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The Principal's Newsletter

Hanova to pursue CIS and WASC accreditation

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

Welcome back friends, parents and students, both new and old.  I hope you had an enjoyable Chinese New Year and hope the students all return refreshed and ready to apply themselves to this, our second semester.

This week we welcome 11 new students and their families to the Hanova family.  These newcomers enter classes between Reception and Y10.  We will do our best to help them settle into their new school as quickly as possible and hope they not only enjoy their time here but also achieve very well in all aspects of their learning and growth. We now have 71 students.

International Baccalaureate (IB). Having been awarded Candidate Status by the IB just before the Chinese New Year we are continuing to move ahead with the development of our IB programmes.  Within the next few weeks, an IB appointed consultant will be assigned for each of the three programmes to assist us in this next stage of IB development. 

Staff training. A significant part of our development is the collaboration and training of all our staff, but particularly the teachers.  This training is primarily built into our weekly schedule of meetings, but is also supplemented by staff occasionally going on courses.  Peter Donkin is going on a course this weekend in Hong Kong on training as our IB Diploma Programme (IB DP) coordinator.  He will be absent from Thursday lunchtime and returning to school on Tuesday.  In his absence work will be set for the students and they will be taught or supervised by another teacher.  I will be absent from Monday, 18th to Wednesday, 20th March in Kuala Lumpur in order to attend training for Administrators for the IB DP.  Mr Van and Ms O’Connor will cover in my absence.  We realise that there is some disruption to the normal running of the school during staff absence especially when it is the absence of teachers.  Planning is left by those teachers and cover arranged to ensure the students’ learning programme continues uninterrupted.  The development of the school and its authorisation and accreditation are dependent on our staff being well trained.  Highquality professional development has direct impact on teaching and learning and also helps in the retention of staff.

Mission Statement and Philosophy. We have a Mission Statement, a Philosophy and a set of Aims as you may know from our website. These give very strong messages about what we want to be known by in our school, how we will work and what we are aiming to achieve. These were written before the school opened back in April 2012 and therefore needs revision.  I think this very important guiding document for our school should have involvement of all the different groups from our community – every interest group should have input.  There is therefore a meeting planned on Saturday, 16th March where we can meet and collate our ideas about the school.  I would like representatives from the parents, the students, the support staff and the teachers as well as the members of the school Board.  We will meet during Saturday Sports so that adults who attend can know their children are being looked after.

Year 6 Exhibition. Preparations are now underway for our first ever Year 6 Exhibition, planned for 20th June. The exhibition is the culmination of the Primary Years Programme for our Year 6 students. While this is not a requirement of IB Candidate Schools, we believe the experience is such a good vehicle for learning that it is well worth carrying out even in this early stage of our PYP development.

The International Baccalaureate states:

"The exhibition represents a significant event in the life of both the school and student, synthesizing the essential elements of the programme and sharing them with the whole school community. It is an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the student profile that have been developing throughout their engagement with the programme. It is a culminating experience marking the transition from the PYP to the Middle Years Programme (MYP)."

We have chosen the central idea of: "Every country has special features and resources that can attract people and impact the environment and/or humankind."

We are going to be looking at China, with particular reference to Xi'an and Beijing, through this lens.  As this is a community event, we would like to ask for support from you all!  If you could help us in any way, we would appreciate it.  Ways to help:

  1. We welcome visitors who could talk to the students about the history/geography of Xian, Beijing or China.
  2. If you could lend us books/photographs/relics about historical or geographical aspects of China, that would be great!
  3. We would like to organise field trips around Xi'an, and if you could support us that would be wonderful!
  4. Contact us with any ideas that could support us.

We want to celebrate together the learning that our community undertakes, so we look forward to your support.

Council for International Schools (CIS) and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation. We are keen to get accreditation from these bodies.  They would come here and examine every aspect of our school and make suggestions about any areas that we needed to improve on to meet their exacting standards.  This whole process is likely to take 2 or 3 years.  Natalie O’Connor is going on training towards the end of March at WASC as the Accreditation Chair, leading our school’s process of application for accreditations.  The process of self-study and evaluation will help us to reflect on all aspects of our performance.

