzhou, showing great tenacity and skills and once again taking on a number of leadership positions. Three of our students have also just returned from the World Scholar’s Cup Tournament of Champions at Yale University, where they performed extremely well. We are already looking forward to the Beijing Model United Nations in early December, where we have our largest team ever, and the next rounds of the World Scholars’ Cup, including BSB hosting the Primary WSC for the first time – this is a great accolade and shows the high esteem in which the World Scholars’ Cup organisation hold our team here. In addition, debating continues through the Nord Anglia Education Global Campus competition, with our team currently holding its own in the top three worldwide, and once again hoping to lead the field.
Looking ahead to the coming week, this is where our Primary school students really engage with the end of Christmas term spirit. I am sure I will see many parents and friends at the Key Stage 1 production, the Early Years Christmas songs (which are always one of the joys of the season) and our very ambitious Year 5/6 production. Please do join us – the teachers and children have worked really hard and the events all look like being a lot of fun. And, of course, it the week of Santa’s Secret Shoppe herein school. If it is your first Christmas here in Beijing, you won’t know what an exciting time this is for the children, and also the parents! Our PA have been working super hard to buy, wrap and display gifts priced from 10 to 30 RMB, which the children can buy during the week as presents for their family. I can’t thank the PA team enough for their efforts on this – it always makes for a really special time and ensures that there is a true community spirit throughout the school as we come to the end of term. On Thursday 3 December parents and teachers are also invited to shop but we do ask you to wait until then, so that bulk buying from adults doesn’t reduce the products on offer to the children. But please do join us for a coffee and some shopping – Chatterbox will be open selling its usual range along with mince pies and other Christmas goodies, and the café and shop will still be open for those who are returning from the PA outing to the hutongs the same day - it will be great to see you there.
With the snow, our thoughts turn once again to the ski season. I am delighted to say that we have decided to repeat our school ski weekend but this time making it one day longer and travelling a little further afield. We will be going to the resort of Duolemeidi, in the Chongli mountains, from February 18 – 21. Further details will be out shortly, but please put the date in your diary if you would like your child to participate. It will initially be open to Years 6 -10, with the option to extend to Year 5 if space is available.
Also, may I draw your attention to an opportunity for our better skiers to participate in the International Schools Ski competition organised by Imagine Snowsports. A few of our students participated last year and did really well. We are hoping that more students will want to take part this year. The best way to organise this is for families to organise entries themselves but please do let me know you are doing so – if there are enough students taking part, we will organise a bus and make it more of a team effort. But I don’t want anyone to miss the early bird discount by waiting for this. Details can be found at:
Imagine Snowsports are planning an ISSCC information evening on Saturday 5th December, 6pm, in Shunyi, so that people can come and hear what it’s all about, ask questions, and sign up. Details of that will be sent on our mailing list and posted on their website soon.
I look forward to seeing many of you at our various events over the coming weeks, and will write again at the very end of term.
With my very best wishes