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The Principal's Newsletter

Middle Year and Diploma Year student review meetings

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

IB Diploma and Beyond. Last Friday saw the first in many Secondary School assemblies that had their focus on universities and careers - and how the IB Diploma led to various professions. We were very honoured to have one of Hanova parents, Mr Bart Janowski, who is a barrister and solicitor. Mr Janowski's presentation was both informative and practical, and was much appreciated by the students and the staff. Subsequent to this, our Diploma Programme (DP) subject specialist in DP History, Mr Peter Donkin, showed students an entertaining and exciting guide to his subject - one of the subjects that will be required by universities in order to study Law. This event has already generated more response from beyond the Hanova community and we are currently organising two more assemblies for our Secondary School students that will focus on business management and engineering. We will keep you informed.

Middle Year and Diploma Year students review meetings. As part of our commitment towards ensuring that our students are placed in suitable classes and receiving the best support, a number of tests and meetings have taken place in the MYP and DP over the past month.  First of all, students undertook several language proficiency tests to determine which classes would be best suited for them.  Several minor adjustments have been made and the children are now in classes accurately reflecting their ability levels. Teachers in other subject groups were completing in-class evaluations as this was taking place. Teaching staff followed up with review meetings for all students in the Secondary School, which has spanned the last two weeks and has focused on individual student attainment and areas for development in each subject area. The students then had discussions with their CAS advisers on the outcomes of their progress and what they will need to do in order to reach their goals.  Your child should be able to tell you about these meetings, if they have not already done so.

Year 11 students have been meeting with our school careers counsellor, Sharon Zhu, and Mr Robert Muntzer, our Deputy Principal and Diploma Coordinator, to review their options regarding universities they would like to attend and, consequently, to decide upon their subject choices in the Diploma.  This review process will be continued in the near future with the Year 12 and Year 13 students for their career options. You will be receiving an invitation letter to the parent consultation after the holiday, which will include information about the outcomes from these meetings from your child’s CAS adviser.  You will then have the opportunity to raise any questions or concerns you may have with individual teachers.

Parent consultations – 2 and 3 way conferences. We have moved the dates of the forthcoming Parent Consultations to 21st (3:45-7pm) and 22nd (3:45-5pm) October. The reasons for this move are firstly so that parents have the chance to read the outcomes of the Secondary school students meetings with their CAS advisers before the consultations.  This will help focus the discussions.  Secondly, the Primary school staff wish to be able to meet with parents over a more extended period (Monday, 20th to Thursday, 23rd October) so they can focus more clearly on each student.  By this time parents in Y2-6 will have also seen the start of the English Acquisition and Support programme and can therefore ask specific questions on this if required.  Specialists will be available at all these times if you wish to see any of them.  We do not intend to book times for specialists, only for homeroom teachers or CAS advisers. There will be no ECAs during the week beginning 20th October so that we can all concentrate on the 2 and 3 way conferences (consultations).  Block one ECAs will be extended by one week so that for ECAs that charge the number of sessions remain the same. Siblings will be booked in on the same day.  You will receive a form immediately after the holiday with booking options.  There will also be more detail concerning what can be covered in these2 and 3 way conferences.

Head of Secondary. The Board are pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Sandy Trull as Head of Secondary.  Her role is primarily to support the pastoral needs of the students throughout the Secondary.  She will take over the role previously undertaken by Ms Elaine Gillick.

Primary English Language Acquisition Team. As you will know from last week’s newsletter we now have two full time English Acquisition Support and Extension Teachers in the Primary, with the arrival of Mr Brandon Givens who has started teaching Y6 this week.  Y6 parents were invited to informally meet Mr Givens on 25th September from 3:45-4:30pm.  If you missed this opportunity and would like to meet him please, as usual, contact April (

This support team of Ms Judy Lai and Ms Ronna Fraser is joined by the PYP Coordinator, Ms Abhi Jain under the guidance of the Primary Deputy Principal, Ms Natalie O’Connor to support the students in both acquiring English and for the most able in extending their English.  This team’s efforts are mainly focused on Y2 to Y6.  These are the ages where there is the greatest range of learning needs under the guidance of one teacher with the support of a Teaching Assistant. From Y6 and above we restrict the entry of students depending on their English level.  Also from Y7 we run different classes for students depending on their English. From Nursery to Y1 learning is much more similar whether a student is a mother tongue speaker or not.  They are all learning phonics (the conversion of the written symbols to a sound, and the conversion of sounds to written symbols - spelling).  Of course, children in these years make different progress depending on the alacrity with which they pick up learning in English. 

The English Acquisition Teachers are currently focusing their support for English learning in Y2 to Y6 in three ways.  They are undertaking further assessment of the students to get more detailed information on their level of English Acquisition.  Of course, assessments have already been made by the class teachers, so those students in need of support or extension have already largely been identified.  This information has been used to devise groups of students or individuals who need focused support.  Sometimes this support is by withdrawing the students from the class and sometimes by supporting their learning in the classroom.

If a student is withdrawn from a class then they are obviously not present for some of the learning the rest of the class are doing.  Thought is given to where this withdrawal is best.  In order to make sure that the withdrawn students continue to get a balanced education, the lessons they miss may vary from week to week.  Of course, if they are missing from English their needs are being met by the extra differentiation of the additional support.  This support is planned in conjunction with the class teacher. We feel that it is difficult for students to learn two new languages at once especially at Y2-6.  Students who do not have either English or Chinese as their first, or strong language, may therefore be able to drop Chinese until they have a basic grounding in English.  If your child is one of these you will be contacted about this.

School Calendar. School is open to students this Friday.  I think I should have written that Friday was the last day of school before the Golden Week break, which would have made the Forthcoming Events dates clearer! Apologies for any lack of clarity. The School Calendar is always available on the school website just above the main title. You may wish to print a copy of this out as we are currently adding a number of events to this from its first publication.  Any changes will always be notified in my newsletter as well.

Emergency numbers. Please can all parents ensure that we have your latest contact numbers in case we need to contact you urgently at any point.  We really would like 3 numbers so that if one or two numbers (usually the mother and father) are unavailable then we have back up.  Please ensure if any of the numbers change that you inform us immediately by contacting We did have an incident two weeks ago where we could not contact the parents of one of the students when we had a problem.

Golden week holiday. We hope that you will all have a lovely Golden Week holiday whatever you choose or are able to do. School will be closed to all students from Monday, 29th September to Friday, 3rd October and to Secondary School students also on Monday, 6th and Tuesday, 7th October.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events                

Thursday, 25th                            IB Diploma information meeting for Year 10, 11 and 12 parents 4pm

Friday, 26th                                  Last school day before National Day (Golden week) Holiday

Monday October, 6th and        School open for Primary students (N-Y6)

Tuesday, 7th                                Staff training for MY and DP teachers

Wednesday, 8th                          School open for all students

Monday, 20th to Thursday, 23rd           Parent Consultations for Primary students

Tuesday, 21st and Wednesday, 22nd   Parent Consultations for Secondary 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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