Thank you to so many of you who came along to our Parent Update meeting recently. It was really useful to be able to share with you the many things that are happening at BSB. They all feature in the newsletters and blogs regularly, but sometimes it is very valuable to put it all together in one presentation. A number of parents have asked if the slides could be made available for other parents – we are going to do that in the next few days (together with some explanatory notes) and will email this to everyone. We will also be preparing a translation in Chinese and Korean – as ever, please do let us know if you would like it translated into any other language.
Within this presentation, and in everything we say, we are always keen to stress that although aiming for outstanding academic performance is clearly at the heart of what we do, our school is about so much more than academics. And it is – we aim to provide for all our children’s many talents, whatever they may be. But of course, at this time of year as we approach examinations, our academic focus becomes much sharper. We have recently produced our official predicted grades for Year 11 IGCSE students based on mock examination results, and it is fair to say that this year group is going to surpass all expectation. They really are quite exceptional young men and women. We expect to see over 90% of our students achieving 5 or more A*-C grades including English and Mathematics (an improvement of 20% on last year which was already BSB’s best yet). We also predict an improvement on A*/A grades to 50% (15% up on last year). This is a huge testament to these students, their teachers and their parents. And, as you know, we are proud to have non-selective admissions, because we believe that is at the root of quality teaching; it is such a privilege to work with young people of this calibre.
Last weekend, we also hosted (for the first time) an event which combines very high level academic competition with a huge celebration of youth at its very best, as 250 students from across the wider Beijing area joined us for the World Scholars’ Cup Beijing Round. This has previously been held at ISB but the World Scholars’ Cup team invited us to host this year, which we were delighted to do. I was lucky enough to be there and it was a really enjoyable weekend. After two days of high level debating, collaborative and individual writing, and challenge tests, there was the usual prestigious awards ceremony. For the first time, all BSB students received a gold or silver medal in at least one category. Several of our teams won trophies for their debating and academic competition. Also for the first time, every single one of our 15 teams of 3 was successful in progressing to the Global round in Kuala Lumpur in June. And Jenny Hwang, a Year 11 BSB student who has already been elected to a senior position in the Beijing Model United Nations, won the most prestigious award of being the Best Overall Debater of the weekend. This is quite a stunning achievement for a student in Year 11! A full listing of all the awards is contained elsewhere in this newsletter and it makes for very happy reading indeed!
This afternoon, I have had the enormous pleasure of watching the last of the four Music Circuses, as Year 6 completed the round of concerts. As I said at the concert, when I heard that every single student in Primary learns a musical instrument, I did wonder about the quality this might produce, but watching the series of concerts where every student gave of his/her best, and we saw some very talented young musicians, of all ages, made me realise yet again the huge value of the programme. And the finales with the Wind Bands rounded things off so well. Our warm congratulations to all the students and their teachers.
If you are not already aware, we are in the middle of a fortnight of celebration of Maths, called The Big Jig. If you have a child in Secondary School, ask them what they are doing in their lessons. The event culminates in world record attempt (which will be validated by Guinness World Records if we are successful) to create the world’s largest ever mathematical puzzle. This will continue throughout the day – and quite probably the night! – as our team are totally committed that failure is not an option.
The coming few weeks are absolutely packed with events. This weekend is the ACAMIS Football tournament, where once again we are hosting six schools from all over China, together with an ACAMIS Social Event to which all our Secondary students are invited, as well as our Spring Hike which will take three busloads of parents, staff and friends to Intelligence Valley. On Sunday, we have our Fashion Show which has been put together by our IB CAS students – they have worked incredibly hard and already raised a huge amount for charity – there are still some tickets available and it promises to be a great evening. Next weekend (25/26 April) is our first Senior School Prom – once again student-led, this will hopefully be an evening that starts at tradition. And then, after the long weekend for Labour Day (please don’t forget we have no school on Thursday 30 April or Friday 1 May) we are into the full swing of preparations for our mammoth Summer Fair (to be held on Sunday 31 May), which we expect to be the biggest yet.
For parents in Year 5 and 6, there is a very important event on Tuesday 28 April, when we are holding information meetings about Secondary School. Please do join us at these, even if you know you will be leaving Beijing – in the past, parents have found these very helpful to ask questions about Secondary School in general, and not just at BSB. As you know, our Secondary school is now an academic high-flier (which was not the case a few years ago) and we hope we can provide for every student’s need but also provide reassurance for parents during this very important transition period.
I believe it is important to inform you that there has been a confirmed case of measles at Harrow International School Beijing. The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) has confirmed a staff member at Harrow as having the disease.
Measles is a very contagious disease and is spread through droplets of the virus in the air, therefore Harrow International School has taken the extremely responsible step of reducing the risk of infection to others in the community, by cancelling all their sporting fixtures for this week. They will review later this week regarding the coming weeks.
I would advise all parents to check their vaccination status and seek medical advice if appropriate.
With very best wishes