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The Principal's Newsletter

Encouraging students to research, investigate and think for themselves

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

Research at Hanova - Y11 Personal Project, Y13 Extended Essay and Y6 Exhibition. There is a common theme throughout our school of encouraging students to think for themselves and to investigate and research into aspects that may be of interest to them.

This theme is one of the central ideas in being an International Baccalaureate (IB) school.  At the end of each programme there is a culminating project.  In the primary years this is the Y6 Exhibition, the Personal Project in the middle years and the Extended Essay in the senior years.  These tasks are a required part of the programmes when a school gains full authorisation.  We wish to offer these opportunities for all of our students right from our first year of operation, even though we are a Candidate School for all three programmes and aren’t expected to offer these.

This research idea starts right from when the children enter our school when they are asked questions like why they might think the rooms in a hotel aren’t all the same.  The culmination of this Inquiry Approach in the Primary Years is the Y6 Exhibition.  The children in Ms O’Connor’s class are looking at the following Central Idea:  Every country has special features and resources that can attract people and impact the environment and/or humankind.  The students will be focusing on their own countries and exploring Xi’an as a comparison.  The thought processes are being started by a series of visits next week to various sites in and around Xi’an.  The children will then work on their ideas as a central part of their work over the next few weeks before putting on their Exhibition.

In the Middle Years Programme the students in Y11 are working on an individual project under the guidance of two teachers.  This project is a chance for these students to produce an extended piece of research to apply various skills they have acquired during their learning in the middle years.  This is a considerable commitment for the students.

In their final year in the Senior Years (Y13) there is a further research opportunity called an Extended Essay.  This work assists students not only in developing ideas or interests they may have and developing their own understanding on the methodologies of research.  It also can be used to assist applications to university or to go into the workplace.

There is a lot of exciting work ahead, much of it ongoing for these students.  You will have the opportunity to see and hear the fruits of their labours on June 20th.  This is the day for the Y6 Exhibition and the presentation of the Y11 Personal Projects and Y13 Extended Essays.

Spring Carnival. We hope to see you all on Saturday for our Spring Carnival and Talent Show.  Mr Gallerno assures us he has put in a request for good weather and it looks like this is going to be the case!  A brief reminder of the times follows:

  • Carnival Games start from 10am to midday
  • Shared international lunch from 12-1 pm
  • Talent Show starting at 1pm to about 2:30pm

We have had more successful entries for the talent show than we expected.  We anticipate it will go from 1-2:30pm so that all the students can have the opportunity to perform.

Parents and middle and senior students can pre-purchase books of 10 Spring Carnival tickets for 20rmb from the Reception Office before Saturday to avoid waiting in line. Of course, tickets will also be on sale during Spring Carnival.

We apologise for again asking our wonderful parents to prepare a food donation for the international shared lunch.  We will try next year to map out any requests for food items so we don’t have so many requests so close together.  Saturday sports will restart on Saturday, 18th May.

Book Fair. The Beijing Star Kids Children's Bookstore visit is now on May 20th and 21st. The date has been moved so that the Bookstore can bring along some additional books at teachers’ request.  I hope this date change has not caused you any inconvenience.

Read-a-Thon. The children did really well in trying to read for a certain number of minutes in the month of April.  All the children from Y3 to Y6 hit their targets of 500 minutes.  Almost all of Y2 hit their reading time target and over half of those from Nursery to Y1.  A celebration assembly about the Read-a-Thon will be held on Friday (tomorrow as I write).  In total the Primary classes read over 28,000 minutes together! Very well done to all those students and especially to a number who well exceeded their targets. We hope this fun event will have successfully stimulated the children’s skills and enjoyment of reading. It certainly seemed to help a number on their way.

A number of countries celebrate Mothers’ Day on Sunday 12th May.  We hope all mothers here and in our home countries have a lovely day.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events

Saturday, 11th                             Spring Carnival and Talent Show

Monday, 13th to Friday, 17th   Y5/6 on trips in preparation for Exhibition

Saturday, 18th                             Saturday Sports restarts

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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