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The Principal's Newsletter

IB Diploma Programme Authorisation Celebration

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

IB Diploma Celebration. We celebrated this landmark achievement in Hanova’s history on Tuesday. The Board were delighted to host this event, and to welcome parents and students from Y10 and 11 along with the teaching and support staff who have done so much to enable the school to attain its status as a World School for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP).  We were honoured to have YangZhen Yu, Director of Social Development Bureau, ChanBa Ecological District and FengYu, Deputy Director of the Folk Organisation in Shaanxi Province, present the school with its IB DP certificate.  After presentations from Mr YangZhen Yu, Mr Hughes, our Board of Directors and Mr Muntzer, the IB Diploma Coordinator, our invited parents and students enjoyed a hot and cold buffet dinner, accompanied by champagne, wine and fruit juice. The ceremony was concluded in a fabulous firework display. We would like to thank the students and parents who attended this event - and a special thank you to our students who acted as our very smartly-dressed hosts and hostesses. 

We are grateful for the support and partnership we have with ChanBa who are providing us with the land on which we will build our new school for a thousand students.  We are the first school in Central and North West China to be awarded this IBDP status enabling students in Xi’an to study and achieve the IB Diploma, the gold standard for entry to top universities worldwide.

Upcoming IB visit for the PYP. After celebrating our IBDP success now it’s time to focus our energy and resources towards the Primary Years Programme (PYP).  Our PYP consultant’s visit is coming up next week on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The PYP staff and students are well prepared and looking forward to the two days visit which will lead us towards PYP authorisation soon. We would like to thank our staff for working tirelessly towards making the vision of our Board of having a world-class IB school come true.

New staff appointments. Next week we welcome Melissa Biglands and Caleb Hewitt-Jones a teaching couple from Australia.  Ms Biglands joins as Primary Years Programme (PYP) Coordinator initially working to support Ms Abhi Jain. Mr Hewitt-Jones will be our Counsellor and Special Needs Coordinator for the Secondary school. Ms Young Mi Park will also soon be joining us, straight after the Chinese New Year holiday as teacher of Korean Language and Literature in the Diploma and Middle Years.  She will be spending much of this semester getting to know the school and students and preparing for the introduction of the Diploma Programme from August.  She has already been attending planning meetings. These appointments again show the high level of investment that the Board are committing to the school as we continue to develop.

Primary Parent Consultations. It was lovely to see so many of our primary parents this week attending our parent consultations.  If you weren’t able to attend for any reason then please feel free to contact your child’s homeroom teacher or our Parent liaison team.

Year 9 University and Careers Options. Sharon Zhu, our University and Careers Counsellor, and Robert Muntzer, have been individually meeting with Year 10 student over the last few weeks. After the Chinese New Year holidays, they will be meeting with the Year 9 students. As you are aware, students in Year 10 have to choose subjects that will prepare them for their IB Diploma subjects in Year 12.

However, before they can make informed choices, students and parents need to start thinking about what universities and what university courses the students need to graduate into their preferred profession or vocation. It is therefore suggested that Year 9 students and parents start to discuss this as a family so that we can have a clearer picture of what Year 10 subjects they need to take.

University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiaotong University Joint Institute Summer Camp. The University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiaotong University Joint Institute is planning a summer camp for our students. The aim of the camp is to provide our students with a sample of college experience in Engineering. They are designing a week long engineering project for the summer camp students.  The University faculty will support our students to give them a taste of what they might learn and do in the future. The camp is planned for the beginning of August. This is open to students from Year 11 and Year 12.

Please contact our College Counsellor Sharon Zhu by email ( or by phone (+86 18523858055) if you are interested or have any questions about the summer camp or Michigan Joint Institute.

Chinese New Year Assemblies: Chinese New Year is by far the most important and biggest festival in China and for Chinese diaspora around the world.  We are holding small events to celebrate this forthcoming event.

Primary. We would love to invite our primary parents to the PYP Chinese New Year Celebration. We have organised a special assembly where our primary students will experience aspects of the Chinese culture.  The children will perform in a variety of ways, from playing the violin, to a demonstration of paper cutting, to poetry recitation and even to tap dancing! There can be no better way to celebrate the success of our students than through various forms of art. The special assembly is on Thursday, 12th February from 10:30-11:45.  We welcome you all in celebrating the Chinese culture with us.  You will also have the pleasure of walking through some visual artwork created by our students on this occasion.

Secondary. Students will begin their Chinese New Year Celebrations at school on Friday, 13th February.

There will be 2 Interhouse competitions, which will run during the school day:

  1. Chinese Calligraphy Competition, which has been organised by our dedicated Chinese teachers.
  2. Each House will create a tray of eats, Imperial Nibbles. They have to be creatively presented to reflect Chinese New Year at Hanova. The eats will be presented up on stage after the student performances and will be judged on their beauty and their taste!

Our cultural programme will begin in the auditorium at 2.15pm where we will be treated to a great variety of student performances. Finally the house competitions will be judged and the winning house will be announced before we begin eating our Imperial Nibbles and what promises to be some great food sent along by the parents! All parents are welcome to join us from 2.15 in the auditorium, if you are able to join us, please let Ms Zena Yang ( know so that we can arrange enough seating.

Please remember that the last day of school before the Chinese New Year holiday is Friday, 13th February.  School will reopen on Monday, 2nd March.  We wish you a lovely holiday whether you intend to spend the time in a traditional Chinese manner with your family or whatever you do.  We wish you a Happy and Prosperous Year of the Sheep.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes


Forthcoming events                

Monday, 2nd to Friday, 6th Primary Parent consultations week

Tuesday, 10th Wednesday, 11th           PYP Consultant visit

Thursday, 12th               Chinese New Year event (Primary)

Friday, 13th                    Chinese New Year event (Secondary)

Friday, 13th                    Last day before Chinese New Year holiday


Monday, 2nd                  School reopens to 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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