Dear Parents and Friends
Somewhat unusually, I would like to write in philosophical mode rather than talk about what is happening in school. Recent events in our Beijing community – including incidents with drugs and a tragic road accident – have reminded us of the need to constantly review our culture and our expectations. As a school which prides itself on promoting the sense of family, and of promoting strong values and ethos, we need to constantly reinforce the message to our students that it is our values that set us apart from others.
For our younger students, the implementation of the PAWS scheme has been central in refocusing on those core values of respect for others, good behaviour, courtesy and good manners, and concern for others’ well-being as well as your own. I remember in the UK a few years ago that the new educational agenda was entitled Every Child Matters – something I identify with hugely – and one of the central pillars of this agenda was ‘Staying Safe’. This doesn’t just apply to our Primary age students and, as we review our Personal, Social and Health Education programmes in Secondary school, we will be focusing strongly on the same core values, but also adding in those things which apply specifically to older students, such as driving and riding habits, the use of alcohol, drugs awareness, and responsible social behaviour.
The same applies to our teachers and other staff. As members of the BSB family, our teachers are very aware that the expectations of their behaviour out of school are very high. We know that teachers have a massive influence on the development of young people’s attitudes, and I frequently remind our colleagues of the need to maintain the highest standards of behaviour in the community. I believe that this involves being an excellent role model in terms of showing respect and courtesy, but also in terms of our actions and interactions. I have used a recent staff meeting to reiterate these expectations as we work together to build a strong community and avoid some of the issues that might otherwise cause problems.
May I also ask parents to discuss these issues with their children? I am sure many of you have already, but issues such as safe riding of scooters and cycles, appropriate behaviour around and about, avoidance of social dangers etc. cannot be stressed often enough. If you feel that there is more that we could/should be doing in school, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me personally.
I met one of our outstanding Year 11 students earlier this week and asked him how his examinations were going. I then apologised as I said that I should have asked him about his life first – to which he replied, “Sir, life is exams right now”. And this summed up for me the enormous sense of perspective which our students have, and the huge pleasure they are to be with. They know how to love learning, have a good time, and how to live life to the full with all the many opportunities BSB, Beijing, and their families offer to them, but they also know when it is time to focus on what is necessary. In three to four weeks’ time, the examinations will be over and we are very confident that these students will achieve the fantastic results their hard work deserves.
May I also take this opportunity to thank the many parents who have responded to our survey about possible improvements to the school uniform. If you would still like to give some idea, please could you email them to me as soon as possible; I will then try to write to all parents about the outcome in the next few weeks and/or in the next newsletter.
Finally, and on the same note of consultation, may I please remind you just one more time to complete our annual parent survey if you haven’t already done so. Your views are so very important to us as we seek to continuously improve our school and this is a simple, quick and efficient means to gather a lot of opinion at the same time. Your help in this is very much appreciated.
With my very best wishes for the weekend and the week ahead.