While staff retention has been above average this year, it is important to note that we are saying goodbye to some of our most influential members of staff. Iain Ruck (Vice Principal), Kathy Weir-Davis (Head of Early Years) and Aidan Edmanson (Deputy Head of Secondary) have contributed a total of 24 years of service to BSG. I am sure that parents, staff and students you will join me thanking them for their impressive commitment and wish them all the best for their future careers.
Iain Ruck joined our school 8 years ago, as Deputy Head of Secondary. Iain served in this position for 2 years before taking over the Head of Secondary role where he oversaw 4 years of graduating students. Over the last 2 years, Iain has held the role of Vice Principal and has overseen our school improvement plan and curriculum development across all phases. Iain will be replaced internally by Garry Russell, our current Head of Secondary. Garry’s successor is currently Head of Secondary in one of the NAE schools in Qatar and before this was Deputy Head at Regents School in Thailand.
Interestingly, Kathy Weir-Davis was my first appointment to BSG when I joined in 2008 and has led our Early Years department for 10 years. Kathy and her family will be moving to Shanghai and will be replaced by Danielle McKenna who joins us from the Nord Anglia school in Beijing, where she is a part of the leadership team at the Sanlitun school.
Iain and Kathy are also key members of our Senior Leadership Team and have helped to define the vision and values that have underpinned the success of our school. I really cannot thank them enough for their impressive contribution to our school or for the support they have given me as colleagues and friends.
Aidan Edmanson, is another key member who has played such an instrumental part in the development of our Secondary school. Aidan is moving to the Nord Anglia school in Kuala Lumpur and we wish Aidan and his wife Amanda Boby the very best in their new positions and will look forward to hearing of their successes. Aidan will be replaced by Sarah Wadsworth an experienced Deputy Head who joins us from a successful international school in Egypt.
We also say goodbye to Andy Dean who has dedicated himself to developing our sports programme over the last 4 years. Andy is moving to another Director of Sport role in NAE’s school in Yangon and I am sure he will make an immediate impact on their sports programme. Andy will be replaced internally by Michelle Cuming who will continue to promote sporting opportunities for our students.
As well as saying goodbye to key members of staff I would like to recognise the exceptional first year of Chris Wathern, our Head of Primary. Chris joined us from a relatively small school in the UK and has adapted remarkable well to lead a team of over 40 teachers, who deliver an impressive curriculum to our Primary students. Chris and Selina, his wife, deserve a relaxing summer break.
The British School has come a long way since it was founded in 2005 and is now considered by many to be the number one international school in Guangzhou. We remain committed to making year on year improvements to facilities as we continue to work towards our stated goal of becoming the number one international school in China. I am proud to announce that in August we will open a new building that will provide our Year 1 students with dedicated facilities. This building represents another important step in providing our students with excellent educational opportunities.
As I write this article I am aware that one of our graduating students has received an unconditional offer from Chicago, one of the world’s top 5 universities, and that another graduate has been offered a conditional place at Oxford University. Amongst this year’s graduates are 6 students who are in their 7th or 8th year, while, Lynn Ma and Bianca Chainani are completing their 9th year. Unbelievably Bethany is now in her 10th year, and has been a credit to our school throughout this time. We wish all our graduating students the best of luck in achieving positions at their first-choice universities and will look forward to hearing news of their examination results during the summer holidays.
I would like to wish all parents and staff a relaxing and safe summer holiday, wherever you are travelling. I will be spending part of the summer holiday attending the wedding of my son Christopher who will be marrying Miss Barbara, one of our Y2 teachers. As you can imagine I am absolutely thrilled for them both and am very much looking forward to this event. I will return to Guangzhou in August in time to welcome our new teachers for their induction programme, on 7th August. We will look forward to seeing new students on Friday 17th August for their orientation day and to seeing all other students on Monday 20th August for the start of the new term.