Principal's Message

Principal's Message - Fri 2nd Jul 2021
Lowly Norgate

Dear Parents, Staff, Students, and Friends of BST,

It has been a lovely week with much happening across the campuses. Amongst many things, we have celebrated the graduation of Year 6 from Primary School, bid farewell to departing families and staff, completed a series of student transition events and published End of Year Reports. A fitting crescendo to the regular part of the school year, for sure.

School may be out for summer, but during the holiday, the school campuses will remain a hive of activity as we welcome and induct new teaching staff from overseas, renovate parts of the Showa building and plan for the new school year.

Additionally, next weekend the joint symposium on internationalism between BST, Showa Women’s University and Temple University Japan will take place. The first event of its kind involving the three institutions and hopefully the start of many more to come.  All details HERE.

A few weeks later in the holiday, fifty volunteers from BST will be working with Team GB at the Olympic Performance Lodge. In anticipation of both these events, I did want to publicly thank my colleagues Nora Yamada and Roisin Campbell for their superb leadership and organisation of both opportunities. 

I am sure we are all looking forward to a break over the holiday while at the same time also looking forward to a great start to the new school year later in the summer. As I noted in my end of year update earlier this week and accessibly again HERE, we have much to be thankful for as a school community, and I would like to reiterate my gratitude to you all for your ongoing support of the school.

Wherever you intend to spend the holiday, I hope you will remain safe and healthy. Please enjoy the time but please also stay vigilant and careful. I intend to write with a summer update in mid-August and welcome everyone to the new school year soon after. 

A final reminder that if you have not registered your travel plans with the school, please do so HERE. Please also remember that the mandatory 14-day quarantine period must be completed by all BST community members before they return to school. 

Best wishes to you all and a final farewell to the families and staff leaving BST today. As I have written before, go well and stay in touch.

Kind regards,

Paul Tough

Principal 

An electronic copy of the 2020-2021 yearbook is available on the Parent Hub 

https://www.bst.ac.jp/hub/communication/whole-school/~board/whole-school/post/yearbook-202-2021

 

 

Principal's Message - Friday 18th June 2021
Paul Tough

Dear Parents, Staff, Students, and Friends of BST,

I have been pleased with the enhanced level of communication and engagement between the school and our parent community throughout the year. This week’s Trustees Parent Open Evening exemplified this with 135 attendees. Thank you to everyone who joined the meeting and for the range of questions asked. The evening focused on themes from the recent Trustees Parent Survey, including Health and Safety, Communications, Facilities, Curriculum and Finance.

Thank you also to the 582 parents (a record number) who responded to the survey. A summary of the feedback can be accessed HERE. Next school year, we will continue to develop the range of forums and workshops available to the BST community and will look at ways in which future Trustee Parent Open Evenings can focus upon fewer topics in more depth.

This year I have also been pleased with the impact of the various focus groups and committees we have established. The School Advisory Committee (SAC) has provided me with valuable advice. At the same time, I know the Primary Parent Group has been a fantastic sounding board for Mrs Loran (Head of Primary). While the Communications Parent Group has had a significant role in developing our new approach to Communications, which will be launched by Mr Loran (Director of Operations) next week. Next school year, Mrs McCallum (Head of Secondary designate) will also be setting up a Secondary Parent Group, which I am sure will provide invaluable input on students' experience in Years 7-13.

In the meantime, I am thrilled by the developments in communications that will start to be implemented next week. I am confident that these changes will provide efficient and simpler ways of accessing relevant information for parents and the entire BST community. If you have time next week and have not already done so, I would encourage you to register for Mr Loran’s forum HERE. A recording of the forum and information explaining the changes in the school’s approach to communications will be available to all parents next week.

As I mentioned in last week’s edition of the Lion, we are asking all BST families and staff to provide information about their travel plans for the summer due to the ongoing coronavirus situation. The travel form can be accessed HERE. We are not anticipating any difficulties with the start of the new school year in September, but I will write to the entire community with an update in late August.

Finally, I wanted to end today’s piece by congratulating Siddharth, Jorja, Rio & Leon from Y3P. All four exemplified the BST Learner Profile attributes of confidence and creativity when they explained their recently written newspaper articles linked to a unit of learning on civilisations. All four budding journalists were exceptional and worthy of high praise for their reading and writing. 

As ever, if you have any questions about the topics in today’s newsletter or would like a one to one meeting, please let me know.
 
Best wishes for the weekend.

Paul Tough

Principal
The British School in Tokyo

 

Principal's Message - Friday 11th June 2021
Paul Tough

Dear Parents, Staff, Students, and Friends of BST,

Following recent information from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) indicating that schools can apply to become vaccination centres, we are in the process of assessing various options independently and in conjunction with our partners at Showa Women’s University (SWU) and Shibuya Kyoiku Gakuen (SKG). Once we have gathered more information and evaluated the related logistics, I will make the BST community aware of our plan and the related timeframe. With the government’s added pledge to have completed vaccinations for all residents by November, I am cautiously optimistic that we will make progress on this important project over the coming weeks.

With COVID numbers in Tokyo declining and the current State of Emergency predicted to lapse on June 20, we plan for the hybrid model in Secondary to end on June 18 and for external clubs to resume at our Shibuya campus and the Showa campus (with SWU approval) on the same weekend. Mr Thomas will update the Secondary School community in more detail on this intention. 

