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The Principal’s Newsletter

Hanova celebrates its first International Day

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

Growing School. Our 60th student and 12th nationality joined us today on Thursday – welcome to our first representative from Bulgaria!  This brings the total number of nations here to 14 among the students and staff.  We currently have a number of active enquiries from potential enrolments.  All of these parents have expressed a desire to join our growing family. 

We have strengthened our Admissions Policy in response to this next phase of our school development.  This means that we now have stronger provision to carefully look at our class sizes and international balance of our school.  We also look in detail at the needs of any student applicant as far as their level of English development and any other learning needs.  An interview with the parents and students is an important part of the admission process, in order to ensure their attitudes and aims are a good match to our ethos.  We are determined that our students, as well as all of us as staff, aim to do their very best as far as possible. 

An advert is going out for an additional Chinese teacher to help with the range of ages and needs of our students in Chinese. We are also considering whether, for next semester, we need an additional international teacher in the lower school, and a PE teacher to work across all the classes.  International adverts will be going out soon for these posts in preparation for potential appointments.   Appointments will depend on the developing needs of our school and the quality of applicants.

International Day. We had our first planned community event of International Day on Wednesday. It was lovely to have so many parents join in with our activities.  The students were in mixed age groups and spent much of the day visiting 8 “countries” and learning a little about those countries’ cultures through sport, dance, art and other activities.  The care shown by the older students towards the younger ones and the fun everyone had were great.  The day had started with an assembly, which included songs, dance and presentations from each year group.  There was also a mini show of students, staff and parents in clothes representing their own country from the 13 countries represented. Perhaps the highlight of the day, certainly for many adults, was the sharing of the food so generously brought in by the parents, staff and community.  Thanks to those that sent in food, came in costume or just were able to attend – without you such an event would not have been so good. 

Parent School Association (PSA). Our inaugural PSA meeting was held immediately after the International Day.  It was decided that the PSA’s purpose was several fold, including to support the running of the school, to build community spirit, to have fun, to support a volunteer programme, to review events and make suggestions about the running of school events, or even to run events.  It was also a forum to raise questions and comments about the school.  Parents reviewed the events to date.  It was proposed that meetings be held approximately monthly and on different days, so that as many different people as possible could attend.  It was also decided that all parents, staff and friends of the school were automatically members and that meetings would be open to all.  Initially we would not appoint particular roles on the PSA.  This is to leave it open to evolve in the way the members wish, and with the aim that different members of the PSA will take on different leadership roles at different times.

Book Fair. English language books are not easy to find in China.  Representatives from Beijing Star Kids Children’s Bookstore are coming to our school to set up some books for purchase next week on Thursday, 25th and Friday, 26th.  The Book Fair will be open to parents and friends on Thursday and Friday from 8:15-8:50am and again from 3:15-4:00pm in the library. This is a chance to look through the books on offer, either with your child on your own. The students will have a timetabled time to visit the Book Fair with their class some time on the Thursday.  In that way they can write down any books they would like to purchase for you to approve and then they can return with the money the next day.  Please send any money in a sealed envelope with your child’s name, the amount of money and the book title (if known).

Ballet class. Coming home soon will be a letter about a possible ballet class for the PYP students.  We have been able to find a ballet teacher who will teach the students in our dance room that has just been outfitted with a new sound system.  Dance is a great way to express yourself, and this will add to our existing dance ECA (extra curricular activity) that is already running.  

Parents Consultations. 3 way and 2 way parent, teacher and student consultations are planned for Thursday, 1st and Friday, 2nd November.  Appointment times will be available between 2-6:30pm on 1st and 2-5pm on 2nd.  We really hope to see a parent of every student during these times.  More information and booking forms will follow.  These consultations will be to discuss how your child is progressing, what their current levels are and what targets they are working towards.  It will also cover a chat about how best you can help your child, and give you an opportunity to pass on any further information that you may have not already told us.  

Bradford Grammar School. We are excited to be welcoming the visit of a top tier Secondary and high school from England, Bradford Grammar, on Saturday, 27th October.  We would very much like all our students from Y7-13 to come in the evening to welcome these visitors and have a social evening together.  There are 42 students coming from Y9 up to Y13.  We plan to welcome them to our school to play sports, to listen to music and to have a meal together.  It is anticipated that this event will run from about 7:30-10:00pm.

Professional Development. Although still only in our sixth week of operation we have undertaken significant professional development.  We believe that it is only through continuous reflection and learning that we can continue to improve – very much lifelong learning.  There are collaborative planning meetings throughout the week and a regular Teaching and Learning meeting every Wednesday after school.  Staff have also been away for more specialist or individual training that we cannot supply on site.  This weekend Mr Richard Gallerno is attending International Baccalaureate (IB) training to develop his knowledge on the Middle Years programme in English Literature (Language A).  On Monday all the staff are training on a number of issues related to the Primary Years and Middle Years programmes and assessment, recording and reporting.  Board members are next weekend going on IB training on how to support a school developing IB programmes.  The training programme is designed to ensure we build quickly on the strong start we have made as a school.

Unfortunately Alasdair Maclean is not able to visit China this week owing to visa difficulties.  We are currently in the process of rearranging a time for Alasdair to join us.  

Remember, please, that the school is closed to students on Monday, 22nd October for a Professional Development day.  The school will reopen on Tuesday.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events


Friday, 19th                                    Y7-13 to Yellow River Soup Kitchen (donations appreciated any time) – joined by Amerasia International School, QIngdao

Monday, 22nd                                Professional Development Day – no classes

Thursday, 25th and Friday, 26th   Beijing Star Books Book Fair

Saturday, 27th                               Visit of students from Bradford Grammar School, England


Thursday, 1st and Friday, 2nd       Parent Consultations

Thursday, 1st to Monday, 4th       Korean Boarders’ Parents Visit

Friday, 9th                                      Duathlon – more information to follow



About the Author

Martin Hughes

Former School Principal

Mr Martin Hughes was the founding Principal of Hanova from 2012-15. Prior to his time at Hanova, he already had 23 years of experience as Principal in the UK and China at five different schools – including posts at Wuxi EtonHouse and EtonHouse’s flagship Suzhou school. During his time as founding Principal at Hanova, he helped support the initial IB Diploma Programme authorisation (2014) and used his educational vision to help plant our then brand new school on a firm foundation. Under his leadership, Hanova’s motto emerged, “Enabling children to become independent, creative and lifelong learners!”

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