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Our Principal Writes: Parental Engagement

06 februari 2015

A school like any other large organisation is a structure that allows human relationships to develop and flourish between staff and students, between colleagues and between home and school. Parental engagement, and by that I am referring to active participation at school and at home in the students’ learning process, is what we hope to facilitate.

  • Kevin Foyle presenting Principal's Commendations to students at the British International School Shanghai, Puxi

The first half of term has featured a wide variety of opportunities for parental engagement across the age range. We are always keen to have parents come in and learn more about what we teach and perhaps most importantly how we teach it. On Monday I did a review of the first month of the new term and identified no fewer than 21 different opportunities for parents to come in and get engaged, ranging from the IB Information Evening and the Clive Leach Resilient and Resourceful Young People sessions, through to the launches of the various Key Stage 2 Themed Learning topics, to the Key Stage 1 New Parents’ Literacy and Numeracy Workshop, and Early Years Cubs’ Coffee Morning. We are very grateful to all of the parents who attended the various sessions and for the overwhelmingly positive feedback that we have received on the value of these workshops and information events.

There were five more this week, including the primary and secondary Parents’ Representatives Meetings. Our Parent Representatives are a particularly impactful group of parents who act as our critical friends and who have, over the years, helped us to fine tune a number of new policies and operating systems in our regular meetings. In these groups we do try to maintain a balance of nationalities and age group representation, so we are always looking for parents to join these groups to support us with our work and on-going progression. If you have a little bit of time and would like to be involved, please get in touch at principal-puxi@bisspuxi.com

During the Primary Parents’ Representatives Meeting a parent raised the level of illness at school. It has been high since Christmas but I can assure you the same has been true at other international schools across the city. We work hard to reduce the impact of the multitude of germs that inevitably return with students from all over the world after the Christmas break. We are vigilant with regards to children arriving who are clearly not well or who exhibit symptoms of contagious childhood ailments and we have a strong focus on the work of the cleaning staff. We also do a good deal of work on the importance of hygiene with students through our programme of Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education. Unfortunately, this year the international schools’ population in Shanghai has been blighted by some particularly virulent bugs. Thankfully the worst of it seems to have passed.

On a brighter note it has been a joy this week to see the hard work of students rewarded with a large number of Principals’ Commendations for tracker grades and for a variety of noteworthy academic work and performances. The successful hosting of the ACAMIS basketball tournament was a credit to the PE and Sports staff and the double success of our boys and girls basketball teams ended a hugely successful season for the two squads. The BISS Has Got Talent Competition in aid of the Nordstar community service work in Tanzania was also a great success and a good example of the inventive approach the Year 9 and 10 students have taken to the raising of money for this event. Finally, we are currently experiencing 10 Days of festivities in celebration of the Chinese New Year and we look forward to these festivities culminating in our Chinese New Year Celebration performance by both students and parents on Wednesday 11 February.

All in all there has been much to celebrate and enjoy during these last few weeks.

- Kevin Foyle, Principal