Welcome to this last edition of the Week Ahead for 2020. Next week, parents will receive an end of term letter, reviewing the highlights of the past three months as well as publishing several key advance dates for 2021.
I wrote last year about the power of creativity in education. The learning experiences of a child studying music, art, drama or design can be genuinely transformative, embedding not only knowledge but also developing such crucial skills as independence, problem-solving and critical thinking. A child's time at Wellington encompasses all these skills as creative subjects feature heavily in the timetable across all year groups. I am sure that our goal of nurturing inspired young people comes in large part from their exposure to such subjects. Every child has the chance to perform on stage, or exhibit work, during their time in school. One of my biggest regrets about the impact of the school closure in February and March was that performances, including that of our musical, could not be staged and we were not able to have our annual art and design exhibitions.
As a result, I am sure that parents will join me in welcoming the end of term shows next week. The gradual reopening of the school to parents and visitors, although still closely monitored and limited, means that we are finally able to host families in significant numbers for the Christmas productions over the coming days. Hundreds of Wellingtonians will take to the stage to perform songs, poems, dances and ensembles, and for the first time in almost 12 months, we will be able to share these live with parents.
As I wrote last year, the benefits to children of creativity in their education are long-established. Subjects such as music, art, design and drama are no mere luxurious add-ons. A recent British report on the impact of Covid-19 on music in schools found that "beyond the intrinsic value of studying music for its own sake, there is a plethora of evidence that studying music builds cultural knowledge, creative skills and improves children's health, wellbeing and wider educational attainment." At the same time, 68% of primary school teachers reported a decline in music in schools, with one in ten schools offering no music at all. Singing has ended in more than a third (38%) of primary schools, and instrumental lessons have ceased in almost a quarter (23%). These results indicate another of the hidden, corrosive impacts of the pandemic and the subsequent disruption to schooling around the world. Children who are restricted in their access to creative subjects lose out on a world of learning which has not only cognitive but social and emotional consequences.
The performances in the end of term shows will be recorded and distributed to parents so that even if you cannot attend in person, you will be able to share in the talent of these pupils. The shows will be a fitting end, not just to the term, but also to the limitations we have been forced to place on such events as we look to end 2020 on a much-needed high point.
We are rapidly approaching the last four days of term. The Nest children continue to work hard right up to the very end. In fact, they have worked so hard we have decided it is time to give the children a few treats.
On Wednesday 16th December, it will be 'wear your pyjamas to school day' –all staff and children will be able to wear their PJs and have a cosy, relaxing day. During the day, they will come to the library for a very special bedtime story and a sweet treat to eat and drink while they relax and listen to a wonderful story.
Also, on the 16th, it is the Christmas Bazaar. This year, for the first time, some of the children from the Nest will be performing on stage at the Bazaar. The reception and year one children will be on stage from 1445hrs to entertain the families who are attending the Christmas Bazaar. Please go and give them your full support. All classes have been very busy making Christmas goods to sell on the day. Please come along to the nest stall and pick up something that will sparkle and shine for years to come!
A quick reminder that there are no ASA clubs next week, and on the last day of term, Thursday 17th December all Nest children will finish at 1445hrs.
Can I ask everyone to check TChat regularly as all the class teachers will give you updates and reminders to help you all get through the very busy last 4 days of term.
The children in the Nest have worked so hard and put in lots of effort all term. They have risen to every challenge and made me proud every day. I decided to write to Santa to see if there was any way we could reward all their hard work. I am delighted to say we will have a very special visitor on Thursday, all the way from the North Pole!!! I know the children will enjoy meeting our special guest. I hope he may even have a little gift for them.
The staff team in the Nest wish you all a Merry Christmas, and hope you have a wonderful, safe holiday. We look forward to welcoming you all back on Monday 4th January 2021.
Nest Pyjama Day
Wednesday 16th December
On Wednesday 16th December we invite the children and staff to come to school in pyjamas! There will be bedtime stories in the library with nightlights, hot chocolate, and cookies. There really is no better way to listen to a bedtime story. We hope you all join in the fun, but maybe add an extra layer underneath as we will be going outside to play too.
The first term seems to have flown by so quickly and before we know it, Christmas is fast approaching! The Music Department and pupils always get into the festive spirit every year way before the rest of the school, as preparation for various Christmas performances starts as early as September. The Christmas Concert provides a genuine performance opportunity for our young musicians to showcase their musical achievements. We look forward to seeing many of you on the day!
Buses have been arranged to drop off pupils at Yanlord, Aocheng and Meijiang after the dress rehearsal on Monday 14th December and the concert on Tuesday 15th December. There will be a bus monitor on board to supervise them.
FROM THE DEPUTY HEAD OF THE JUNIOR SCHOOL
Junior School Christmas Show
We enjoyed a wonderful focused time on drama previously, culminating in our first rehearsal on stage for our Junior School Christmas Show. It is called the Winter Show and tells the story of two children experiencing the wonder of winter. It is fabulous to have these opportunities to showcase the talent of our pupils. Please put the Winter Show performance in your diaries for 1300hrs on Wednesday 16th December in the Seldon Theatre. We look forward to welcoming you all back into school for this event, although, as a precaution, we are limiting the numbers to two adults per family. Please show your green code and parent id card at the gate to enter.
FROM MR ROGERS, THE EDFEST DIRECTOR
Announcing the Festival of Education 2021
Live Festival: Saturday 17th April in Tianjin
Virtual Festival: 18th-23rd April 2021
This year's Festival of Education will feature speaking engagements with thought leaders in education. A series of presentations, workshops and panel discussions will explore the latest ideas in progressive education. The event is designed to provoke questions, stimulate thought, and initiate dialogue about the challenges faced by education in the very near future and beyond. And all this will be supported with sessions from our usual strands of enquiry to help shape an occasion that is tailor-made for teachers, educators, parents of all children and indeed anyone with an interest in education. It's a festival designed to be progressive and purposeful, and at the very cutting edge of current thinking about education. The festival includes both our Wellington and our Huili communities, with sessions in English and Chinese.
Live Festival of Education
Saturday 17th April – Tianjin
Pre-sale tickets are now available,
scan the QR code to book your tickets soon!
Virtual Festival of Education
Sunday to Friday 18th – 23rd April
(Our virtual events are open to all)
Scan the QR code to register for
the virtual Festival of Education
Can your business support us?
We are very fortunate that many of our parents at Wellington and Huili own or play leading roles in large national and international businesses. Many of you are very kind in offering continued support from your businesses to the College. If you are in that fortunate position, one of the key ways you could aid our schools is to support for our Festival of Education. This annual event is unique in Tianjin, as we bring educators, academics and other interesting speakers to present to our parents, teachers and to guests from other schools and universities. The festival is a prestigious event and expensive to host, so we welcome support from financial sponsors and from businesses who are able to provide practical support, such as flights or hotel accommodation for our illustrious speakers. If you think you or your business may be able to help, send me an email to