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Pleased To Meet You...Andy Lancaster

21 January 2015

This week we spoke with Andy Lancaster, Head of Key Stage 3, and found out about what inspired him to make the move to Shanghai and that he can’t live without Marmite!

  • Andy Lancaster, Head of Key Stage 3 at the British International School Shanghai, Puxi

How long have you been at BISS Puxi? I arrived at the school in August 2013 so about eighteen months in total.  Previous to moving to Shanghai, I have taught at schools in the UK.  This year will be my nineteenth year in teaching.

What motivates you to get up every morning and come to school? I enjoy supporting students, parents and staff at the school so that they are able to get the best possible learning experience at BISS Puxi.   I am lucky as I meet with all new students and their families as they arrive at the school, so I get to hear about their life before they came to BISS and their interests and challenges.  As there are over forty nationalities at the school, their life-stories are always varied and fascinating.  I enjoy seeing them flourish as they settle into life in the city and the challenges on offer at the school.  The school community is so friendly and supportive and students themselves help each other out all of the time – this makes coming to school every day an absolute pleasure.

What made you want to come and live in Shanghai and what have you enjoyed most about the experience so far? I first visited China in 2004 with my wife and we travelled independently around the country, visiting the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, the Great Wall in Beijing, Nanjing, Chongqing, Shanghai and we were lucky enough to cruise down the Yangtze – where we learnt to play Mahjong and witness the enormity of the Three Gorges Dam. 

We visited Shanghai and spent time in Pudong, which was so very different then compared to today.  We decided then that this would be a great place to come and live!  As I mentioned above, the enjoyable experiences for me are meeting new families as they arrive and helping them to settle into the school community.  Having been here for a little while now, it is great to be able to recommend to people good places to visit or activities to do – for example, there is a bicycle tour that you can do at night which begins in the French Concession and crosses into Xintiandi towards the Bund, taking in many of the famous parts of the city, but with a slightly different perspective.  As a family we’ve loved visiting the Aquarium and enjoyed exploring the Yuyuan Gardens.

What do you and your family enjoy doing at the weekends in Shanghai? As well as sometimes travelling into the city, we have a busy schedule with our two sons, with football, music and swimming – they also enjoy play dates with friends, which means busily transporting them around!  A relaxing Saturday will find me playing Lego with them, or as a treat going for pizza and a movie.

What is the one thing you couldn’t live without? Marmite, of course!

Where are you from and what do you miss most from home? I’m from a little village called Greens Norton in the county of Northamptonshire in the UK, which you’ve probably never heard of!  Its nearest neighbour is Silverstone, which is famous for Formula 1 GP races.  Of course I miss seeing friends and family as regularly as we used to do, however the use of Skype and all the myriad of ways to communicate make it very easy to keep in touch with people in the UK.