There is no doubt that students have enjoyed participating in fun activities while socialising with their friends. The value of this should not be underestimated, after the challenges and the periods of isolation that many of them experienced. As always, activities range from academic to creative and sporting. I was particularly happy to see an ASA to prepare for the performance of ‘We Will Rock You’ in Term 3 — it will be great!
I am pleased to inform you that we have almost completed our recruitment for 2021-22. The recruitment and retention of outstanding teachers is probably the most important factor in the development of a successful international school. It is no secret that outstanding schools need outstanding teachers, and the search begins when we sift through resumes and letters of application in January. Interviews and reference checks are taken from 3 referees, including their current Principal, and background checks are then made to ensure that we meet Child Safeguarding Policies. The successful applicants will join us up to 2 weeks (3 weeks this year) before the school opens for a week of induction, and a week of inset with existing staff, where they will complete any necessary planning in preparation for the first day.
It is important to emphasise that BSG fully embraces a commitment to lifelong learning, and however qualified our teachers are, they know that they will need to embrace continuous professional development to meet our expectations. Nord Anglia fully understand the importance of retaining outstanding teachers and place a huge amount of importance on providing professional development. In a normal year, this training may have involved travelling to another school or region to take part in leadership training. However, this year much of the training has been online, so having access to Nord Anglia University has proven itself to be invaluable.
An important part of our teachers’ professional development is our appraisal programme, where line managers and senior teachers get the opportunity to observe a lesson in depth and provide targets for further development. Our teachers fully understand that they can always improve and see appraisal as their entitlement. They also take advantage of opportunities to observe other outstanding teachers, as part of an established Peer Observation Policy.
Simply recruiting highly-qualified teachers is never enough. It is the role of our school leaders to ensure that all staff act as role models in promoting BSG’s core values to our students, and to ensure that staff teach in a way that is in line with our school’s stated mission to promote ‘a love of learning.’
It is always a cause for celebration when our students fulfil their potential by achieving excellent academic results. For me this is also a time to recognise the work of so many teachers, who through their own dedication, have managed to inspire the students to put in the effort needed to be successful.
Although we are seeing progress in the fight against the global pandemic, we need to be prepared for another challenging year. Fortunately, our retention rates are excellent this year, with 90% of staff confirming that they intend to stay. Due to the additional challenges of getting teachers into China, this year we focused our attention on finding high-quality replacements who were already working in China. I am pleased to report that 7 of our 13 newly appointed staff were recruited from reputable international schools in the country. I would also like to note the impressive commitment and flexibility of our current staff, who fully understand that their summer travel plans will be restricted to China this year.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who found the time to complete the 2020-21 parent survey. We really do value your feedback and fully appreciate that there will be areas you feel we need to improve. Over the next year, we will focus our attention on creating an action plan to meet some of your suggested areas for improvement.
Have a great Easter holiday and stay safe.