Week Ahead

The Week Ahead 4 May 2017

04 May 2017
Dear Parents, I write this week en route to London for the Headteachers' Conference of The British Council of International Schools (COBIS).  The College was recently accepted into membership of COBIS, linked to our CIS Accreditation success.  This is the largest association of British international schools in the world. One of a number of significant educational networking benefits for member schools, for all their staff, not just their headteachers, is up-to-date training and awareness of best UK professional practice in both academic and pastoral educational provision.  This happens through many meetings and online opportunities, throughout the year and across the world.  Good schools ensure and encourage access to these opportunities for their staff, as clearly of essential benefit for both staff and pupils.  A school's commitment to the ongoing professional development of its staff is also very important in recruiting, and retaining, a high calibre staff body as a whole. This is something we take very seriously at Wellington Tianjin, and the Second Master also writes on this important topic today, further below. The staff educational 'think-piece' this week is by Mr Lewis, Head of Pastoral Care, on the importance of good routines for regular sleep from an early age.  This was also the theme for yesterday's presentation in the Black Box Theatre for Junior School parents, by Mrs Zantua and Mrs Bradley.  My colleagues and I know that good habits and discipline in this area can be a challenge for some of our families in both Senior and Junior Schools, and if you feel you would like more advice or support concerning this, please do get in touch with us. With best wishes to all our Wellington families. Michael Higgins Master
Teachers at Wellington I have had several conversations with parents recently, and one hot topic has been the praise heaped upon our teaching staff. It is heartening to hear so many positive stories of teachers and TAs who have gone beyond expectations to help an individual pupil, or taken the time to meet with parents to discuss the progress of their child. Anyone who has spent time working in schools will know how exhausting teaching can be – breaks are rarely genuine down time and children have to be supervised throughout the school day by staff – so finding time to help pupils with their learning outside the classroom is not always easy. Teachers and TAs at Wellington have an enviable reputation for going the extra mile to help our young people, and we value their contributions enormously. Recruiting and retaining staff who subscribe so wholeheartedly to Wellington’s values and ethos is a careful process. We look for men and women who excel in their practice and who are willing to erode their own time by giving freely to others. Not everyone is suited to being a ‘Wellington teacher’, and one of the challenges for senior leaders is to identify new talent as well as foster the rich seam of teaching expertise we have in school. Retaining the outstanding teachers we have is a key priority for us as a community – I know how much importance parents attach to this aspect of school, and we are fully committed to a programme of training and development that will help to keep our teachers engaged and flourishing in Tianjin. Happily, the vast majority of our teachers will be here next year to help your children grow and learn, but later this term I will update you on the new staff joining our school in August. You will find them all highly trained, skilled professionals with the best interests of your children at heart. They too are committed to the Wellington values, and share our determination to continue the progress of the past few years. They join a strong and vibrant staff body, many of whom have been with the school since its launch, and I know that you will welcome them to the Wellington family we have here in the city. Meet the Master, 1400hrs Thursday 11th May This week the Meet the Master slot is aimed at parents of children in Years 2-6. If you would like to attend, please confirm via email with Ms Emma Shi (emma.shi@wellingtoncollege.cn) by Wednesday 10th May.
University applications – thinking outside of the box Our pupils have typically applied to universities in the United Kingdom and the United States of America, but in an ever-changing world, it is prudent for us all to be considering other destinations for our leavers. Developments such as Brexit in the UK and on-going uncertainty over the impact of a Trump presidency for the US, mean that our pupils now face greater complexity in making their choices for Higher Education. Whilst these two countries remain excellent options, there are other countries in the world offering brilliant opportunities. Japan, a stable regional influence with a strong reputation for its universities, is an attractive option. Nagoya University, for example, offers a diverse range of courses delivered in English and has international students from 97 countries studying courses ranging from Automotive Engineering, Law, Political Science, Economics and Business Administration to Cultural Studies. Tokyo University (ranked 31st in the world) has a plethora of programmes offered in English, for example Architecture and Urban Planning, International Economics and Master of Public Policy International Programme (MPP/IP). An additional incentive is the very competitive nature of the cost of university education in Japan; fees typically are less than $5000 / year and, of course, Japan is close to home for many of our pupils. Germany is another good option. German universities offer free tuition for international students and there are also excellent courses delivered in English at all the major universities. The Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada and Australia also offer exciting opportunities, with highly regarded courses and competitive fees. I am encouraging our pupils to look at all of the opportunities on offer and I hope that you as parents will too. Our new online platform, Bridge U, is helping our pupils to plan ahead and think about what it is that they need to do in order to plan their university applications. If you would like to know more about the ways in which we support our pupils from Year 9 upwards in plotting their university admission’s route, then please come to a briefing for parents on Wednesday 24th May. It is at 0900hrs in the Common Room, and I will be using the time to show how Bridge U works and how parents can access it to help their children in the increasingly complex process of successful admission to the world’s finest universities.
Tianjin Recycling and Environmental Challenge (TReC) Wellington College took part in the Tianjin Recycling and Environmental Challenge (TReC) organized by the Environmental and Sustainability committee of AmCham China, Tianjin. Our pupils collected recyclable waste, and I am very pleased to announce that our school collected a whopping 160kg of paper and 6kg of plastic that will now be recycled. Many thanks for our Year 11 and Year 12 pupils who organised the collection of the recyclable materials and helping our environment. Congratulations too to Maisie in Year 3 who won first place for her wonderful collage on how to be more environmentally responsible. The prize award ceremony was held on April 28th at the Westin Hotel. This was the first time Wellington College took part in recycling challenge, and we are hoping that it will become a bigger part of our daily lives.
