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The Principal's Newsletter

Appointment of Secondary School leadership team

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

Lecture at Shaanxi Normal University. We were most pleased that our Chinese Coordinator, Ms Julia Zhou was invited to present a lecture as one of the “Seventieth Anniversary” series speakers at Shaanxi Normal University. The topic was "The New Trends of Teaching Chinese through an International Perspective". It was well-received by more than 80 students and teachers. 

It is an honour to have the opportunity to share our knowledge and ideas with a broader educational community, and thank the university and particularly Ms Zhou.

University of South Florida, USA. We are seeking to prepare our students very well as they take the important decisions of what career they might wish to pursue and to which university they might apply.  Parents of students in the Secondary school will be aware that there have been individual meetings with the students to guide them in setting goals and to support them in achieving these.  As part of this process we intend to invite admission officers from some universities to talk to our students about the admission process for their universities. Parents of students from Y10 to Y12 will have already received this invitation. Ms. Brackenridge is the Admissions Recruiter & Adviser from University of South Florida, United States. She will make an introduction about University of South Florida and its admission policy.

The presentation will start at 2:30 pm tomorrow, 17th October, which is this Friday. The meeting will take place in the Auditorium and is open to all students and parents of Years 10 to 12.  We sincerely hope that you can attend if this is of interest to you. It is the first time this year we have a university representative coming, but we intend that there will have many university visits in the future. If you have any question, please feel free to contact our College counsellor Sharon Zhu at

IB Residential Excursions 2015 (formerly EOTC). We are very happy and excited to announce that we are going to present the proposed itineraries and programmes for the Secondary School excursions that are planned for May 2015. After extensive research and on-the-ground surveys, we have decided to take the students in Years 7 to 12 to Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. Whilst there is a considerable scope of C&S and 'CAS' activities available, both excursions will be curriculum-based and preparation for their Diploma studies.

Years 10 to 12 will be focusing on science projects, human sciences, Personal Project, 'TOK' and 'Extensive Essay' and CAS Action. They will be based at Pang Soong Lodge. Their excursion runs from Tuesday, May 12th to Monday, May 18th. Years 9 to 7 will be focusing more on CAS Service, human and natural sciences and an expedition. They will be based at Sanpatong Farm. Their excursion runs from Tuesday, May 19th to Monday, May 25th. Secondary School students will be given a presentation on their Residentials this Friday Assembly. Parents are encouraged to join us at 3.00pm in the Auditorium.

Alternatively, we will be repeating the presentations during the MYP Parents Consultations next Tuesday and Wednesday. The email from David English, our MYP Coordinator, will confirm the times on those days.

Curriculum Leadership Team (CLT) and Homework. As part of our commitment to IB requirements in terms of written and delivered academic curriculum, we have now established this management group in Secondary. Comprising of the six Heads of Faculty, the MYP Coordinator and the DP Coordinator, this group has been set up to coordinate the various academic subjects in each of the six IB Diploma faculty groups 1 to 6.

During our meeting yesterday, it was agreed to make a slight revision to our Secondary School homework policy. From next Monday, our students will be set homework on their designated day for each of their subjects and the homework will be collected the same day the following week. This will ensure that students are not set homework for the next day as this was causing some of our younger students undue stress.  

Secondary School Leadership Team (SSLT). With the appointment of our Head of Secondary School - Pastoral, Mrs Sandy Trull, we have established a new management forum in the Secondary School. Mrs Trull, David English and Robert Muntzer will be coordinating the policies and procedures we have for supporting our students in their non-academic affairs. This management group will be responsible for student counselling, behaviour, attendance, uniform and the day to day running of the Secondary School. David English and Robert Muntzer will focus on the academic requirements of the MYP and IB Diploma.

One significant issue emerged at the SSLT meeting yesterday that we wish to alert our parents to. You will recall from a previous newsletter that we have implemented an attendance policy that states that we have to conform to IB regulations in MYP and IB Diploma. Parents are again advised that students are required to attend every subject class. Attendance is now being monitored on Managebac in every subject each day. CAS Advisors keep a weekly check. 

As stated before, if a student misses three successive school days, they must provide a medical certificate or police report. If this isn't tendered, the student will be marked absent. If a student misses 4 days attendance, the CAS Adviser will contact the parents for a meeting. At this meeting, parents will be advised that if subsequent absences occur without medical reports or police reports, the student may be asked to repeat the whole year.

Staff Professional Development. As we have informed you before the ongoing professional development and training of our staff are very important to enhance the education that the children get and the development of our teaching team.  We have many very well qualified and experienced staff. In order to train the staff further, two in-school IB workshops ‘Making the PYP Happen’ and ‘Assessment in PYP’ have been organised. These cover training for teachers relatively new to the PYP, and ‘Assessment in PYP’ enhances the learning of those teachers more experienced in PYP.  These IB authorised workshops will help teachers to seek solutions and develop deeper understanding of the programme. Workshop leaders from Singapore and Guangzhou will be coming to train us on November 6th and 7th and thus they have been declared student free days in the Primary.  Secondary students will come to school as normal on those days.

Our next step as a school for our staff training will be to give opportunity to our teachers to visit other IB schools of China. A network of IB educators called ‘Job Alike’ has been set for this purpose. This involves coordination with schools in Beijing.  Through this platform our PYP teachers will meet teachers working with similar year levels in other IB schools and share best practices. The knowledge of IB PYP becomes stronger when we see others in action and explore various perspectives. We will continue to support our staff in their professional development and set higher goals for them to achieve success both personally and professionally.

Staff. We are very sorry to inform you that Ms Melissa Reed had to return unexpectedly last Thursday to USA owing to an urgent medical condition.  We continue to be in contact with her.  Cover has been arranged in the short term and arrangements are in place for the longer term.  Parents of students in relevant classes are informed accordingly.

Power Cut. Many apologies for the inconvenience of the school closing to the students after 1pm today, Thursday.  At the time of writing we do not expect the electric power to return till 7pm this evening.  We will, of course, check in with the security guards this evening.  The power was cut at 7:20 this morning.  At first we attempted to see if it was our internal transformer that had tripped out.  It turned out that the power company had planned maintenance work.  The system we had set up to gain notification of this broke down.  We are now adding another check in this to prevent a further repetition if at all possible. We cannot close the school without previously notifying parents owing to the disruption caused to parents and the potential to jeopardise the care of the children especially the younger ones.  Of course this decision depends on the severity of the situation in school and the length of notice we receive of a difficulty.  I now include, for new parents, the explanation adapted from an earlier newsletter to explain the decision I took today.

We were concerned that the water stored in the tanks would run out by lunchtime meaning that it was difficult to wash hands and impossible to flush toilets. With 300 people in the building we consider this unhygienic, even with the antiseptic wipes and gel with which we have now furnished all rooms. We therefore decided to close the school at the end of lunchtime and run the buses home 3½ hours early at 13:15. Our office staff spent the morning making sure clear arrangements were made for the children to arrive home safely – thank you for your cooperation with this, and your and our improved communication.  There were still a couple of parents we could not contact owing to changed phone numbers of which we haven’t been informed. Please ensure we have at least 3 numbers preferably for 3 different people in case we need to contact you in an emergency.

The safety and well-being of our students is our first priority.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events                

Friday, 17th                                                University of South Florida to Y10-12 2:30pm

Friday, 17th                                                Secondary IB Residentials assembly for Y7-13 (Parents welcome)

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

Tuesday, 21st and Thursday, 23rd         No ECAs during Parent Consultations

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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