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Principal’s Update – 25th September, 2020

Richard Thornhill
Richard Thornhill (32 posts) Principal, The British School of Beijing (BSB) Shunyi View Profile

Click to read in Chinese and Korean

Dear Parents,

I am writing to further update you on developments at school as we work toward re-establishing our usual programme of events.

I am pleased to let you know that we have had no cases of infection. We have had students with fevers but they have stayed at home. A couple have had COVID tests but all were negative and the majority have not needed the test. As such the timetable for all our students has operated without interruption. We hope that this continues and continued vigilance is required as we progress through the term. As I mentioned in a previous update, children can have a raised temperature for many reasons and if your child is not well please err on the side of caution and keep them at home so that we do not have a situation where a child is involved in the virus control measures that are in place when all they have is a cold. If this situation occurs please inform us straight away and we can treat the matter as a normal absence due to illness and not report via the virus control system.

Over the course of the last couple of weeks I have been asked about the return of staff from overseas. The situation now is that border controls and visa requirements are easing and as a result virtually all staff will be back after the forth coming short break. Returning staff will be in large part from the 12th to the 26th of October. There are one or two exceptions to this which relate to limited flight availability and very specific visa requirements but we will be virtually fully staffed from after the short break. This will again allow us to take a step forward on the road to establishing normality and expanding the opportunities to our students and families. We of course take the safety of all the school community very seriously and we will continue with the tight controls around entering the campus. These controls are regularly reviewed with the local education authorities and we will keep you informed of any developments.

Now we have full confidence in the return of our staff during the period detailed above we are able to be more specific about the mitigation programme that the school will be offering following the campus closure of last year. You may recall that this started over the summer holiday with our EYFS students having the option for a three week extension of school. Also the Steam activity weeks also extended the summer term by two weeks for many older primary students. Both of these had to take place on line but were very popular and heavily subscribed.

I think it is important that the additional time offered reflects the philosophy and ethos of the school. As such it will offer a balanced programme of teaching and learning which of course will incorporate a focus on academic work but also provide opportunities to engage with the broader curriculum. This is important as one of the things that parents have spoken to me about is that while the online learning focussed on the academic work, their children missed the wide and varied programme of activities that the school and they value highly.  

Following the Golden Week break, our year 11 and 13 students will commence their additional tuition and this will take the form of an extended school day and the introduction of Saturday school. These year groups will be quickly followed by the year 10 and 12’s and then years 7,8 and 9. Our primary school will follow a similar pattern with an extended school day on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and again the introduction of Saturday school. This range of times will, we hope, allow the maximum participation possible and also allow us to provide a balanced programme of activities for our students. The primary programme will commence week of the 2nd of November with the first Saturday school being on the 7th November. The slightly later starting date in the primary age ranges reflect the timetable for returning staff mentioned above.

Our PE department are again following a similar pattern with the introduction of after-school-activities and again Saturday school. The thinking behind this is the same. To allow as fuller programme as we can at differing times to allow maximum participation across the curriculum. The detailed curriculum will be sent by email from the three respective areas of the school. Mr Adam Worsley, our Director of Sport, Mr Rob Khan, Head of Secondary and Ms Nonie Adams, Head of Primary will be sending out an email giving the detailed programme, timings and sign up procedures relevant to your child. Please look out for these and follow the guidance provided to ensure that your child benefits from this programme. If you have any questions relating to this programme please contact the above people who will be happy to help you make the most of the opportunities available and what will be in the best interests of your child.

We are currently reviewing our holiday dates and information relating to this will be published next week with a revised calendar to reflect any changes and additional part or whole school days.

Our very youngest children in EYFS will have a slightly different programme and this will follow the same pattern as with the summer school recently offered. For these children the school term will be extended by two weeks to the 24th December and they will enjoy their usual teaching and learning programme. This will mean that they have had an additional 5 weeks of teaching and learning. For all the above programme there will be no charge for all those parents who have paid their fees and are up to date with their account. Of course the programme will be reviewed as it goes along and we will welcome feedback on its operation.

We continue to run our online parent meetings and I would encourage you to take advantage of these the links are listed below for your convenience.

Upcoming Parent Online Meetings

Whole School Parent Meeting Friday 25th September 4-5pm


Primary School Parent Meeting Wed 30th September 9-10am

  • Hosted by Ms. Nonie Adams

I will be writing again before the spring break, please do look out for the detailed emails relating to the mitigation programme and I hope that you will join us for on of our regular online parent meetings.

Best regards

Richard Thornhill