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The Principal's Newsletter

Primary Years Units of Inquiry

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

Primary Years Units of Inquiry. As you will know the curriculum is organised in the Primary school around Units of Inquiry as we follow the IB PYP curriculum framework.  The following are the units for the next 6 weeks. We are always looking to use local knowledge or ideas to support the children’s exploration of a unit.  If you are an expert in any of these areas, or have any books or know websites that may assist us please let us know.  We like to take students on field trips where possible so again ideas about local availability of places to visit or people to contact, please contact school via the class teacher or to our PYP coordinator Abhi Jain (  We look forward to any contribution you are able to make so that we can have more resources for the students.

Do feel free to chat with your homeroom teacher about the unit.

Year level Theme- Central idea and Line Of Inquiry
Nursery 2 Theme: Where we are in place and time

Central idea: Houses and homes have changed with time

Concepts: Function, Causation, Change

*  Characteristics (materials) of different types of houses

*  Different parts (functions) of houses

*  How houses have changed over time


Reception Theme: How the world works

Central Idea: Transportation affects our daily life.

Concepts: Form, Function, Connection

*  Modes of transportation

*  Where and how you might go to different places.

*  Impact of transportation on us


Year 1 Theme: Sharing The Planet

Central Idea: Humans classify order to understand wildlife on our planet.

Concepts: Form, Function, Responsibility

Lines of Inquiry:

*  Types of animals

*  Classification of Animals

*  Our responsibility towards protection of wildlife

Year 2 Theme: How the world works

Central Idea: The world is made up of materials, which have different properties and uses.

Concepts: Form, Function, Connection

*  Types of materials.

*  Where materials come from.

*  Properties and uses of materials.


Year 3
Theme: How we organise ourselves

Central Idea: Food goes through many processes before it comes to us.

Concepts: Responsibility, Connection, Change

Lines of Inquiry:

*  Resources we get food from

*  Various process food goes through

*  Field to table

Year 4 Theme: How we organise ourselves

Central Idea: Advertising is intended to influence our economic activities

Concepts: Form, Function, Perspective

Lines of Inquiry:

*  Different economic activities

*  Elements of advertisements

*  The influence of advertisements on economic activities

Year 5 Theme: How we organise ourselves

Central Idea: Cities are organised by systems to meet the needs of the inhabitants.

Concepts: Function, Connection, Causation

Lines of Inquiry:

*  The different systems that make a city work.

*  Design and planning of cities.

*  Influences on cities and town planning.

Year 6 Theme: How we organise ourselves

Central Idea: Marketplaces depend on the ability to produce goods and supply services that can be exchanged

Concepts- Function, Causation, Responsibility

Lines of Inquiry:

*  Monetary and exchange

*  Ethics of the marketplace

*  How global movement and communication affect the availability of goods and services


School Uniform. Please can you ensure that your child comes in the school uniform as it is a requirement of the school.  Here is our updated policy to give further clarification.  If you have any difficulties with this policy or it raises questions for you please contact our liaison team in the first instance. Our uniform is smart, setting our students apart from casual visitors and other school students. It is comfortable and easy to wear and is something for us, as a school community, to be proud of.

Warm jacket in a style of the student’s choosing in any of the school’s colours (dark green / navy / maroon / charcoal)


Tracksuit jacket

Warm jacket in a style of the student’s choosing in any of the school’s colours (dark green / navy / maroon / charcoal)


Tracksuit jacket

White/green short/long-sleeved polo shirts White/green short/long-sleeved polo shirts
Khaki skirt (no more than 10cm above the knees) / trousers Khaki shorts / trousers
White/ beige/ black / maroon flat shoes in any style with short white socks and skin-coloured / navy-blue tights
Formal Wear
Long-sleeved white cotton button-up, collared shirt with long trousers (boys) or skirt (girls)
Physical Education Kit (To be changed into during break before Phys Ed and out of during the break after Phys Ed) Students in Y6 and below should come to school in suitable PE wear such as school Sports Tracksuit on PE days.
Sports shirt
Black / Blue shorts / Tracksuit pants
Training / Running shoes        


Hair must be well groomed, tidy and off the face of the student.

Any teacher has the right to request that hair be tied back in the interests of safety or hygiene.

Only hair colours in the natural human hair range are acceptable.

Ribbons or ties used for the hair must be either: dark green / navy-blue / beige / maroon / black


Medic alert bracelets are acceptable.

Other jewellery must be minimal.


Natural-looking makeup may be worn by senior (Year 10, 11, 12 & 13) students.


Natural-looking nail polish may be worn.


Shoes are closed and end below the ankles.  Boots may be worn with trousers in winter. These were two significant items from last week that you may have missed with all the other information that was going out

IB Diploma Programme Verification Visit. This week sees the culmination of a lot of hard work by the Secondary School teachers and administrators of the school.  We have visitors from the International Baccalaureate (IB) inspecting our school to judge our readiness to deliver the IB Diploma Programme (IB DP). Mr Matthew Thomas is the Visit Leader and Mr Sencer Donmek is the Visit Member. Both are experienced IB DP Coordinators and are working in international schools in Japan and Indonesia respectively. Hanova International School, Xi’an, therefore extends a warm welcome and best wishes to the IB Verification Team. There are also a number of parents, and, of course, the students also involved in meetings with this Verification Team.

A group of our Year 10 and Year 11 students will also be meeting with the visitors and this meeting will be on Friday at 9.00am in the Diploma Common/Study Room. With the exception of a tour of the school facilities on Wednesday afternoon, the various meetings will take place on the third floor – and so will not disrupt the learning in the school or its daily routine.  This programme preparation has been led by Robert Muntzer, Deputy (Secondary) and DP Coordinator-Designate.  Subject to successful authorisation, we aim to implement the DP from August 2015.  We hope to be able to give you the outcome of the visit before we break up for Christmas, after the IB Verification Team have sent their findings to the IB and their evaluation has been moderated. In the meantime, we would like to thank all of our Hanova community who have been part of this historical moment in the school’s history.

Board of Directors Support for the IB Diploma Programme. It’s been no secret that the Board of Directors at Hanova School has been determined and committed to becoming an IB World School since its foundation in 2012. Some parents who attended the last IB Diploma information evening will recall the Diploma subjects information. However, what many parents may not be aware of was the announcement made at that meeting. Being an inclusive, community-driven school, the Board have decided to give something back to our community. Given that it is a universally recognised high quality qualification, undertaking the full IB Diploma is quite expensive for parents.

We are therefore proud to announce that, as of August 2015, the Board will waive a percentage of fees related to Diploma students. All IB World Schools have to pay IB for their services, examinations etc. Part of this is the ‘IB Annual School Fee’. The majority of IB schools world-wide pass this on to parents as a part of their school fees. However, the Hanova Board will subsidise this IB fee by 50% for full Diploma students and by 25% for students taking Diploma Subject Courses (Certificates) – thus marking a significant saving for our parents. Furthermore, most school charge parents administrative fees for Diploma students because of all the external examinations and examination script deliveries. Again the Board have decided to waive these expenses and they will be covered by the school – not our parents. It has been decided that this policy will remain in effect for the next three years until it is reviewed in August 2018.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events                

Wednesday, 12th to Friday, 14th          Diploma Programme Verification Visit

Monday, 24th & Tuesday, 25th              IB PYP Consultant Visit

Tuesday, 25th & Thursday, 27th            Last sessions of ECA Block 1.  ECAs restart in January

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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