“I knew it would be good but I didn’t know it would be this good. Your staff and students are amazing and they simply could not have done more for us”
“You have wonderful teachers and wonderful students. It is such a pleasure to come to a school like this”
What a fantastic way to finish a term! The two quotations above were said to me recently, the first by the Director of the UK National Space Academy, Anu Ojha OBE, and the second by The Curriculum Music Specialist at the Juilliard School in New York, Andrea Lee, as they finished their visits to the school. We have had two wonderful weeks, the first of which saw terrific masterclasses and a truly inspirational lecture on Space from the Academy, and then the launch of our ground-breaking Juilliard music collaboration, which starts in earnest in August 2016. The launch concert was probably the highest quality music event I have ever seen in a school. Both of these are long-term partnerships and I think will bring really exciting developments in the future.
Of course, they all go alongside what might be called the ‘day to day’, and in the last two weeks we have also seen:
- A two-day training in the latest thinking in the teaching of Modern Languages, including Mandarin, led by Dr Stephen Krashen, formerly of the University of Southern California, and an acknowledged world expert in the field;
- The stunning IB Visual Arts exhibition which most visitors, many of whom had also attended similar events in other schools, could not speak highly enough of;
- A truly spectacular Year 3 and 4 production which was a testament to the incredible hard work of teachers, teaching assistants and children over a long period of time;
- The Beijing Model United Nations team performing inspirationally at the event at the Crowne Plaza hotel;
- Some wonderful eggciting Easter eggstravaganzas culminating in the egg decorating and egg rolling competitions, and of course the Easter picnic with parents.
Personally, I think that the ‘day to day’ is genuinely inspirational, and it certainly inspires me every day as I walk through the doors. As parents, who sometimes have to deal with all the occasional trials and tribulations of our children, we don’t always see how wonderful and exceptional they are. As a teacher of, now 31 years’ experience, I just cannot say often enough that the children here at BSB are unlike any others – their commitment, pride and passion for what they do sets them apart. And they are nurtured in this by some very special parents and teachers indeed.
I sometimes wonder, as I reflect on my fortnightly updates to parents, whether they read as too promotional about all the great things that are going on, and I do sometimes have to write about more serious matters too, but it is hard not to be exicted when faced with such remarkable achievement.
We are, of course, about to enter the really serious part of the year as our IGCSE and IB students move towards their final examinations. They will need to work really hard over the Spring Break holiday – please bear with them when they get grumpy and please remember how stressful a time this is for them. A week of properly focused work for this one holiday will reap a truly rich reward when the results come out in the summer. And, judging by their latest progress checks, we expect the results to be excellent once again.
May I remind you that our programme of Wednesday morning workshops will continue after the holiday. The first week (April 6) will be a chance for Primary parents to have an informal meeting with our new Headteacher, Mrs Nonie Adams, who starts here in August. The second (April 13) will be a ‘Principal’s Update’ where I’d like to reflect back on the changes we have brought about in the past two years, update on future plans, and hear feedback and questions from parents. We will also be holding workshops on supporting your child through exams (also on April 6), the developments in music and the PIPS programme, and Primary English and Mathematics. Details will be published on the website and in school soon.
All that remains is for me is to alert you to the announcement below (for which we apologise but really think it is the right decision) and to wish you a lovely Spring Break holiday, whether you are enjoying the Beijing springtime or heading further afield.
With very best wishes
SUMMER FAYRE – CHANGE OF DATE
The date of the Summer Fayre (previously 15 May) is changing to Sunday 5 June.
We do our very best not to change dates once they are published but sometimes circumstances get in the way. We do apologise if this causes any problems to parents but it was in response to a number of issues that were occurring with 14 May, and which were not known about when we set our calendar, notably two other festivals in Beijing and the FOBISIA Music Teachers’ conference, both of which would have impacted hugely on the success of the event. We were already a little concerned as 14 May is at the beginning of Primary Residential Week and in a very busy month, and these other events made a change seem the sensible way forward.
Sunday 5 June works extremely well in the calendar – especially as it is only a three day week after that before the Dragon Boat Festival weekend.
This does mean sadly that those on the International Award expedition that weekend will miss the fayre, but I hope they will understand.
A lot more detail will come out after the Spring Break holiday.