I would like to extend a very warm welcome to all our Wellington families for the start of another school year. Last year saw the College continue to surpass all expectations in terms of growth and pupil achievement, and it is with a great sense of anticipation that we embark on a year which will end by signalling the 10th anniversary of the school’s establishment here in Tianjin. You will not be surprised to learn that the staff has been hard at work since the start of August, preparing the school, its classrooms and facilities for the arrival of almost 600 pupils this week.
Raising pupil achievement at all levels lies at the heart of an education with Wellington. I am committed to fostering an unashamedly academic ethos which seeks to offer every child a pathway towards both examination success and personal fulfilment. We understand that engaged, intrinsically motivated young people make the most successful learners; parents and pupils can be safe in the knowledge that emotional wellbeing, personal safety and life skills are all inextricably linked with their everyday learning. In this way, education becomes a partnership between the school and its community of parents and children, each composite part playing a role in ensuring that every child reaches his or her full potential. Our recent A Level and IGCSE results have smashed all previous records, with even the most ambitious targets for Years 11, 12 and 13 exceeded by a considerable margin. We are still waiting for the final results to come through from the UK, but once we have them all, you will be able to see the scale of the achievement of those pupils. This will mean that, for the third consecutive year, the school will have broken its own record for examination success, but more importantly, it means that these young people will have significantly improved their life chances in terms of university admission and employment.Of course, recognition for such outstanding results should rest with the students who worked so hard to achieve them, but without the support of their teachers, much of the scale of this success would be impossible. We have a very committed teaching staff, marked out both by their commitment to a Wellington education, but also their years of hard work in Tianjin. The boost to them that these results represent is another source of great satisfaction to me. Colleagues who worked so selflessly to support all our examination candidates last year are now able to reflect on the achievement of their pupils and, for any teacher, nothing is better than watching their pupils celebrating success.Inevitably, as with any school, we have new staff joining us this year. They each bring with them a wealth of British and international teaching experience, as well as the fresh energy and ideas they can bring to the classroom. You will of course meet your child’s teachers very soon, but for the sake of completeness, this is the list of our new staff:NestNursery: Mrs Zelda RyanNursery TA: Mrs Suri LiuReception: Ms Emily LathamYear 1: Mrs Dorothea BilesYear 1 TA: Ms Winnie ZhaoJunior SchoolYear 2: Ms Mary RyanYear 3: Mrs Mary PrendiYear 4: Ms Erin WilloughbyYear 5: Mr Craig RowarkYear 6: Ms Myfanwy HollywellSenior SchoolHistory: Mr Ben HazellEnglish: Mr Joe BoltonEnglish Language: Mr David FursePhysics: Mr Erastus GitataPE: Mr Shaun BanhamSchool nurse: Zoe ZuoIn addition, I am delighted that we have a new senior educator joining the Junior School as Deputy Head. Mrs Melissa Meyers has moved to Tianjin from New Zealand, where she has most recently been the head teacher of a primary school. As well as working closely with Mr Ali, she will reinforce the quality of teaching and learning in the Junior School and support the core initiatives in literacy. Her experience and expertise will significantly enhance the leadership capacity of that section of the school.In terms of internal changes, Mrs Song is the new Nursery teacher; Mrs Wood takes on an expanded role within wellbeing; Mr Roundell is the new leader on safeguarding and pastoral matters; Ms Wei will run the International Duke of Edinburgh programme; Mrs Iddison is the new Housemistress of the Stanley and Mrs Gater is the teacher responsible for staff training. In English language acquisition, we have introduced a new streamlined structure for leadership, with Mrs Arden in charge of the strategic work of this core team, Mrs Dong becoming Senior School coordinator and Ms Romer continuing her work in the Junior School. Mr Traber is the Key Stage 5 coordinator, working with the 6th Form team, and Ms Shen is the new Key Stage 3 leader. In the Junior School, Mr Forster will lead on KS1 literacy, Ms Hayhurst will be in charge of the numeracy programmes, Mrs Montoya takes over as Milepost 2 lead and Mr Cameron moves to Milepost 3. Mr Ali, of course, has stepped up to be Second Master as well as Head of the Junior School, and as a result, you will find that he now leads on a number of high-profile school-parent events this year.The staff body is not the only thing that has been reinforced over the summer. Our buildings and estate have also undergone some significant work, with projects such as the Nest outdoor learning area, completion of the internal fresh air system and a major part of the 3-year schoolwide painting project all completed. You may also notice the improvements to the 6th Form centre, with its new seminar room and a new meeting facility, accommodated in Room 113. The latter replaces the old WCA room on the second floor and provides us with a more convenient and accessible space to hold meetings for small groups. Keeping your children safe in our school remains our top priority, of course, and to that end you will notice two new features which have been installed over the summer. The first is the new security house, situated at the Yide Dao entrance. This facility allows us not only to control access to the estate more carefully, but also affords a secure waiting area for visitors to the school. The second is the introduction of facial recognition technology to record the arrival of visitors to the school. Staff, pupils and parents with id cards will not be impacted, but we will use the system to register all new arrivals to the school and to confirm identities.It is my aim, as you spend time in the school, speaking to teachers, sitting in the theatre, attending open mornings or sports’ fixtures, that you are able to sense the open, purposeful atmosphere of the school. We seek to build a dialogue with all our stakeholders, and thus open and timely communication with the school is a priority for us. There is an exciting development in the realm of communication due to be unveiled in January, but in the meantime, I would urge any parent with a question or concern to contact the school as soon as possible in order to resolve any uncertainty. The new school diary for the Michaelmas term will be sent home this week. This has been updated to highlight the most significant events and dates across the school year, as well as provide parents with the contact details for key staff. Finally, I would like to remind all parents that the Friends of Wellington (FOW) exists to offer our adult community a chance to meet and enjoy participating in a shared pastime or activity. There are classes available in yoga, Pilates, English language and art, as well as traditional Chinese medicine. Every parent is automatically a member of the FOW, so these programmes are available to all – contact details for the organisers are provided in our Week Ahead, which in turn is published via WeChat and email.There is so much to look forward to this year for your child at Wellington – far more, in fact, than I could adequately do justice to in this letter – so I will simply conclude by issuing you all with a warm standing invitation to our school events and activities. In this way, by supporting your child and engaging actively with the school, we can help to ensure that your child enjoys a wonderful year of learning.Best wishes