Common Room 0900hrs Wednesday 10th May Every Wednesday morning from 0900-1030hrs, parents will have the chance to engage with the school in sessions that cover all aspects of your child’s education, from the Early Years to A Levels and university admissions. The venue will vary according to the anticipated audience, and for the third meeting, parents will be in the Common Room for a briefing by the Head of the Junior School, Mrs Yynda Thomas Our next briefing for parents is on Wednesday 10th May, following the very successful Nest meetings over the past couple of weeks. Please join Mrs Thomas and her senior team for a session on the importance of Transition Days for pupils moving to Year 7. This is a key opportunity for children to learn about the differences in the school day and ways of learning in the Senior School, and, whilst it is open to all parents, it is clearly of most use parents of children in Year 6. It will be held in the Common Room on Wednesday, 10th May from 0900-1030hrs.
This is another in our regular series of insights from teachers across the school into raising resilient and successful young Wellingtonians. This week, Mr Lewis writes about keeping a healthy balance of sleep, food and studying. Let’s Protect Our Children It is time to Pay Attention to the Science and make a change. The wise saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” has been spoken by countless parents throughout the ages. It has been whispered in the ears of school children on early-to-rise mornings for centuries, yet the depth of understanding as to why breakfast is so important has only been brought to light in recent years. The side effects of not eating breakfast negatively impact weight, hormonal health, memory, cognition and mood. Research at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) has shown that a person's blood sugar levels are adversely affected by just a single instance of sleep deprivation. After a sleep of only four hours, the sensitivity to insulin drops by almost a quarter! Sending children to School with sleep deprivation and no breakfast is undermining their health and chances of academic success – significantly. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended sleep times are:
  • Infants (4-11 months): need 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): need 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
  • Preschoolers (3-5): need 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
  • School age children (6-13): need 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
  • Teenagers (14-17): need 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
  • Younger adults (18-25): need 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Teachers and Parents (26-64): need 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): need 7-8 hours
Now when we add in the following, the situation is alarming.
  • One can of sugar-based drink a day increases the chances of early onset diabetes by 23%
  • 3 hours or more of non-education screen time is reducing exam grades by two grades in every subject taken.
  • Parents’ overuse of mobile phones is destroying family life according to a report by the BBC this week.
It is time for action everyone, time to make the change and protect our future.
As usual the Junior School was extremely busy, welcoming back Year 6 and their staff from the exciting trip to London. The children and staff had an amazing time, and have taken with them many happy memories. Another superb trip that we will look to continue next year. Year 5 children showed off their performing skills on Friday with ‘Calamity Reigns’. The children produced many wonderful sketches that had the audience roaring with laughter.  The children wrote, produced and performed their own sketches during their Literacy lessons.  When children from a second language background are able to laugh at jokes involving word play, extending to writing their own jokes, let alone write a performance sketch it shows a thorough acquisition of the second language. All the children in Year 5 were outstanding, and performed with such expertise on the stage. Year 2 children were also in the limelight on Friday, reciting poetry. 15 children from Year 2 who wanted to ‘show off’ their skills, performed their poetry in the Seldon Theatre in front of their parents and all of Year 2. The Master, Mr Higgins and myself scored them. They were all very brave to stand on stage on their own, not only remembering their poem but also putting actions to it. Ms Carr split the children into several categories; there were 3 children in each category. She then gave Mr Higgins and me a score sheet that I can only describe as a similar format to an interview process! We had to look for Projection, Diction, Expression and Pace – all sections had sub-sections with the top marks being 10 – it took us quite a while to determine the end result, and even harder finding winners in each of the categories as all the children worked exceptionally hard in remembering their poems. The winners were: Elementary - Eric Beginner - Huahong Upper Intermediate - Jia Jia Intermediate - Umay Advanced - Apple All children that took part received a medal and certificate. Also, we received some marvellous news on Monday. Sydney and Xiyuan's ice hockey team gained the 2nd place in the All Star skating clubs National Championships. Six junior ice hockey teams across China joined in a 3-day competition in Shanghai. Both children were key players of team representing Tianjin Tigers. They played exceptionally well, with a strong team spirit (which they have learned at Wellington). As individuals, each of them was rewarded as a top player in two games. Sydney, one of the only four girls in the competition, was rewarded as the top scorer from more than 70 boys and girls. The achievement has made the history for their team and has been fully recognized at both Tianjin and National levels.  We are exceptionally proud of both Sydney and Xiyuan as the students of Wellington - they are an inspiration to all our young children.
Monday 08 May 2017 0740hrs - 0800hrs Whole School Staff Meeting (JAFJ) (Common Room) 1200hrs - 1230hrs Wellesley House Assembly (Sports and Activities) (MS) (Theatre) Wednesday 10 May 2017 0900hrs - 1030hrs Parent Briefing: Transition Day for Year 6 (YT) (Common Room) 1545hrs - 1845hrs TESMC Course (CN) (MB 335) 1600hrs - 1700hrs Staff CPD - Support Triangle & PLCs (incl Safeguarding refresher) (JL) Thursday 11 May 2017 1100hrs - 1500hrs Year 12 IB A & AL (Year 11) Mandarin Trip to House of Caoyu & Liang Qichao (YZ) 1400hrs - 1515hrs Meet the Master (Yrs 2-6) (ES) (Master's Office) Friday 12 May 2017 0830hrs - 0930hrs Class Assembly - Year 1 (YT) 1400hrs - 1530hrs Junior School Swimming (h) (SC) (Sports Centre) 1700hrs Senior School Reports & Interims Published (DP)