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The Principal's Newsletter

Help us build our lovely library

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

Photo gallery. Please check out the new photo gallery.  Here you will find collections of photos on each of our events that you can view and even download.  We hope these photos give all of you as much pleasure as the events did for our students and all of us. (Find our current photo gallery here).

Library in different languages. We have a lovely library with so many good books.  The books we have in our library have been carefully selected to serve the needs of students studying the IB curriculum and the variations we have built into this.

You may very well have books at home that you do not need or that your children have grown out of, and that you would be willing to donate to school.  If you have any good books in very good or better condition that you no longer use, please send them along to school.  We are developing careful criteria to select books so that any book donation may, unless you tell us otherwise, go on to be sold to raise money for charity or for school.  This may be because the book, although good and even in excellent condition, might not meet our needs. We realise that the number of books we have in languages other than English and Chinese is very small, so the selection criteria for these are less strict.

Getting good books for adults in different languages is also not easy in China. The librarian would also like to start a book swap club.  If you have any books for adults you have finished with, please also send them in.  Once we have a few books in this separate part of the library adults will be free to come in and swap a book.  This will probably be open on a Friday before and after assembly time (8:30-10:00am) as well as at the start and end of school.

Visitors. It is a delight to receive so many visitors to our school.  Even 12 weeks after opening there seems to be so many people wanting to visit our school – prospective parents, government officials from various levels, those who have heard about our school and are hoping one day to be employed here and volunteers, to name but a few.

We are an open and professional group and we hope that visitors find our school welcoming and interesting – their comments certainly seem to indicate this.  We are also very keen that any visit does not disrupt the learning that is the key purpose of the school.

All visitors have to be signed in at the front desk.  I, or one of the deputies, must be informed before a visitor is admitted to ensure that the person they wish to see is available and that the visit will not disadvantage the students’ learning.  One issue that did come to light this week was that there are so many close friends of the school that the office staff don’t always know who counts as a “visitor”.  To simplify matters all people that come to the school (even members of the school board!) must be signed in and wear a visitor’s badge unless they are members of staff at the school.  This applies to any times when the school is in session – that is between 8:45am and 3:35pm (4:35 on Tuesday and Thursday, 3:25 on Friday), except at special events or assemblies.  Parents picking up and dropping off children have a leeway on these times –  8:30 and 3:20.  This is because we want to remain open and welcoming to all, especially our parents, yet ensure that students and teachers can focus fully on the key educational purpose of our school.

A Christmas Carol. Practices are gradually getting into full swing for this exciting production – the first stage production ever at Hanova.  As you will know it involves all the students of the school in some way or other.  Thank you for all your support in helping your child to learn their lines, in making costumes or in other ways.  The committee organising this event intend to write to you early next week to give an update on various aspects.

This production is part of our curriculum planning for the year.  In the last couple of weeks there have been just one or two practices per week for the whole school.  Many practices happen at lunch times or they are part of the extracurricular activities programme.  As we get nearer the production practices will increase.  It is a great opportunity, around this time, for the students to have more opportunities in music and drama than at other times.  These additional lessons are balanced out over the whole year so that other aspects of the curriculum are covered appropriately.  Practices, despite our best efforts, obviously do disrupt the usual timetable to some extent. 

However, teachers, especially in the primary years, adjust their timetable and planning so that core learning is continuous.  Practices occur at different times of the school week so that in the secondary school a particular aspect of the curriculum does not become neglected.  In order to keep the pace and progress up throughout all learning some students, particularly in the older years, may get additional homework.  I think the minor inconvenience of disruption is well outweighed by being able to take part in such an event.

Trip to Thailand. The Education Outside the Classroom committee for the secondary school have been organising a trip to Thailand for 7 days towards the end of March.  This is to fit in with the curriculum and to give the students an opportunity to try new things, and develop their social skills and confidence in a supportive environment.  They have surveyed the students about their views on this and would like to hold a short meeting with interested parents on Monday at 9:00am.  This meeting would go over the educational purposes for the event, the sorts of activities the students would do, give details on the destination and aspects of safety planning and pastoral care.  There will be a chance to ask questions.  After the meeting the committee will be writing to the parents of eligible students to ask whether you would like your child to have this great opportunity.  The trip is to be funded from parental contributions so there will be a significant charge for this.  If there is insufficient interest then the trip will not be able to go ahead.

Lunch. Our new lunch menus, since the opening of the kitchen, have proved to be immensely popular with students, staff and visitors alike.  Thanks so much to the kitchen staff and those that support them in organising and purchasing ingredients.  The new kitchen raised some interesting questions and mainly positive comments at the Parent School Association.  Some parents said that they expected the price to be a little lower.  Our aim is that the running costs of the kitchen eventually break even.  We have some way to go before we can realise that.  At the moment all the ingredients are bought from the Metro supermarket.  We are aware that this increases costs compared to buying from local stalls.  We have been told by someone experienced in catering that this supermarket is one of the few chains in China that does regular health and quality assurance checks.  We think this is something you, the parents, would be happy with.  However, please let us know your thoughts.  Any comments on our new kitchen would be most welcome – positive or negative.  We want to aim in all aspects to be the best we can be.

Can I please remind you that lunches need to be ordered before the end of Thursday so that the correct amount of ingredients can be bought for the following week?  Thank you to the vast majority of you who already do this.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events


Friday, 30th                                  Movember Charity Assembly


Monday, 3rd                                Secondary parents meeting about Thailand extended journey at 9am

Wednesday, 12th                        Christmas Carol Performance at 2pm

Thursday, 13th                            Christmas Carol Performance at 7pm

Friday, 14th                                  School closes at 1pm for Christmas Holiday

Saturday, 15th                             Performance at XIBF Christmas event, Shangri-la – about 7pm

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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