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Meet our International Head of Primary

The teaching psychologist Howard Gardner once said that every child is a unique individual with untapped wisdom and potential. We respect the uniqueness of each primary student and offers ample opportunities to develop their personality, so as to contribute to their overall development.

Primary learning stage also plays an important role in students' lifelong learning journey. Students need to make solid and long-term preparations including learning styles, habits and attitudes. At NACIS Shanghai, we believe that a holistic education approach that focuses on the uniqueness of each child will cultivate well-rounded global citizens.


Mr. Ian Hopkins has Joined NACIS community as international head of primary since the beginning of the new academic year. He has been working in education industry for nearly 23 years. We believe that his faith and passion for education will bring new strength to the NACIS primary.


With a wealth of teaching and management experience, Mr. Ian gained his National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) in 2006, and subsequently went onto lead three primary schools in the UK as Headteacher in the following 8 years.


In 2014, Mr. Ian moved to Jordan with his family where he started a new and challenging journey.  Whilst in Jordan he has led several teams, the school counselling team which together with the Principal they developed from scratch, the Inclusion team which comprises of our EAL department, Occupational Therapist, Speech and Language, and a team of Learning Support Assistants. In the past two years, they have been nominated three times for International School of the Year. He led ICS through it first CIS accreditation in 2018 and in 2019 he completed his Peer Accreditation training for COBIS.  In 2020 they were the only school in the world to be nominated for more than one category. It was in the category of Inclusion that we were announced winners for 2020.


With excellent management ability, Mr. Ian was appointed Acting Principal at ICS and he has been committed to creating personalized learning experience for global students. Through utilizing the expertise in the use of aptitudinal and attitudinal student-level data he has ensured that diagnostic and assessment tools are fully exploited to meet the needs of the students. We believe that Mr. Ian's valuable experience in various fields will be better applied to the operation and teaching management of the NACIS primary.

The year 2020 is certainly special, and so is the start of Mr. Ian's trip to China. Although Mr. Ian was temporarily unable to come to school during the isolation period, he started his orderly work in a different way to know more about the operation of the NACIS primary.


In daily remote work, Mr. Ian participated in various teaching, research and management meetings and gained his own understanding of NACIS primary. He said: “NACIS Shanghai is a very unique school with both similarities and differences from the schools I have previously worked in. The biggest difference by far is the fact that at NACIS we have the co-teaching model of national and international teacher. This means that we not only take into account both national and international perspectives while making decisions on curriculum creation, evaluation, professional development and expanded learning opportunities, but also create a truly bilingual education environment for our students.”


As you are aware that Ms. Gu Wenxiu has joined us as national head of NACIS Primary since its founding. She has a deep understanding of the growth and development of our school, as well as solid experience in the implementation of our educational philosophy. Regarding the expectation and planning for the new academic year, Ms. Gu Wenxiu said:

Education should focus on the growth of each child in any type of school. It is important for educators to know "what kind of person we are going to cultivate”. As the world changes, education cannot be separated from the social development. NACIS aims to cultivate the next generation of China and the world. During the educational practice, we should respect children’s personality, family demand and cultural background. Meanwhile, we need to develop their comprehensive abilities and preparing them well for future world, including the international understanding, language skills, creative expression, critical thinking and team spirit, etc.


All the founding families remember that we offer a distinctive bilingual, blended curriculum learning programme, which is also the impetus for NACIS Primary to make continuous progress based on following the progressive blend of core elements of the Shanghai National Curriculum. In the new academic year, we have launched optimization programs in various aspects, including curriculum teaching, development of students, faculty building and cultural integration. We are committed to implementing our vision every day, seeing changes in teachers and results in children. In the future, we will gradually launch " workshops" to share the progress with you. We believe that our teachers and students will grow together with the school through continuous normative implementation, leading theme research, innovative projects and close home-school collaboration.


As a team, Mr. Ian, Ms. Sue (national head of primary), Ms. Samantha (deputy international head of primary) and Mr. Kris (deputy national head of primary) have forged an excellent working relationship, working together to ensure that our students have the high-quality learning resources, continue to develop their learning experience and grow into a future leader with a truly international vision.


The uncertainty of COVID-19 will be a major challenge in the future. For this, Mr. Ian said: “the epidemic has disrupted what we would normally be able to do. Everyone is trying to adapt to the new work pace and pattern. For me, starting a new school year and not being there in person to meet and greet our students and the members of our teaching team has not been an easy thing to swallow.”


Therefore, Mr. Ian is really looking forward to meeting everyone at school next week, have a face-to-face communication with students and parents, and immerse himself into the culture of our wonderful school. This is also the original intention for him to join NACIS Shanghai. He said: “The uniqueness of the bilingual environment at NACIS impressed me most. I am eager to experience the culture of the east as O continue my international journey in education. As a Headteacher, I am a teacher at heart and have very much enjoyed being part of the learning journey and will enjoy very much sitting in and working alongside the primary teachers. I will encourage our national and international teachers to inspire each other and create a truly bilingual learning environment. More important, I will also improve myself and continue my own lifelong learning journey.”


We welcome Mr. Ian to join the NACIS community and expect that he leads the primary team to draw on the best of Chinese and international learning styles, build up an energetic learning community and create a more dynamic bilingual learning environment, so as to inspire students’ potential and help them start their lifelong learning journey.