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The Principal's Newsletter

Implementing Hanova’s language of instruction: English

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

Parent School Association (PSA). Thank you to all of you who were able to attend the PSA Question and Answer (Q&A) session on Tuesday.  School presented to the parents an important document identifying key aspects of our school’s Language Policy.  Various other questions were posed by the parents.  The aspects of the Language Policy that were discussed were those identifying the use of English in the school both in classes and in social situations.  This policy is as follows:

Implementation of Language of Instruction and other languages at school. The language of instruction at Hanova is English. With the exception of language and literature classes in classes other than English, all the curriculum material, written resources, assessments and examinations are in English. In Years 12 and 13, the Diploma candidates are required to study five of their six subjects in English. Their Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay and CAS also demand high competence in English.

Therefore, Hanova aims to ensure that all our students – regardless of nationality – are able to access and progress in the delivered written curriculum in English in all year groups. Furthermore, as an inclusive school, Hanova must aim to ensure that fluent speakers of our language of instruction – English – have their curriculum needs met within the classroom. It is the responsibility of the teacher to ensure the subject curriculum is sufficiently covered and to avoid a student being disadvantaged in the next year of school.

Furthermore, Hanova expects that all teachers take shared responsibility for the students’ competence in English. It is expected that subject teachers observe correct written and oral accuracy in themselves and in assessing their students’ work. With the exception of language acquisition classes, host country or mother-tongue classes, the language of instruction – English – will be the principal language used in our classrooms and in the school library. Hanova understands that – especially in lower PYP years – students may join the school with little or no English language competence. It is therefore acceptable practice for such students to be supported with translation in the classroom. In the case of language of instruction in the school library, it is acknowledged that students who are studying a Diploma language are permitted to discuss their literary works in that target language. Students are encouraged to use dictionaries and English language web-based resources. To this end, Hanova will provide classroom access to appropriate resources such as dictionaries and thesauruses. These classroom resources will be specific to subject and/or year level as far as possible. However, for internal examination purposes, only those students who are in that year group’s English language acquisition classes will be permitted to use a translation dictionary in subjects other than English and Group 2 languages. Translation dictionaries should be from English to the target language only.

The use of English will be strongly encouraged in social situations within the school because practice in articulation in a social environment enhances emotional intelligence and social inclusion. Furthermore, the rigorous demands of MYP and Diploma oral examination components require all students to be confident and fluent in spoken exposition and discourse. Teachers are encouraged to acknowledge and reward students who show significant improvements and/or achievements in English language use or target language. This, of course, extends to students whose English is already very good. If it is deemed that a student’s language needs are not being met in a particular subject, the subject teacher concerned will inform the student’s Home Room teacher. If deemed necessary, a parental meeting will be arranged. This meeting with parents will explore the language needs of the student. Subsequent actions may include supplementary study material from the subject teacher, additional supervised study sessions, and, in extreme cases where these strategies are clearly insufficient, the student concerned may be required to rejoin the English acquisition group in that subject.  

Students who persist in using languages other than English in the classroom will be verbally asked to comply on the understanding that it assists them and their peers in their learning. If a student consistently and/or willfully refuses to comply with our language of instruction expectations, they will be referred to their Homeroom teachers, who will contact the student’s parents. In cases where this is a behaviour or discipline issue, the school’s current policy and practice will be observed. The Languages Policy at Hanova does not have jurisdiction outside of school hours and school premises – including the dormitory facility. If you have any questions about this please do not hesitate to contact one of our deputies Robert Muntzer (

Football Match. We will be welcoming Xi’an International School to Hanova for a football match this Friday.  We are keen to be building links in the Xi’an community to enhance sporting and social development of our students.

Exam week. A reminder that Exam week is next week for Middle and Senior Years students.    This will result in the auditorium being out of use from Monday to Thursday. 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 (

Assembly. We are looking at the possibilities of making this the last week for a whole school assembly.  I have concerns about the capacity of the auditorium and safety issues re evacuation in the case of an emergency.  The Senior Leadership Team are looking at the implications of splitting the assembly.  If this is implemented before next Friday’s assembly, parents will be informed.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events

Thursday, 13th                             Parent Volunteer Group Meeting – Staff Room at 3:40pm – all are welcome to attend! 

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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