3. You mentioned recently that you view last academic year as the most successful since joining BSG in 2005. What made it so poignant for you and the school?
It may seem strange for me to state that 2020-21 was our most successful year, when we were not able to take part in residential trips, allow parents into school or compete in sports competitions. However, given the challenging nature of the year, I believe that our teachers and admin staff did an amazing job, and in particular, would pick out the following highlights:
Successfully delivered face-to-face learning for almost 1200 students.
Achieving outstanding examination results – 58% A*/A (IGCSE) and 54% A*/A (A-Levels)
Marketing reports continue to show BSG as the most recognized international school brand in the city
Above-average Parent Survey results, despite pandemic restrictions, especially in wellbeing, pastoral support, personal development and the NAE offering.
Student retention rate remains strong in a very competitive market
Council of International Schools re-accreditation report notes strengths across the school, especially in safeguarding, wellbeing, vision and academic outcomes.
Summer Camp and Ski Club programs launched in 2021
Staff positivity remained high with survey results noting the impressive support from HR and SLT.
4. 90% of teachers confirmed they’re staying with BSG for 2021/22. How valuable is this for the school and what do you think makes them stay?
Recruitment is the biggest challenge that all international schools face, and the COVID situation, with its border restrictions, has made this even more difficult. If I had to name one factor that was behind the success of BSG, it would be that we have managed to retain key staff longer than most other schools. If a teacher completes a 2-year contract then moves on, they have not had time to make much of an impact in helping to develop our school.
Fortunately, most of our key staff stay longer, with many staying for over 6 years. This is critical to help us make year-on-year improvements, and our current Vice Principal, Garry Russell, now entering his sixth year, is a great example of this.
Another major factor in retaining staff is of course Nord Anglia Education’s professional development opportunities. Nord Anglia has its own online university platform, offering courses and collaborative study throughout the year, plus an International Masters programme with King’s College London. Everything they do for our teachers is built towards retention, ensuring the 67,000+ students worldwide are being taught by the very best.
5. You’re entering an exciting phase of the school’s history with the opening of a sister school — the Nord Anglia International School Guangzhou (NAISGZ). What does NAISGZ provide for international families?
Four years ago, we visited the site of our new Olympic Park Campus in Huangpu and took the decision to build. This brand-new school provides students aged 1-10 with excellent cutting-edge facilities — a key factor of which is the link to STEAM subjects, enhancing our collaboration with MIT.
In my opinion, this will become the most popular Primary School within Guangzhou over the next 4 years, as the area around the school develops into the cities new CBD district. I am so excited to be given the opportunity to open the new campus, and am looking forward to meeting the first group of students who will get to experience this wonderful building. NAISGZ may be in a different location to BSG, but the teaching team will work closely together to ensure that we have exactly the same curriculum and policies that have made BSG so successful in Guangzhou.
Also, a major part of this is NAISGZ joins the Nord Anglia Education family of schools — a total of 72 international schools across 30 countries. This network of support will help the school excel, especially through its unique collaborations with MIT, Juilliard and UNICEF, gifting us immense opportunities in STEAM, performing arts and community projects.