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The Principal's Newsletter

School community to give input on Hanova’s Guiding Statements

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

Hanova Guiding Statement. Our guiding statement has been redefined.  Whenever we make decisions on the day to day running of the school we bear in mind this set of statements.  It defines who we are and what we are trying to achieve.

Elsewhere on this website (/about-hanova/) you can find our school’s philosophy, aims and learning commitment.  This was something written before the school was even opened.  A group of dedicated students, parents, staff and Board members met some time ago to consider what we thought was important in our school.

Please find below the draft guiding statement for Hanova International School.

I would like all our school community to have the opportunity to comment on this statement before being finalised, hopefully before school finishes for this academic year.

School Organisation for August 2013. One of our main aims in determining the organisation for next year was to ensure we provide the best possible support for our students who have limited English.  This becomes particularly significant as the level of language needed to understand lessons is much higher further up the school with older students.  Students are given an English entrance test prior to admission as well as being interviewed to consider their suitability for an international school education.  We unfortunately have had to reject a number of applications for places in the school for August 2013. It is very important that we retain a good nationality and language balance across the school.  This is considered for each admission request.

We have considerably expanded the number of English Language Support teachers to cater for our anticipated student needs.  This also means our stronger English speakers can have more lessons focusing on their needs for extension.

You will see from the chart below that we have added Ms Amy Ranger, Mr Martin Herben and Ms Geraldine Nagarajah to our current ELS teachers Mr Kris Quigley and Mr Jeremy Van.  All new staff added are required to be fully qualified teachers, have at least a Bachelor Degree, have excellent English literacy skills and a minimum, preferably, of 5 years teaching experience. 

It is planned that classes from Nursery to Y1 will have an additional teacher besides the homeroom teacher.  This Teaching Assistant will usually be a fully qualified teacher or have a degree in English.  Y2 –Y6 will have part time teaching assistants, and Y7 and above a small amount of non teaching support.

Year group or subject Programme & Expected class size Teacher
Nursery and Reception PYP


Ms Catherine Low
Year 1 PYP


Ms Stacey Nunweiler
Year 2 PYP


Mrs Liz Whitworth
Year 3 PYP


Mrs Jeannie Rice
Year 4 PYP


Ms Gerda Neppelenbroek
Year 5 and 6 PYP


Ms Natalie O’Connor
English Language PYP Ms Geraldine Nagarajah
English Language MYP and PYP Ms Amy Ranger
English Language MYP and PYP Mr Martin Herben
English Language MYP Mr Kris Quigley
English Literature and Psychology MYP and SY Mr Richard Gallerno
Chinese PYP and MYP Ms Emmy Yang
Chinese PYP and MYP Ms Jamie Cheng
Chinese PYP, MYP and SY Ms Sophia Suo
Art and Drama PYP and MYP Ms Elaine Cowper
PE and Technology PYP, MYP Mr Mike Whitworth
Music PYP, MYP and SY Mr Jeremy Van
Humanities, Economics MYP and SY Mr Peter Donkin
Maths MYP and SY Ms Elaine Gillick
Science MYP and SY Mr Denis McKeown

We are anticipating about 37 students starting the school year in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and 5 starting in the Senior Years (SY).  There is an expected total of 67 in the Primary Years Programme giving a total of possibly 109 in the school.  Of course, enrolments may change in the summer with some leaving that we do not anticipate yet and one or two more arriving late.

You will notice that two teachers not named in the biographies of new staff I sent out in May have been added.

Elaine Cowper has been appointed as our Art and Drama teacher.  Elaine has 11 years teaching experience, including in Saudi Arabia where she was Head of Art.  She has also extensive private teaching experience.  Elaine has dual Irish and South African nationality and joins us with her husband, Brad who is also an artist and their 3 children.

Geraldine Nagarajah has 10 years teaching experience and comes to us from the UAE.  She has also taught in her native Norway as well as for a short spell in England, where she studied to become a teacher.  She is a primary specialist who has taught from Y1 to Y9 also teaching English and Norwegian.

This brings to 7 the number of new teachers joining us in August, with just one leaving.  This brings to 21 the number of international teachers in school with all but the 3 Chinese teachers being expatriates.

There will be additional support teachers and teacher assistants added to this list for August.

Graduation. You may have noticed that there is a Graduation Evening planned for next Wednesday.  This is where the first Senior students graduating from Hanova will celebrate their educational achievement.  This event is for those Y13 students and their invited guests.  It is not a whole school event.

Yearbook. We have had a fantastic time in our inaugural year.  As a community we have done and achieved so much.  A pictorial record of this is being published next week. If you would like a souvenir of this, then please order our inaugural yearbook from the School Office at 100rmb per copy.  We are expecting delivery of these on Wednesday, 19th so they should be available for purchase by the time you read this.

Last week. Next week is the last week of school before the summer holidays.  Normal lessons will continue as usual up to and including Wednesday, with the exception of Extra Curricular Activities (ECAs).  Buses will leave school Monday to Wednesday at 3:45pm as there are no ECAs next week.  On Thursday the buses will leave at 1pm.  On the last day there will be a Final Assembly at 11am.  Parents are welcome to attend. On the last day there is a mini pizza party organised and supported by the school council.  You will notice the very cheap (not in quality) pizza for Thursday lunch.  Thanks to the School Council.

Hanova’s Draft Guiding Statement

Hanova’s Mission is:

To serve the international community of Xi’an with high quality education for students from 3-18 in a caring community focused on achieving the best outcomes for all in a stimulating environment that celebrates its linguistic and cultural diversity and where students take responsibility for their own learning and actions in becoming global citizens.

Our Aims:

  • Provide a curriculum which encourages development of high quality, transferable skills
  • Inspire creative, open minded, reflective and motivated learners
  • Develop internationally minded bilingual learners who contribute positively to the world
  • Create a community where all feel involved and well informed
  • Ensure the highest teacher effectiveness and quality to ensure rigorous teaching and learning
  • Develop attitudes and behaviour that enable us all to learn as effectively as possible

The Hanova vision:


  • High quality, innovative, challenging programmes 
  • Taking risks with ideas and making mistakes are seen as part of the learning process
  • Learners have time to think creatively and achieve highly morally, intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically 


A vibrant and internationally minded community of life-long learners who enthusiastically model learning in an environment that is:

  • Caring, encouraging and safe  
  • Collaborative, creative, innovative


The different needs of the students are taken into account understanding that many may be in Xi’an for a short period of time, coming from and returning to a wide variety of contexts. 


  • Show respect and care to others with their different cultures, ideas and beliefs
  • Communicate with and understand others with compassion
  • Take responsibility for our own behaviour and how this affects learning for ourselves and others
  • Be confident. Take the initiative and think creatively
  • Show persistence and determination to reach goals
  • Collaborate with others to enhance learning
  • Develop the courage to act on our beliefs in support of local and global communities

Please send any comments, questions or suggestions about our guiding statement to me by email at

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events

Thursday, 20th                            Student Led Conferences

Thursday, 20th                            Y6 Exhibition, Y11 Personal Project, Y13 Extended Essay

Friday, 21st                                  Second semester reports emailed home

Monday, 24th to Thursday, 27th Teachers available for Consultations

Wednesday, 26th June Graduation evening for Y13s 7pm

Thursday, 27th June                   School closes for summer holiday 1pm

July and August

                                                       School office open 9am-4pm


Friday, 16th                                  New family orientation day

Monday, 19th                              School opens for students

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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