The Week Ahead 26 April 2019

Dear parentsIt was great to see so many parents and FOW members attending our Festival of Education last week. The focus, as ever, was to get people – parents, teachers, education writers and researchers – discussing the future of education and thinking about the ways we would like to contribute to this debate. The response was very positive, and as we are already looking forward to next year’s event, it is worth revisiting some of the highlights of the 2019 programme. I am sure we will be able to accommodate more sessions in Chinese, and I would like to see further emphasis on the debates around wellbeing and challenging the most able, both hot topics in our school today.

One of the key parts of any event such as EdFest the ability to establish a meaningful legacy from the debate over the two days. It is little use to us as a school, or you as parents and friends of the College, for the ideas and excitement generated last weekend simply to dissipate over time, replaced by more immediate goals. Our purpose was to create a lasting impact upon the community, and it has come as little surprise to me that the group responding most enthusiastically to this idea of an EdFest legacy has been our pupils. If you were lucky enough to sit in on one of the talks given by Bee Gilbert, head of the arts-based charity project Anno’s Africa, you cannot fail to have been moved and inspired in equal part by her story of the charity’s purpose and on-going work with children from the slums of Nairobi. The tragic death of her son Anno in a car accident in 2001 prompted Mrs Gilbert to commit her time, energy and resources to establishing a foundation to give unique opportunities in arts-based education to some of the most deprived children on the African continent. By offering children the chance to experience choral music, ballet dancing, creative writing and other inspiring learning opportunities in disciplines previously closed to them, over 2500 children have gone on to benefit from her work. The response from our pupils and staff has been immediate, and Mrs Gilbert’s passionate and moving accounts have already inspired conversations about how our community can help to support the work done by Anno’s Africa.

This example, even in this embryonic form of collaboration, goes to the heart of good education. Young people have been galvanised into taking concrete steps to set up links with these children by the vision and commitment of an educator. They have taken the words of Mrs Gilbert and turned them into actions, establishing pen pal links with children in Kenya and Malawi. This is the secret to the deeper, more engaged ways of learning we talk so much about here at Wellington. Young people who have been inspired by their teachers, or by new ideas, become the makers of change in the world. In similar ways, we have groups of pupils engaged this week in the Tianjin Recycling and environmental Challenge (TReC), an initiative sponsored by the AmCham here in the city and supported by the US embassy and Tianjin Ministry of Environmental Protection. Their work in emphasising the need to recycle waste products such as paper and plastics has highlighted the importance of youth activism in projects aimed at benefitting society as a whole. The school also supports charitable projects for children in Tianjin, of course, and once again this year the focus of our giving at the Summer Fair (18th May) will be the Tianjin Ru Hui Autism Rehabilitation Centre. Our collaboration with them now stretches back four years, and whilst we have been able to provide them with a range of educational resources, they in turn have offered our pupils some invaluable insights into the world of autistic children and the ways they can be helped. Children treated at the Ru Hui Centre children have difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and exhibit repetitive behaviours, but they are also valued members of our diverse human family, and as such they have played a very important role in helping our pupils understand more about the world around them.

It is inspiring to hear of such stories of service-learning projects within our community, particularly as so many of them are driven by the passion and commitment of the pupils. This level of activism reflects on both the strength of their core values, but also on their determination to use the own educational advantages and the opportunities afforded to them by a Wellington education, to give something back to society. Such values and selflessness suggest that our young people will retain their high degree of social responsibility across their adult lives too, and at times such as these, I see a clear link with our shared past as global Wellingtonians. The annual award to the Head boy and girl at Wellington College in England, for example, bestowed by the monarch since 1859 and today known as the Queen’s Medal, gives this as part of the citation: “It is not beyond the power of any boy or girl to exhibit cheerful submission his superiors, unselfish good fellowship with equals, independence and self-respect with the strong, kindness and protection to the weak, and a readiness to forgive offences towards themselves and conciliate the differences of others, and above all a fearless devotion to duty and unflinching truthfulness. Those who display all or any of these qualities will have, so far, trod in the steps of the Great Duke.” This universal message encompasses much of what it means to be a Wellingtonian, and in the work of our pupils in their commitment to helping others, it is a message that has relevance well beyond a single school in England.

If you would like to know more about the work of Mrs Gilbert’s charity, you can find details on the website: http://www.annosafrica.org.uk/

 

Best wishes

Julian Jeffrey

MASTER

*REMINDERS*     

  • Wednesday 1st May is a public holiday and the school will be closed. We are, though, hosting the third annual Tianjin Youth Football Tournament on that day. Boys’ and girls’ teams will be taking part from the College, as well as host of local schools and club teams from across the city. Parents and friends are encouraged to come and support, although it is important to bring your id badge along for admission.
  • The Finance Office will shortly be sending out details of the school fees for 2019/20. These letters will be with you in the next few days.

MEET THE MASTER & BURSAR

Duke of York’s Room

1400hrs-1515hrs, Thursday

2nd May

This week, the Meet the Master and Bursar slot is aimed at parents of pupils in all year groups. If you would like to attend, please confirm via email with Ms. Emma Shi (emma.shi@wellingtoncollege.cn) by Tuesday 30th April.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Monday 29 April 2019

All Day

Week B

 

8:30AM – 9:30AM

FOW EAL (Beginners) (PF) (MB 235)

 

3:05PM – 3:45PM

Senior School Assembly (JMS) (Theatre)

Tuesday 30 April 2019

8:45AM – 10:00AM

FOW Pilates (ES) (Black Box)

 

10:15AM – 11:15AM

FOW Mandarin Class (ES) (MB 125)

 

5:00PM – 6:30PM

Junior School Parents’ Evening: Years 3, 4 and 6 (RA) (Main Building)

Wednesday 01 May 2019

All Day

May Day Holiday (to 2nd) (ES)

All Day

3rd Annual Tianjin Youth Football Tournament (EvK)

Thursday 02 May 2019

9:00AM – 10:30AM

FOW: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) (ES) (WCA Room)

 

9:00AM – 12:00PM

FOW Reading Group (ES) (MB 125)

 

10:45AM – 12:00PM

FOW: Yoga (ES) (Black Box)

 

2:00PM – 3:15PM

Meet the Master & Bursar: All parents (ES) (Duke of York’s room)

 

5:00PM – 6:30PM

Junior School Parents’ Evening: Years 3, 4 and 6 (RA) (Main Building)

Friday 03 May 2019

All Day

A Level Art examination (i) (MFC) (Main Building)

 

8:30AM – 9:00AM

Nest Assembly: Ramadan (DZ) (Theatre)

 

8:30AM – 9:30AM

FOW EAL (Advanced) (PF) (MB 231)

 

8:30AM – 11:00AM

FOW Art Class (KM) (MB 125)

 

8:45AM – 10:00AM

FOW Pilates (ES) (Black Box)

 

1:00PM – 3:30PM

ISCOT Football Years 2-6 (IST) (RG)

Saturday 04 May 2019

8:00AM – 12:00PM

College Board SAT examination (JMS) (Black Box)