Jeremy Van has been asked by CIS to serve on a team of experts who are examining the application for accreditation of a school in Hong Kong.  He will be missing for a week from 9th March.  Again this is a very positive development for our school as in this process Mr Van will be able to learn about another school’s approach and apply this learning back to helping to continuously improve us here at Hanova.

Hanova Student Council

Chinese New Year DVDs now available! DVDs that include our Chinese New Year performance, activities, and photo slideshow are now on sale by the Hanova Student Council for 50 RMB each or 2 for 80 RMB. As always, proceeds from the purchase of this DVD will be used to fund projects that benefit Hanova students and the community. Contact Mr Gallerno at or complete the order form that was sent out this week to get your copy. We also have some Christmas Carol DVDs left for sale.

Student Council Shop is coming soon! For the past few months, we have been preparing to open a student-operated business that will sell a variety of stationery supplies, drinks, and snacks. All Student Council members from Year 1 to 13 have had a part in getting our plan ready. The Student Council Shop will be open for business during morning snack and lunchtime every school day in the PE storage room on the 1st floor. Look for us at the window overlooking the Dragon Court.

Our Shop will have several benefits:

It will give Student Council members real experience with responsibility, sales, accounting, and all aspects of operating a small business.

Profits from goods sold in the Shop will be added to the Student Council budget that will be used for the good of our school and community.

All Hanova students will have a chance to buy school supplies, drinks, and snacks.  Students will be told more about this in Friday assembly.

Saturday Sports. The warmer weather will soon be with us allowing us to restart Saturday Sports.  A number of members of the school will be here for Saturday Sports from 9:30-12:00 restarting on 9th March.  Mr Sam Quan will be here, usually along with other members of staff or the Board, throughout this time.  Families and friends are invited and there is no age limit - everybody welcome.  It is an event for all the family.  Transportation is not provided.  Saturday Sports will be cancelled if it is a wet day.  You will receive an email from Mr Quan by 9am if the day is decided to be "wet".

Furniture. Quite a lot of furniture is on its way from Germany as our school continues to grow faster than we had anticipated.  We were originally given a delivery date of end of February, but this has moved back to the middle of March.  This means that for a couple more weeks we may have to move a couple of chairs or tables between classes during the day.

Nursery to Y2. The children in these year groups are now dividing into 3 classes for registration purposes.  However, these four year groups (N, R, Y1 and Y2) will be grouped across year levels for Guided Reading, Writing and Literacy and Maths.  This means that your child may move between classes for some aspects of their learning.  Mrs Bunting will be the teacher to contact in Nursery and Reception, Mrs Whitworth for Y1 and Ms Nunweiler for Y2.  The Unit of Inquiry (UoI) will be the same for Nursery, Reception and Y1 although there will be a different Unit for Y2.  The approach to the Unit will vary in terms of objectives and outcomes between Nursery, Reception and Y1 students. If you have any concerns or would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s class teacher in the first instance or the PYP coordinator Mr Van.

Calendar for 2013-14. The provisional School Calendar for 2013-14 is on the school website.  This calendar has been agreed by the Board and we hope there are very few, if any changes, needed to be made to this.  There are two more days that can be added as holidays for the students to bring the number of student days to the same number as the vast majority of top international schools – 180.  There are also up to 5 additional training days for teachers.  These will mainly be added during the holidays or weekends so they do not impact on the students’ learning.  The reason that the two student holiday days are being kept is so that we can take a long weekend for teacher training at a point during the year when the best trainers are available to suit our developmental needs.  I hope this will not cause you any inconvenience and we will of course give you as much notice as possible.

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.  Please put this  PSA in your diary whether you are male or female – all are welcome.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events


Friday, 1st                                     Author Day for primary

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

Saturday, 9th                               Korean Language School opening

Saturday, 9th                               Saturday Sports begins 9:30am-12:00

Saturday, 16th                             Mission statement and school aims meeting

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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