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An Update from our Principal - 11 Mar 2016

11 三月 2016

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Dear Parents

This is one of the easiest newsletters I have had to write, because there is simply one thing that has filled my mind this week and that is the sheer awe and wonder I experienced watching our students perform their rendition of ‘Return to the Forbidden Planet’ last Friday and Saturday. As I said at the performance, it was genuinely the best school show I can remember being involved with (and I have done a lot!) and it was an absolute honour to be part of the team with these quite exceptional young people. We know that our BSB students are special, and have a dedication to what they do that I have not seen in other schools, but I was truly humbled by their attitude of selfless commitment to produce something of such high quality. My thanks go to all of them, on stage and backstage, the huge numbers of colleagues who brought the show about, and the parents who supported us in so many ways. You may also be interested to know that the charity supported by the cast (to buy an electric wheelchair for a young man who desperately needs it) raised over 16,000 RMB from Chatterbox sales and donations – they are delighted and astounded by this level of support, for which they thank everyone deeply.

We have a busy few weeks ahead and I should like to remind you of some really great opportunities for you as parents, as well as for your children:

Saturday 12 March (11 am to 3 pm) – The Big Read - A wonderful event to celebrate reading with children and adults of all ages, along with musical, poetic and other performances.

Tuesday 15 March at 5 pm – ‘Space – So What?’ – an open lecture by the Director of the UK National Space Academy, Anu Ojha OBE, who is here as part of our masterclass programme with the Academy. He is a gifted speaker who I am sure will inspire adults and children alike. No need to book – just turn up on the night to learn more about space!

Friday 18 March (5 to 7.30 pm) – our IB Visual Arts Exhibition – I have seen some of the work that will be on show and it is simply stunning. Feel free to come and see what our talented artists achieve, and enjoy the exhibition with a drink and some canapés. The students would really appreciate your visit.

Monday 21 March at 6.30 pm – ‘Second Language Learning’ – an open talk by Dr Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus at the University of Southern California and an acknowledged world thought leader on language learning. Dr Krashen has published more than 486 papers and books, contributing to the fields of second-language acquisition, bilingual education, and reading. He is credited with introducing various influential concepts and terms in the study of second-language acquisition. Most recently, Krashen promotes the use of free voluntary reading during second-language acquisition, which he says "is the most powerful tool we have in language education, first and second." He is here at BSB to lead a two-day seminar with our Mandarin and Modern Language teachers and we warmly invite you to hear him speak.

Tuesday 22 March at 6.30 pm (for 7 pm) - An Evening of Music with Juilliard – a champagne reception and concert of high quality music to celebrate the launch of our partnership with The Juilliard School, the prestigious New York music school. Tickets are available from the Marketing Office – they are free of charge but we do need to know the numbers attending.

Annual school uniform review

It is also that time of year when we like to consult with parents on any changes we might propose to uniform at the school for the year ahead, and this year we are definitely considering some optional changes. Following feedback from parents and students, many of whom have quite strong feelings about this, I am happy to support the suggestion (if parents agree) that we should consider the following:

1.      In Winter girls might be able to wear trousers (of school uniform style purchased from the school uniform shop – we do not want to get into fashion items), whilst still retaining the option to wear the skirt and current winter uniform if they wish;

2.      In Summer girls could wear either item but we will once again consider the provision of ‘skorts’ (skirts with a short style inside) IF there is strong support for it;

3.      In Summer, boys of all ages might be able to wear tailored shorts (again only those purchased from the school shop) at all ages throughout the school, such as is common in countries in South East Asia and Australasia.

I do agree with the students that these changes might be more suitable for a school in the 21st century, especially given the climate we experience in Beijing (both summer and winter) but we are totally committed to remaining a smart, uniformed school and I would not wish to decide upon these without offering the chance for parental feedback. Please email me personally at with any thoughts you might have.

As I finish, I wish our students very well as some head off to the under 13 FOBISIA Sports Tournament in Bangkok, others to the FOBISIA Choral Festival in Jeju, others to the FOBISIA golf tournament in Kuala Lumpur, our talented mathematicians as they compete in the ACAMIS Mathematics Olympiad which we are hosting here at BSB, and our splendid (and biggest ever) Model United Nations team as they participate in the Beijing MUN. We always knew that March was going to be a busy month but this takes ‘busy’ to a new level.

With my very best wishes for the weekend and the coming week

Andy Puttock