After all the upheavals of the past 6 months, it is wonderful to be reunited with so many excited Wellingtonians at the start of the 2020/21 academic year. Pupils were greeted by the familiar faces of their teachers as they came through the gates, secure in the knowledge that the school and its grounds provide a safe and nurturing environment in which to thrive. The vast majority of the school’s 550 pupils will be able to receive in-person teaching from today, but for those still overseas, the school has a comprehensive e-learning programme in place so that every child can make a confident start to what promises to be another great year.
Pupils and teachers returned just as the school announced record-breaking public examination results for a fourth consecutive year. Mr Jeffrey, the Master, said, “the astonishing exam performances from our pupils in years 11, 12 and 13 are an inspiration to all Wellingtonians. Their success shows the entire community what can be achieved with hard work, a resilient spirit and the enduring support of skilled teachers. Our graduating class from 2019 can now look forward to genuinely life-changing opportunities at university and beyond, whilst those who follow in years 11 and 12 rightly have the highest academic ambitions.”
The school is determined to continue to offer the best possible all-round educational provision for its pupils. Oracy – the development of skills in self-expression – features heavily as the Year of Spoken Word is launched. This initiative seeks to help pupils learn to use spoken English with greater fluency and confidence and will be a focus for all age groups. ICT is another key part of the school’s progress. Wellington is China’s first international school to be awarded Microsoft Showcase status, and the this has given the teachers and pupils unrivalled access to Microsoft products, support and training. Allied to these measures in English and ICT, all pupils will continue to work on strategies to develop independence in learning, a longer-term research project shared with our sister school in the UK and the WCC Institute of Learning in Shanghai. Finally, the school’s bilingual early years’ centre, the Nest, sees the arrival of the hugely experienced Jan Bennett from the UK. Mrs Bennett has led a number of high-achieving schools in London and will now bring her passion and commitment to Tianjin to help the Nest on its journey to excellence in her role as Head of Early Years.
One of the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic is that parental access to the school site remains restricted. As a result, parent briefings, Meet the Master sessions and other weekly events will continue to be offered on the MS Teams platform, with recordings available for those parents who cannot join in real time.