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The Principal's Newsletter

First whole school Art Exhibition opens

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

Art Exhibition. Hanova’s first whole school art exhibition was opened on Monday, 4th February to an audience of parents and students.  This exhibition in the school foyer shows off the artistic talent of students from 3 to 18 years of age under the guidance of our art teacher Mrs Carrie Varjavandi.  Many people besides the students have helped to put this exhibition on and our thanks go to them.  The Unity Tree, which has traced the history of the school from before its inception, is now decorated with cherry blossom for the Chinese New Year.  Each of these blossoms has a comment or reflection on the art exhibition from its many visitors.  If you haven’t been able to attend it yet, you will have another chance to do so after the holiday break as the exhibition is being retained for a second school week.  You can even add your comment to those many already made.

New enrolments and members of our school community. We are expecting an additional 8 students immediately after Chinese New Year.  This will bring our enrolment to 71. These are spread across the school with one in each of Reception, Y1, Y2, Y5, Y7, Y9 and three in Y10.  They represent four different nationalities.  There are now several students on the waiting list as we are keen to balance the different languages and preserve the international nature of the school and each class.

N-Y1 reorganisation. As you will know from previous newsletters and as discussed in PSA meetings we are undertaking some reorganisation in the Nursery to Y2 classes.  We are planning to expand the Literacy and Mathematics team teaching that has been happening for much of the year.  This will allow for programmes to cover more levels and match more closely children’s individual needs and development profile.  The three teachers will work together to plan and, along with the two Teaching Assistants, to teach the four year groups. The children will be grouped to best match their needs in different aspects of these subject areas.  This means that the children may be in different groups for different aspects of their learning and will even move from group to group depending on what they are studying. These groupings will be under continuous review and will remain flexible with the needs of each child at the forefront.

We plan to expand this team teaching model after the Chinese New Year to include Y2 and to utilise the new room adjacent to Ms Nunweiler’s room.

The next step will be to use this new room more thoroughly and spread teaching in Unit of Inquiry and homeroom time to this extended space, once the children old and new have settled back into their amended routines.  The intention is that the children will then be in three registration groups with the teachers being Mrs Bunting, Mrs Whitworth and Ms Nunweiler. The precise date of this change will depend on the details in implementation of the first phase.

If you have any concerns or enquiries about these proposed developments do not hesitate in contacting the school.

Parent School Association. The next Parent School Association (PSA) will be held on Friday, 8th March after assembly at about 9:45am.  There will the usual focus on informing parents about the middle years and primary years International Baccalaureate (IB) and a meeting to review past events and plan and make suggestions for future events. As this is Women’s Day we may add a little something to the agenda. 

Middle Years. You should have received the monthly newsletter, along with the weekly primary newsletters, towards the end of last week.  We hope you find these newsletters informative.  If you have any comments on them please do not hesitate to pass them on.

Parent 2 way and 3 way consultations. Thank you for your support of your child and the school by attending the Parent Consultations this week.  It is important for your child to know you value what they are doing in school, and one way of showing that is managing to find time in your busy schedule to attend the 3 way conferences. If the dates or times of the consultations were difficult for you, please do not hesitate to contact the school to arrange an alternative date.  Similarly if a problem or concern should ever arise please contact us through the Communication Diary, by email or by phone. Whatever comments or concerns or information you can add is potentially of significant value to your child’s education.

Authors’  Day. One of the teachers came up with an idea to celebrate the author Dr Seuss’ birthday on March 2nd. In Y2 to Nursery there will be a birthday party / author study on Friday, March 1st. We would like to ask parents, from any class, to help with this by volunteering to:

  • Read a book to a group of students – this could be a book from any author including Dr Seuss
  • Run a mini activity relating to a book – for example, it could be to make a hat for the Cat in a Hat
  • Provide a snack for the party

If your child is in another class you may either help in Y2 to Nursery or come along to read a book to one of the other classes. 

This is one of the first activities that has come about from the ideas talked about in the Parent Volunteer Committee.  The more volunteers we get the more this idea may expand…

Playgroup. The Parent Volunteer Group also took up the idea of running an occasional playgroup.  This group would be for children who are too young to attend our school.  There would be a chance for toddlers and babies to come along for an afternoon and play alongside other children of the same age and for their mums or dads to have the opportunity to chat to other carers. One of our parent volunteers, Mrs Joslyn Arns has also volunteered to help with organising this group. If you would also like to help or simply come along with your child, speak to or drop an email to, or call Ms May Liu in the school office.  We would like to get this group running as soon as possible after we return after the Chinese New Year, and hope to meet on a weekly basis.

Student MacBook Pros. We have been very pleased with the impact our laptop policy has had on learning and teaching in the Middle and Senior Years.  There have, however, been a couple of instances where the effectiveness of the programme has been compromised by the configurations and addition of software to the laptops.

School policy has always been that no computer games, other than those directed by the teacher, are allowed in school.  For these two reasons we are asking that students, whether they own their own laptop or have one provided by the school, to ensure that they have no games on the computer.  Parents of students who have purchased their own laptop for use in school may decide that they wish their child be able to play games in evenings or weekends during down-time. Therefore, we suggest that you purchase a hard drive to store these games so that they are not on the computer.

The use of computer games is allowed on the school bus as long as the game is of an appropriate nature, keeping in mind that very young children are also present.

Calendar 2013-14. The School Calendar for 2013-14 is prepared to go to the Board for their review.  I am aware that a number of you will be booking your flights to return in the summer.  The orientation day for new families is Friday, 16th August and the opening day for the students is Monday, 19th August.  We have moved the start date forward this year by one week, although as the opening was delayed in August 2012 by one week it will in fact be two weeks earlier.  This is because we need to adjust the school calendar to match the requirements of IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) and AP (Advanced Placement), and later DP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) exams.

Please remember that the students break up tomorrow (Friday 8th February) at 1pm with buses leaving 2 ½ hours earlier than usual at 1:15pm rather than 3:45pm.

School opens for the second semester on Monday, 25th February.

I would like to wish you all a prosperous and very Happy Chinese New Year and wish you all the best for the year of the snake.


Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events

Thursday, 7th                               Chinese New Year event – reception from 2:55pm, performance from 3:30pm

Friday, 8th                                    Chinese New Year activities

Friday, 8th                                     School closes at 1pm for Chinese New Year holiday

Monday, 25th                              School re-opens for students


Friday, 1st                                     Author Day for primary

Friday, 8th                                    Parent School Association and Women’s Day 9:45am


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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