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The Principal’s Newsletter

A welcome to new members of our Hanova family!

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

Welcome. We hope all our returning students, staff and parents had a restful winter break and we would like to wish everyone a Happy and successful New Year.

Welcome to the Hanova family to the many new people that have joined us at the start of this semester.  We hope that all, students and teachers, are settling in well.  We also hope that families new to Xi’an are adjusting to life here.  Our student numbers have risen to 204.  Unfortunately we have had to refuse the applications from 12 students owing to school being full in certain year groups.

We also welcome eight new staff to our school.


Robert Muntzer is a highly experienced International Baccalaureate (IB) educator.  Robert joins us as a Deputy Principal focusing on the Senior Years.  His last post was as Deputy Principal in an international school in India, with former posts including Diploma Programme (DP) coordinator at Dulwich College in Shanghai, Director of Studies and IB coordinator at Repton School, Dubai, and Head of English and Languages at schools in Thailand and Vietnam.  Both his wife and his 12 year old son have come along with him.

Andrew Thorpe joins us from his native Australia where he has taught for more than 6 years mainly with upper primary students.  He also has experience in IB Primary Years Programme (PYP).  Andrew is passionate about education, a profession he came to as a mature student having earlier had a career as a police officer.  He joins us as the teacher of Y6.  Ms Natalie O’Connor will return to being the teacher of Y5.

David Knowles has 17 years experience as an IB Diploma and secondary Maths teacher.  David is teaching Maths in the middle and senior years.  He has been Head of Department and was also appointed as an Advanced Skills Teacher in UK to help train teachers in other schools to improve their practice.  David has taught mainly in his native UK, but joins us from a post in Costa Rica where he has been for the last 3 years.

Hollie Dowling is going to be part of our English Language Support (ELS) teaching team initially.  She hails from Ireland where she trained as a teacher after gaining her Masters in Historical Research.  Hollie is in her 3rd year of teaching joining us from her last post in a Shanghai International school where she was a Humanities teacher.  She intends to join us on Monday.

Emma Zhang gained her Masters in teaching Chinese at Xi’an International Study University after gaining a pharmaceutical degree at Shaanxi University of Science and Technology.  She has experience of teaching Chinese in Thailand and also teaching French students in Xi’an.  She joins us as a Chinese teacher.

Support staff:

Celia Wang graduated from Central China Normal University with a Master degree in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (MTCSOL).  She also holds a BA majoring in English from Xian University of Architecture and Technology.  She has been teaching Chinese in the College of International Cultural Exchange, Central China Normal University.  She joins us as a Chinese teacher specialising in HSK tests and will provide additional administrative support.

Paris Luo is providing Teaching Assistant support in Y1.  Mr Sam Quan has moved to support in the new class, Y2N and in Y4.

Jenny Zhang is an additional Teaching Assistant along with Mrs Rosie Donkin in the Nursery/Reception class.

Reports and 2 and 3 way consultations. Our first semester finished on December 19th, as we had started this school year way back on August 19th.  The teachers have been busy collating assessments and writing reports over the holidays and this week.  The Senior Leadership Team will be checking these reports next week and we hope to have them emailed home to parents on Friday, 17th January.  There will be further explanation of the reports sent home in next week’s newsletter.  These will be followed or accompanied with an invitation to Parents’ Consultations.  These Parent Consultations are aimed to be a chance to discuss your child’s progress in the first semester and what the next steps are for them.  You can also discuss any issues or questions that may have come up from the reports that you will have received.  Parents of new students are encouraged to attend also to have a short conversation about how their child has settled and to ask any questions they might have.

Extra Curricular Activities. Just a short note to remind you that ECAs will start again after the Chinese New Year break.

Visiting School and Security. After the first week when there have been many visitors to school we would like to remind you of the procedure for visitors to school from the Family Handbook.

“We ask that all visitors, including parents, report to the reception desk immediately upon entering the school.  They will be given a visitor tag to wear.  Parents simply picking up or delivering children will not be required to wear this tag.  All visitors are required to display this tag between 9am and 3:20pm apart from in the reception lobby.”  For community events this tag is not necessary.  For example, on each Friday when we welcome parents to attend the assembly, visitors do not need to sign in unless they are staying after 9:45am.  It is important that we know all the people that are in school to ensure safety and security.

Collecting your child. Most of our students go home on the school buses, of which there are now 5.  If you are coming to pick your child up from school at the end of the day, please go down the corridor away from the reception area (front lobby) and wait for your child in the dining rooms.  This ensures that the front lobby is less crowded and that we can ensure that students are properly cared for and picked up by the right person.  It is just too bust in the front lobby.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events:


Monday, 6th                                     School opens for second semester

Saturday, 11th to Tuesday,14th     Diploma Programme pre verification visit from our IB consultant

Friday, 17th                                       Reports home by email

Tuesday, 21st Wednesday, 22nd   Parent Consultations

Friday, 24th                                      Chinese New Year activities

Friday, 24th                                      School closes for Chinese New Year holiday


Monday, 10th                                   School opens for second term of second semester

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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