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Principal's Message - 14th January 2016

14 January 2016

What a great start to the first full week back, with school bursting into life as we brave the cold conditions outside. As we have only just begun our journey through 2016 we have already, as a school senior team, started to look into the months ahead and prepare for the 2016-17 academic year.

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These preparations take many different forms. Obviously, crucially important is ensuring we have the right team of talented staff to meet the needs of our students in an ever-changing Shanghai. One of the greatest challenges we know many of our expat parents find is the annual crystal ball gazing as to whether or not you will remain in Shanghai for the next year or whether a return home, or pastures new is on the horizon. We are fully aware that these discussions take many months and as such don’t send out our annual returners’ survey until much later. However, if you already know that sadly your time with us comes to an end at the end of this academic year, it helps us greatly with our staffing to strategically predict pupil numbers for next year. Please do let our Admissions team know if leaving is a possibility - we promise we will always secure a place for you even in uncertain times.

Teacher recruitment is one of the greatest responsibilities I have as Principal. Key to all our children’s successes are the staff who work with them day in and out, inspiring them to reach great things. Next week I will be out of school in London as I embark on the first round of staff recruitment. Fortunately for us, we have very few teachers leaving our school this year, which bodes incredibly well for continuity for our students. However, one key member of our team who has decided to seek challenges elsewhere is Mrs Dinah Hawtree, Head of Secondary. As you know, Mrs Hawtree joined us this year from Portugal where she was leading her own school, and she has made the decision to seek a Principal’s role elsewhere from August 2016. We have already started to actively recruit a replacement to join and drive our talented team; time will be taken to ensure we recruit a person with a desire to be here for at least the next five years. I will update you in due course.

Finally, as we discuss 2016-17, I wanted to share with you as early as possible term dates for next year, which can be found by clicking here. It’s also important to acknowledge that the school had intended moving Project Week to near the end of the school year, but has decided to delay that move until the 2017-18 academic year. This is for a number of reasons but, most importantly, we want to make sure we have the right trips in place, at the right times with the right safety procedures and risk assessments. We are reviewing the trip schedule for next year and you will see some changes.

Additionally, we are certainly reviewing the Service element as we wish to remove the annual frenzy of cake sales for the weeks leading up to Project Week and focus on the actual service work whilst away. We believe our Service fundraising initiatives should link with the work of the community and be spread across the year.

If you have any questions then don’t hesitate to contact me directly. Have a great weekend and I do hope those of you who were brave enough to make New Year’s resolutions are still on track.

Mrs Lesley-Ann Wallace