After a couple of weeks when I have written you several pieces of quite ‘big news’ it is a great pleasure once again to update you on what is happening on a day to day basis here at BSB.
I have to say that I have never quite known a term, which has started so positively. The school is, as ever, a massively busy place – as students combine serious study with a lot of activity, be that in sport, the school production of ‘Wizard of Oz’, debating, music or drama. Before we know it, the Golden Week holiday will be upon us and then term just flies by. But the atmosphere around the school is amazing. As I do my daily walks around the building, the sense of purpose that comes from all our teachers and students is quite remarkable and, as I say, something even better than I have experienced before. I truly believe we will have a great year ahead as we strive to help your children achieve even greater heights.
We are of course just beginning our new initiatives with MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and The Juilliard School. Many of you visiting the school in recent days will have heard the music in the foyer, as we accustom our community to the twelve pieces that form the core of the Juilliard curriculum here at BSB – famous music pieces which make up the platform for deep exploration into the genres they epitomize. We will shortly receive our first visit this year from our Juilliard visiting scholar, and we are looking forward to at least two high quality concerts later in the year. In October, we will launch the first of our MIT challenges, which have been devised by senior academics at MIT to enable our students to best understand the skills and attitudes needed for the highest level of success in the world of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) in which MIT is, of course, a world leader.
Some of the best news for me, however, is at the air quality level of our buildings, because it impacts so strongly on our children’s safety. As you know, we have invested very heavily in recent years in air purification systems which have been extremely effective in making sure air quality is excellent in our classrooms. But last year, with the help of parents, we identified some of our larger spaces as still not meeting the highest standards we should expect. Despite the excellent purification, it was the actual sealing of the building which needed improving. We did this over the summer, with the replacement of windows and doors, and the installation of pressure zones in the entrances, and last week we had the first chance to test these against bad pollution. Over three days when the average PM2.5 outside the building was 245, and on days when the school was in full operation with the usual comings and goings, we measured the following in the main school areas:
Main foyer (our busiest through area) - 22
Gym - 11
Secondary first floor corridor - 15
Early Years classroom and corridor - 10
We are very pleased indeed with these figures. Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children, and I am delighted that we appear to have finally got the building functioning in such a way as to guarantee this, even on the worst days. We will of course continue to monitor the readings on good and bad days, and make sure you receive the results on a regular basis.
I’m also delighted to report that the gardening works outside the school are now nearing completion. As you know, the concerns many parents had that the electricity cables might be of higher power than before have not come true – they are the same power but a lot further away. But we were anxious that they were still very ugly, and the gardening works have certainly helped in this respect. As with the air pollution, we will continue to take regular readings just to make sure there is no change at all in this power situation.
As we continue through the term, there are so many things to fill your diaries, so please do keep looking in the ‘Parent Essentials’ section of the website to keep up to date with our calendar of events, notably:
- International Day
- The Wizard of Oz
- ACAMIS and FOBISIA sports tournaments hosted at BSB
- Another series of masterclasses (this time for primary school) and an evening lecture for students and parents by the UK National Space Academy – one of the highlights of the year last year
- Our regular curriculum workshops on Wednesday mornings
- PA meetings and regular outings
- Christmas Fayre and German Market
I look forward as ever to meeting as many of you as possible at these events. Meantime, as it is a regular newsletter next week, may I take this opportunity of wishing you personally a very happy and restful National Holiday and Golden Week (school is closed from 1-9 October).
With my very best wishes