Their lives are so very busy with academic commitments, ECA programmes, homework, musical, art and drama events, community and charity work; that it may actually take some time for them to process and truly appreciate all of the fantastic achievements that they have made in their time at the school so far this year. They also need time to think about how these experiences shape them as a person and impact upon their future life. Building these memories takes time, energy and a passion for challenging oneself and moving out of our ‘comfort zones’.
This has certainly happened in the last two weeks, and so I’d like to summarise these in order to give you a glimpse of the opportunities offered at BISS Puxi.
Our senior students returned at the start of last week after taking their Gold International Award Qualifier in Hangzhou – this included trekking, camping, kayaking, cycling, orienteering and cooking, always working in groups to support each other and accepting the challenges that they faced with grace and determination. Concurrently, our Year 10 and 11 students were camping in the school grounds as part of their Silver International Award practice, and developing their own orientation skills with some fun activities at Zhudi Park.
The same weekend allowed us to listen to some amazing musical pieces from our soloist performers. This included absorbing examination pieces for GCSE and IB students playing cello, violin and tympani drums, whilst the younger pupils wowed us with their singing, piano playing, drumming techniques and violin recitals.
Meanwhile, outside on the tennis courts, at the same time as the Rolex Masters finals played out in another part of Shanghai, our students competed in the SISAC Tennis Finals held here at the school. Moving back indoors to the sports hall, our senior girls enjoyed success in their SISAC Netball league matches. Over one hundred swimmers from our school teams took part in a ‘Swimvitational’ in Hongqiao, with many personal bests achieved, from students aged 8 to 18.
Last week, our students in Years 8, 9 and 10 took part in a two day Art Challenge at the school, moving from ideas and research into some creative masterpieces, based around inspiration drawn from musical installations. Do expect to see these on display in the Music learning environment.
On Friday, the whole school collectively donned their Tanzanian themed outfits and braved the soggy weather to raise money which will ultimately support projects in Arusha, where our students will travel to in January and take part in community service as part of their expedition experience. The brave Dutch community remained at school into the evening and throughout the night, with students and staff camping in the secondary Quad (despite the heavy rainfall), and enjoying a challenging and fun evening of games, whilst trying to stay dry!
The weekend saw more sporting action too, including our volleyball team in action at ACAMIS in Tianjin, returning with some silverware after an eventful journey back to Shanghai, including a diverted flight to Hangzhou late at night as the weather continued to play a role in events. However, their performance at the tournament was testimony to the style of play that has been adopted by the students throughout the season. We will continue to strengthen in this area.
In a short visit on Sunday morning, it was heartening to see our Key Stage 3 pupils practising their lines and pacing out their stage presence in the Auditorium as they rehearsed for our KS3 production “The Muppet Christmas Carol”.
So as you have read, there are many different ways to participate and challenge ourselves through the ECA programme. I’d like to thank you for encouraging your children to take part in all of the activities on offer at the school. I often see parents late into the evening supporting their children at the coaching sessions for sport. But finally, the praise should go to the pupils. They are tireless in their approach and they clearly recognise the value of practising techniques in rehearsals or training. These students are committed to both their ECAs and their academic studies and I commend them on their achievements. Our pupils are truly the embodiment of ‘Growth Mindset’, they are ambitious, they work hard and they achieve great things.
Andrew Lancaster, Head of Secondary