The Week Ahead 27 October 2016


Dear Parents,

The Council of International Schools (CIS) Accreditation Team shared their draft evaluative feedback with all staff last Friday afternoon, at the end of their seven-day Visit.  CIS, at this stage, preface their feedback with the word ‘draft’ because the finally confirmed report, along with recommendations made and the CIS decision concerning Accreditation, must come from CIS Head Office.  The timescale for this is over the next 4 to 8 weeks.  So we bear this point carefully in mind in communicating the general trend of the draft feedback, understanding that the finalised wording and content of the draft report can still be modified. 

The Team’s provisional feedback is that Wellington College International Tianjin is a good school, which has now developed the capacity for excellence, and, as part of Wellington College China, has very high aspirations.  Draft Commendations were received in the areas of: College Mission and Vision; Teaching and Learning; Governance and Leadership; EAL provision; a warm and supportive School culture; our ASA programme; and School displays.  Draft Recommendations for improvement were received in the areas of: the College’s definition of internationalism and interculturalism; increased links between the different (age-range) phases of the College; processes for Special Needs referrals; and some non-academic operational systems. 

We greatly value all the objective, constructive draft feedback we have received from CIS, as an international community of well over a thousand schools and universities, from 112 countries across the globe, all committed to the highest standards of education.  We now much look forward to sharing with parents the confirmed conclusions of our finalised CIS Report, when we receive this in the coming weeks.  Suggestions for improvements not already in our School Development Plan (SDP) will be considered accordingly. (Our SDP also received a draft commendation).  

The last week has been a very special period for the School.  Whilst our CIS feedback is naturally the whole-school headline for this week, we have also seen several superb events in School, as anyone who attended these will testify.  Last Thursday evening an outstanding instrumental concert took place in the Seldon Theatre which included a tremendous debut performance by our School Orchestra. Junior School pupils played a significant role in this, on a day when Years 3 and 4 had also presented splendidly to parents on their Milepost Topic Exit Point.  Following these events, the last three nights have featured an outstanding student drama production of ‘Two’ in the Black Box Theatre.  There was great appreciation from the audience of the excellent quality of the performances from the highly committed and dedicated cast. Finally, we also hosted a terrific community football tournament here last week-end, which included a Wellington staff side amongst ten visiting squads from the Tianjin region, and we raised in excess of 3800RMB for local breast cancer charities, in our special ‘Pink Day’ last Friday.  As ever, there is more to come, as you can read further in this edition of ‘The Week Ahead’. 

Many thanks indeed to the whole school community for your continued commitment to the College, we should feel very proud of what we have achieved together thus far, and look forward to even more success ahead’

With best wishes to all our Wellington families. 

Michael Higgins,

I spend a good deal of my time talking to pupils who have made mistakes in their relationships with others. Sadly, in many of these conversations, the word that almost inevitably recurs is ‘bullying’. All the data we have gathered over the past two years suggest that bullying is not a major concern for our pupils – over 95% of pupils surveyed in 2015 reported that they felt safe at school and felt that the school dealt well with incidents of bullying – but all schools can face ugly moments when peer relationships break down. As we approach our annual anti-bullying week (7th -11th November), I thought I would take this opportunity to clarify some of our procedures for dealing with difficult situations.

Our anti-bullying policy obviously works to eradicate all forms of unpleasant behaviour, but perhaps our most important role as educators comes in the aftermath of an incident. It is at this stage that emotions are at their most raw, and both the victims and the perpetrators of bullying behaviour need the school to help them understand what has broken down, and, significantly, how this can be repaired. At this point, it is important to note that we do not refer to ‘bullies’ in school. This stigmatises children unnecessarily – no child has such fixed behaviour – and instead we talk about ‘bullying behaviour’. It is at such moments that we use a policy of ‘restorative justice’, a model that helps us as a learning community address issues of behaviour. Restorative justice seeks to help all those involved rebuild their trust in one another and to strengthen relationships. By facing up to their bullying behaviour, children who have hurt in others are forced to understand the damage such behaviour has caused. At the same time, children who have fallen victim to bullying behaviour have the opportunity to rebuild their self-confidence and establish stronger, healthier relationships with their peers.

A 2011 report by the University of Cambridge noted that, “restorative approaches are value–based and needs–led. They can be seen as part of a broader ethos or culture that identifies strong, mutually respectful relationships and a cohesive community as the foundations on which good teaching and learning can flourish. In such a community young people are given a lot of responsibility for decision-making on issues that affect their lives, their learning and their experience of school.” At Wellington, the emphasis is very much on our core values – courage, integrity, respect, kindness and responsibility. We seek to educate our young people that leading healthy, fulfilled lives beyond school means confronting challenges and dealing openly with difficult issues. In this way, they are better prepared for lasting friendships and mutually respectful relationships.

The school is going to be running some information sessions on restorative justice over the coming months. If you would like to know more about this programme, please do come along to one of these briefings.

SEAL LECTURE                                     
Black Box
Friday 4th November

Mr Lewis will deliver a briefing to parents on our Social and Emotional Learning (SEAL) support programme. This lecture will be delivered in English and Korean; a version in English and Chinese will be delivered on Friday 11th November.

PARENTS’ EVENING                                                            
Tuesday 1st November

There is a Parents’ Evening from 1700-1830hrs on Tuesday 1st November for all parents of children in Year 13 (IB and A Level streams). There will be an opportunity to discuss progress in these crucial stages of the IB Diploma and A level programmes as well as set goals for each pupil.

PARENTS’ LECTURE                                             
Black Box
Friday 4th November

Next Friday, there will be a lecture for the parents in the Black Box from 1700hrs-1800hrs. The topic is How to be a good parent with International visions. It will cover the relationship between the family and school, the transitions of educational perspectives and approaches from local schools to an International school. It will be delivered in Chinese and all mandarin-speaking parents across the whole school are welcome to attend.
This is a series of parental lectures, open to the public. We will invite Chinese and foreign experts in education and parents of successful students in our school to share and discuss a range of parenting topics monthly.
A reservation is required, please email: