Dear Parents, Staff, Students, and Friends of BST,
It has been a lovely week across both campuses, and I have been impressed with the range of learning taking place. Historical fiction has featured prominently, and I am delighted to make you aware that Zoya Subramanian (currently in Year 7) was one of the winners in the prestigious Historical Association Fictional Story Writing Competition. Zoya‘s story “The Independence Diary” (submitted when in Year 6) was selected from over 1000 entries globally. The competition judges noted that Zoya’s “very moving story about Indian Independence that gives a very personal angle to a great historical event.” I know you will want to join me in congratulating Zoya on her outstanding achievement.
This week The PTA Committee met for the first time, and the first round of Board of Trustees subcommittee meetings started. The PTA and Trustees work tirelessly in support of the school, and I am very grateful for their commitment in time, energy and expertise. Later in the month, the first meeting of the School Advisory Committee (SAC) will take place with parent and staff representatives meeting with me monthly. I am looking forward to working with the Committee again this year as it continues to have the remit of discussing the school’s educational provision. I am delighted to make you aware that the SAC membership for 2020-2021 remains the same as last year - Mrs Sonia Jackson Henrich, Mrs Marisa Gelencser, Mr David Wilkinson, Mr Nathaniel Rowe, Mrs Donella Nemoto, Mr Richard Paterson and Mr Christopher Parsons. Proposed agenda items to be discussed or questions to be raised at the meetings can be sent to the Committee at email@example.com
In last week’s newsletter, I made you aware that I will be hosting, with my colleagues, a series of forums this term on the school’s new Strategic Plan (soon to be published), our new framework for Teaching and Learning and the revised Mission and Vision. Due to the restrictions placed on the school due to COVID, these sessions will be via Zoom and will take place on the dates and times below. If you would like to attend one of the sessions and receive a Zoom link, please sign up here.
October 12 9am-10:30am (Mission and Vision / Strategic Plan)
October 28 6pm-7:30pm (Mission and Vision / Strategic Plan)
October 29 9am-10:30am (Mission and Vision / Strategic Plan)
Additionally, the Board of Trustees will be hosting an online Open Evening on October 15 between 6:30pm and 8:30pm with the annual community survey sent to parents next week. If you would like to attend the Board of Trustees Open Evening and receive a Zoom link, please sign up here.
High expectations and the pursuit of excellence are fundamental to the school’s Strategic Plan. We are committed to ensuring that we draw upon the best of British and international education for the benefit of all our students. As such, our strategic intent is bold, ambitious and highly achievable. It is to ensure BST transitions from being one of the best international schools in Japan to being one of the best schools in the world. This will be achieved through concentrating upon four strategic priorities: learning, identity, community and infrastructure. A series of focus areas and commitments relate to each strategic priority, and I will be publishing these to the community before half term and in advance of the parent forums.
The development of high-quality teaching and learning, coupled with curriculum design, will also be of significant importance over the next three years. Indeed, schools are much more than a collection of buildings, facilities and resources. The best schools worldwide prioritise learning and encourage creativity and innovation. Our aim, therefore, is to create more opportunities for BST learners to take more ownership of their learning, to be challenged in their education, for character strengths to be developed and for the curriculum to be organised through big ideas and concepts. As part of this plan, I am delighted to make you aware that the school is in partnership with Bronwyn MacLeod formerly of the Gerric Centre of the University of New South Wales. Bronwyn will be working throughout the year with initially 16 teachers from Primary and Secondary to develop the school’s approach to challenging students at BST in their learning. I look forward to updating you on this in due course and to evaluating the impact for students of this development area. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this or any other area mentioned in today’s newsletter, please let me know.
Best wishes for the weekend.
The British School in Tokyo