10 June, 2022

My two years at TBS Warsaw

I began my career with Nord Anglia in Ho Chi Minh City, continued my journey to BIS Hanoi, and arrived in Warsaw two years ago.

Starting as the Principal at TBS Warsaw — the very first school in the Nord Anglia family — was an exciting prospect. After opening its doors 30 years ago, we’ve grown into a thriving community of 1,050 students. Since day one the school has been dedicated to nurturing students to become happy, confident, and successful leaders who leave us with the skills and confidence to pursue their interests and passions in life. I am very proud of our students who really are a generation that will change our world for the better.

Unfortunately, my start to life at TBS Warsaw coincided with the Covid pandemic. Due to students learning in virtual mode and parents being excluded from our campuses, getting to know our community at first was a challenge. As we emerge from these restrictions, I am delighted to say that we are now hosting a vast array of events and activities and TBS Warsaw is once again a dynamic and vibrant campus.

To give you a sense of where we are today, we are currently holding a student-led three-day Model United Nations event on campus that is being attended by over 120 students from across numerous schools both in Warsaw and beyond. Our Year 5 and 6 students have returned from their week-long residential camps, sports days are in mid-flow, and musical performances are filling the calendar.

We were also able to hold our formal Year 13 graduation in person three weeks ago, on 20 May, and I was filled with pride and admiration for our resilient and hardworking students who went through a difficult learning period over the last two years. At our ceremony we celebrated 74 graduates, with 12 of those having started with us in the Early Years. Anna Clunes, British Ambassador to Poland, even gave an inspirational speech at the ceremony. I’d like to also say a heart-felt thank you to our teachers and IBDP team for tirelessly supporting our graduates through their journey.

CELEBRATING THE QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBILEE

The cloudy but warm day last Saturday was the perfect setting for our traditional British Fair to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Our community relished the opportunity to lounge on deckchairs and listen to live music, have photos taken with Her Majesty and the corgis, chance their luck on the tombola or bounce on a huge, inflated slide. There was something for everyone, including competing against a world-renowned chess champion, entering a cupcake competition, or just enjoying the tasty food on offer. I would like to thank all our colleagues involved in making this event so successful. The PTA were our heroes once again as their stall providing strawberries and cream was an enormous success.

SUPPORTING UKRAINIAN REFUGEES IN WARSAW

Poland has now welcomed over three million refugees from Ukraine and our thoughts remain with members of our Nord Anglia community who have friends and relatives affected by the humanitarian crisis. Many of our families have opened their homes to refugees and their kindness and generosity has been inspirational.

At the start of the crisis in February, our community team had a few meetings about how we could best help. We were focussed on creating a truly meaningful school project that had longevity. The outcome was the launch of the ‘Saturday Community Connections Club’.

It’s a fantastic support programme that hosts weekly meetings to provide Ukrainian refugee families with a safe haven and a place to connect with others. The volunteer programme offers fun activities for children, child-care, and mental health support for adults, as well as hot meals and donations. Our programme has just received US$50,000 in funding from Nord Anglia’s Charitable Giving Grants. These funds will certainly help sustain and further grow our programme.

I’d like to say thank you to our amazing student project leaders, including Anna, Isabel, and Max who, in collaboration with our passionate staff leaders, Mr. Halpin, Ms. Sawday and Ms. McElhill are really making a difference. Each week sees our club reach new heights and through liaison with external organisations our community club goes from strength to strength.

We are aware that the summer break is fast approaching, with this in mind we are organising future events which include a BBQ, a pop-up music event, and trips to a local theme park called Majaland. We’ve even managed to offer places at a number of summer camps along with courses provided by a local language school for Polish lessons.

We’re now in the 11th week of the Saturday Club, and we’ve been told by our Ukrainian friends that we’re making a real difference in their lives and that’s what matters most. The donations we’re making across Nord Anglia are also making a big difference to the Ukraine humanitarian crisis. As a reminder, like us you can also donate via UNICEF’s campaign in addition to any school community programmes you’d like to run.

Thanks for reading my message this week. I hope it gives you a sense of life at The British School Warsaw.

Best regards,

Sue Hill

PRINCIPAL