From the Master
I was struck this week by how far schools had changed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Reflecting on the impact of the disease with my fellow international school headteachers across Tianjin at a recent webinar hosted by the Tianjin European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC), it was fascinating to hear of the experiences of other school leaders in this challenging time. Throughout our discussion, it was clear that we had all been leading similar existences, albeit in very different types of schools. The pressures created by the new ways of teaching and learning, of preserving pupil and staff wellbeing, supporting families in lockdown and of managing the preparations for a return to physical schooling were all too familiar. All of us could now see light at the end of the tunnel, as more and more reopening dates are announced, but the length of that tunnel is not yet as easy to judge!
Equally, the changes brought about by the enforced physical closure of the schools will bring about lasting changes to the way schools operate. There will have to be improved online accessibility for pupils and parents; the status quo, whichever platform schools choose to use, needs to be reviewed and plans put in place to embrace new technologies. This will be easier for us as a Microsoft Showcase school, of course, but it still poses an exciting challenge for us all. One particular area of interest for me is to help our Nest team to develop further some really exciting teaching and learning resources for Early Years pupils over the coming months, for example. Flexibility around term dates, in the event of a similar enforced school closure, is another area of planning for school leaders, although with public examinations set at fixed dates around the world, the room for manoeuvre is not limitless. A third area for further thought is the recruitment of staff if travel restrictions continue to be imposed or become a recurring theme around the world. International schools rely on a network of global teachers, and any barriers to their ability to work overseas, whether through bureaucratic constraints or on-going concerns about health and safety, would present another potential headache for headteachers.
Schools and schooling, just as the rest of the world, will change in the coming months and years. Quite how far is yet to become clear, but if the work done since January 2020 is any guide, parents can be reassured that the schools in Tianjin are well-set to rise to the challenge.
REVISED HALF-TERM HOLIDAY DATES
14th/15th May 2020
As the school will reopen to pupils from Years 4 and above from Monday 18th May, we have decided to move our scheduled half-term break from 25th-26th May to 14-15th May. Wednesday 13th will see lessons as normal until lunchtime (12.35hrs), after which there will be online training for pupils who are scheduled to return to school on the 18th. This will include information about keeping them safe, as well as provide support on wellbeing from teachers and a chance to hear from older pupils about their experiences back in school. The session will conclude with time for questions from the children. Teachers from the Junior School will then have additional training time to help them prepare for the changes to the school since they were last on site. For pupils who are not engaged in the online training, buses will take them home at 12.45hrs and work for periods 4 and 5 will be set by their teachers.
School will then reopen on Monday 18th May and work through until the end of the school year.
MEET THE MASTER
The meet the Master slot is held online and open to parents of pupils in Years 12 and 13. If you would like to attend, please confirm via email with Ms. Emma Shi (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Wednesday 20th May. As ever, parents of children in other year groups are welcome to join the meeting.
FROM THE DEPUTY HEAD OF JUNIOR SCHOOL
Parent Teacher meeting video
The Junior School Parent-Teacher meetings have commenced and as part of our work to provide clear communication for our parental community, we have produced a series of videos. These can be found in each of the virtual classrooms. The purpose is to provide parents with clear information about what is coming up in their child’s learning over the next two months. There is a message from the Master, Deputy Head, subject leads and class teachers. We hope that parents find the videos useful as preparation for their child’s parent-teacher meeting, so that they can focus solely on the wonderful achievements of their child and their next steps for learning. From next term, these video clips will be subtitled to further aid communication.
FROM THE UNIVERSITY GUIDANCE TEAM
University Application Sessions
With the looming start of the 2020-2021 university application cycle, our university guidance team has set university application sessions tailored for our pupils applying to universities in different countries. We would like to invite all pupils and parents from Years 9-12 to attend these sessions – all the sessions will start at 1730hrs on the set date.
Please kindly find the detailed schedule below:
Monday, May 11th – US College application (Miss Luyi)
Tuesday, May 12th – UK University application (Mrs Sabio)
Monday, May 18th – Korean University application (Ms Kim)
Tuesday, May 19th – University application for Art students (Mr Batey)
Thursday, May 21st – CAD vs UK University application + Australian University application (Miss Luyi)
The sessions will be held in Teams – ‘2020 University Info Sharing Group’. All the pupils are in this group already. Please do not hesitate to send us an email before these sessions may you have any particular questions regarding university applications.
We currently have some volunteering opportunities available for our pupils from age 14 to 18. They will be helping with checking the body temperature, sending out COVID-19 flyers and picking up garbage in the Wellington community area. Please send Miss Luyi an email with your availability if you are interested in being a Wellington volunteer.
FROM THE HEAD OF EARLY YEARS
Another great week of learning from the Nest and we are very proud of the progress they have made!
As a continuation of their lesson about planting, the children are growing their own gardens.
Drawing their minibeasts and discovering them during a nature walk
Year 1 children retelling the story of ‘The Little Red Hen’ through their writing
FROM MRS PRENDI, YEAR 3
MasterChef Wellbeing Competition
Year 3 pupils produced some amazing healthy creations for Ms Ryan and Mrs Wood’s MasterChef Wellbeing Competition last week! The winners were Rita and Yoyo, who also recorded fabulous films about producing their healthy dishes.
FROM MS CHAPMAN, ENGLISH DEPARTMENT
Reader of the Week
The English Department is delighted to announce that this week’s Readers of the Week is:
Adam in Year 9, who was nominated by Mr Furse. Last week he read David Copperfield and Chapter one of The Hunger Games, in addition to reading The Woman in White in class.