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The Principal's Newsletter

PSA Meeting presentations and questions

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

PSA Meeting. The PSA meeting last week was attended by 40 parents. Thank you all for your active interest in the school. Parents heard presentations about assessment in the MYP, developing knowledge in the PYP.  Later they heard a brief presentation on Community Service in the school.  Finally information was given on the teaching of languages in the school.  There was a lot of backlog of information as the last PSA meeting had involved discussions with the Shaanxi Government.

It was clear in the meeting that parents wanted more opportunity to discuss issues. By the time you read this we will have had a meeting on the plans for next year’s Y12 and 13 programme and the move towards the implementation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP).  The implications of this for current Y9 and Y10s will be discussed at a meeting on the following Wednesday evening. Below is the response on some questions around language teaching and policy in Hanova.

  1. How do parents support the Hanova policy of languages being of equal importance?  As an IB school committed to international-mindedness, the IB Mission Statement and the IB Learner Profile, we are preparing our students for a global society where being multi-lingual is an advantage.  All students from PYP through to Diploma are required to undertake two languages. What languages are provided depends upon the school community’s needs. Presently, in PYP and MYP, two languages are provided; Chinese Mandarin and English. At Diploma level, it is possible to study other languages that will be introduced depending upon student needs. Apart from the obvious benefits of being multi-lingual, parents should point out that language is a means of understanding and working with other cultures. Parents are also advised that if students perceive one language as being of less importance than another, other students may be disadvantaged because of this perception.
  2. What guidelines are there for students who move from one school to another in terms of the languages they have learned? There are no guidelines per se. However, most parents relocating usually find out what schools offer what languages in their new destination. English is currently the most widely used language of instruction in international schools. All schools in China offer Chinese as are an increasing number of schools world-wide. Moving from one IB World School to another is preferable because skills and knowledge in PYP, MYP and Diploma are generally similar.
  3. When do students and parents have to start considering their Diploma languages choices? Students and parents are advised to start considering this issue from Year 7 (MYP 1) onwards. Currently at Hanova students undertake studies in both English and Chinese Mandarin but, starting in September 2014, it is planned to introduce Korean A into our Diploma. In September 2015, it is planned to introduce DP Spanish for beginners. However, at this stage of the school’s development, students and parents are reminded that proficiency in languages is of the utmost importance because success in the Diploma is dependent upon a student’s command of English in order to understand the subjects they will study. Subjects like Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay demand excellent English understanding and spoken and written skills. At the same time, all Diploma students have to undertake another language, which is assessed in exactly the same way as English and is awarded the same number of points as English.
  4. What languages will be offered at Diploma level at Hanova? From September 2014 to 2016, Diploma candidates at Hanova will study possible combinations of two languages. The languages are: DP Chinese A Language and Literature, DP English A Language and Literature, DP Korean A Language and Literature, DP English B, DP Chinese B. Depending upon their needs, the students choose their combinations. For example, a student who wishes to apply to universities in North America or Europe would normally choose DP English A Language and Literature and Mandarin B. On the other hand, a student aiming for a Chinese university would opt for DP Chinese A Language and Literature and English B. Keeping in mind the high demands of all DP languages A, it is also possible for more able students to undertake two languages A. Therefore, a Korean student who may wish to go to university in Korea may choose to do both English A and Korean A Language and Literature. Students who graduate with this combination of languages are awarded a Bilingual Diploma, which is sought after by universities.

Adult Language Classes. We would like to inform the Hanova Community that Adult Language Classes will be starting on Saturday, March 8th, from 10-12. At this time, we have not received enough response from our parent community to start an English class, but we would like to start one if we can get a group of about 10 Hanova parents or other adults. We do have a group of 10 Hanova teachers who would like to begin learning Chinese. If any of our parents would like to join this group, you are most welcome. If you would like to come to language lessons with other adult friends, you should feel free to ask them to join you. Please contact Mr G ( or Ms May Liu ( if you have any questions or would like to join an Adult Language Class.

Exam Week. As you know from our school's calendar, Exam Week for our Middle and Senior years students is fast approaching. It will take place during the week of March 17th. This is a valuable week for our students as it allows them to experience examinations in a formal setting, as well as consolidating their learning in each subject so far this year. Teachers have been preparing students for these exams by reminding students of all material that is likely to be tested. In addition to this, some class time will be spent reviewing content and completing practice questions. The grades for these exams, as with all other assessments throughout the year, will go towards students final grades in their end of year report. Parents can support their son/daughter over the coming weeks, by talking to them about their studies and revision plan. It also helps if students eat well and get enough sleep. If you have any questions about upcoming examinations, please feel free to contact either our Middle Years Coordinator Kris Quigley ( or our Year 12/13 Homeroom teacher Peter Donkin ( We wish all of our students success in these examinations!

Saturday Sports. With the arrival of warmer weather upon us, our highly popular Saturday Sports programme will be starting up again this Saturday, March 1st, from 10-12. Hanova parents, as well as other families in Xi’an, are invited to come in with their children to play football, tennis, table tennis, or other sport activity. Please note that, although we do our best to maintain safety, accidents and injuries are possible when playing any sport activity. This is why Hanova staff members are present during Saturday Sports – to make sure that we can contact qualified medical responders if serious injuries occur. Parents and families are welcome to use our sports facilities and equipment, but should understand that adults are responsible for supervising their own children. Saturday Sports are normally cancelled in case of rain. Parents who wish to be notified about cancellation of Saturday Sports should contact Mr. Sam Quan (

Parent Volunteer Group. We will have a meeting in the Staff Room on Thursday, March 13th from 3:40-4:30 during club time.  Please come along if you are currently involved in this programme, or if you just want to learn more about how you can help in school.  We will discuss the timetable for current volunteers, which will be emailed to you before the meeting, and upcoming community events.  We hope to see you there!

Education Outside The Classroom (EOTC) Meeting for Y7-13 Parents. A quick reminder that parents of year 7-13 students are invited to attend an information meeting after Assembly on Friday, March 7th. Important information about our planned trip will be shared. Please attend if you can.

Buses. Hanova signs have been added in the window of the buses so buses not in the school livery can be more easily recognised.  As we have many buses that are nearly completely full with our students, we would like to remind parents that if you want to take the bus you must call the office, before the day concerned, to see if there are any seats available.  This particularly applies to Friday mornings, as we know that you are very keen to see the assemblies.  There are not enough seats for any parents who turn up at the bus stop without booking a seat.  Also, please ensure we have this information after the PSA meetings.  We appreciate your cooperation with this.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events

Wednesday, 26th                        Senior Years and IB Diploma Programme Plans Y11 and 12 students and parents  7pm

Friday, 28th                                  Last date for ordering Scholastic books


Wednesday, 5th                          Middle Years and IB Diploma Programme Plans Y9 and Y10, and any other interested parents and students  7pm

Friday, 7th                                    Yr 7-13 Parent EOTC Information Meeting, after Friday Assembly

Monday, 17th –Thursday, 20th Exam week MY and SY

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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