On a related note, I am aware that some community members will be travelling over the summer holiday, whether here in Japan or further afield. As is custom, we will be asking all BST families and staff to register their travel plans with the school in advance. I also ask that everyone be fully aware of the dates for the new school year on campus in August (Monday 30th).

https://www.bst.ac.jp/useful-information/term-dates

Thank you to everyone who completed the Trustees Survey in advance of next week’s (online) Trustee Parent Open Evening. Over the coming days, we will be reviewing the data to address significant themes and questions during next week’s session, following which we will publish the Survey's outcome to the entire school community. On a similar theme, and as promised, the minutes of the last School Advisory Committee (SAC) meeting of the year can be accessed via comms@bst.ac.jp.

Finally, I wanted to make you aware that this week the leadership team and members of the Board had the opportunity to visit the Mori Corporations offices in Roppongi for a presentation and update on the construction of the new primary school campus. The school’s project team, headed by Noriko Kosugi (Bursar) and Ben Loran (Director of Operations), meet weekly with our partners at Mori, but this week’s visit was a little different with opportunities to evaluate the progress of the project more broadly. Following the visit, I am pleased to report that construction remains on schedule, and no delays anticipated. Next school year, we will start run a series of information sessions on the new campus for our Primary parents.

If you have any questions about the topics in today’s newsletter or would like a one to one meeting, please let me know.
 
Best wishes for the weekend.

Paul Tough

Principal
The British School in Tokyo

 

Principal's Message - Friday 4th June 2021
Paul Tough

Dear Parents, Staff, Students, and Friends of BST, 

This week saw BST host the first of a series of so-called "Jobs Alike Workshops" (JAWS) as part of The Federation of British International Schools in Asia (FOBISIA) network. The workshop, which concentrated on Primary Mathematics, was organised and led superbly by my colleague Ms Kelsey Brown (Head of Primary Maths) and involved teachers from across the region sharing ideas and expertise. Next school year BST will also be hosting further workshops for FOBISIA staff with a focus on stretching and challenging students in their learning and the school’s new Learner Profile.

As many of you are aware, BST rejoined FOBISIA this year, and we have already seen significant benefits for students and staff even in the face of restrictions imposed by the pandemic. The benefits of membership are many. In particular, FOBISIA offers member schools a forum for discussion, networking and sharing best practice, offering peer-to-peer support at every level. It also provides opportunities for member schools to engage in a range of student enrichment activities. The Federation is also an essential source of guidance for its membership in the areas of quality assurance, safeguarding, recruitment and representation among official bodies and the UK Government.

This week the FOBISIA calendar of events for the 2021-2022 school year was published. We have begun to plan for student participation in the performing arts, academic study and sports competition. Many of these events will remain online during Term 1 and Term 2 of the new school year; however, we hope to enter a BST team in the Under 11 Games scheduled for Term 3 next year. The viability of the Games will obviously depend on numerous factors related to the pandemic and international travel but nevertheless, preparation for BST's return to FOBISIA's sporting arena will begin in earnest from September onwards. We intend to grow the depth of our FOBISIA squad and breadth of participation in sport more generally to enter teams in the Under 13 and Under 15 Games in due course. I am grateful to Mr Morris and the PE Department in both Primary and Secondary for leading this important development next year. 

Thank you to the parents who have contacted the school this week to inquire about the wearing of masks during PE lessons during the summer months. As the hot weather is now upon us, the PE Department has made alterations to their lessons this term to maximise physical activity within a safe environment. As such, the wearing of masks will be optional for students in these lessons. PE staff are also mindful of the need for continued hydration and the pacing of high-intensity activities to avoid the ill effects of excessive heat.

Thank you to those who have completed the Trustees Parent Survey. If you have not already done so, the deadline for completion is June 10, and the questions can be accessed HERE. We are currently in the midst of the final round of Board sub-committee meetings, with interesting discussion taking place at this week’s education, property and development sub-committee meetings. Next week the finance and legal affairs sub-committees will meet before the last full Board meeting of the year on June 17th

This week's education sub-committee meeting was the last for current chairperson Greg Mulheirn. Greg has been outstanding in his role and has dedicated many hours in support of the school. I know I speak on behalf of all the Leadership Team and committee members in thanking Greg for his service and wish him all the very best for the future. This week also saw the last School Advisory Meeting (SAC) of the school year, where many topics were covered. Minutes from the SAC meeting will be available in next week's edition of the Lion. 

If you have any questions about the topics in today’s newsletter or would like a one to one meeting, please let me know.

Best wishes for the weekend.

Paul Tough

Principal
The British School in Tokyo

 

Principal's Message - Friday 28th May 2021
Paul Tough

Dear Parents, Staff, Students, and Friends of BST,

The end of the school year is always a time tinged with sadness as we say farewell to students, staff and families departing BST for new adventures in their home countries or elsewhere. This year is no different as approximately seventy students depart the BST community with their families to return home. We also say a sad goodbye to staff who have made an impressive contribution to the school over many years. Indeed, embarking upon a career abroad can be a thrilling and hugely rewarding experience, especially when presented with the opportunity to work with students of the calibre of ours at BST. This year seven of the school’s one hundred and ten teachers are departing, plus of course, Mr Thomas and Mr Pearce from the leadership team. All the leaving staff are educators who go to great lengths to support, mentor and care for their students. During their time at the school, they have worked tirelessly to help students achieve their best. I pay tribute to them and commend their professionalism. They leave the school with our very best wishes for the future.

Leaving Teachers and Leadership Team Members

2020-2021

Mr Nolan Price

Secondary Art Teacher

Showa

Ms Miharu Obata

Secondary Maths Teacher

Showa

Mr Chris Spicer

Secondary Science Teacher

Showa

Mr Matthew Wall

Secondary Maths Teacher

Showa

Mr James Thomas

Secondary Head

Showa

Ms Eiko Yamanouchi

Head of Japanese

Showa

Ms Lyndsay McKenzie

Y6 Teacher & Leader

Showa

Mr Mark Pearce

Primary Deputy Head

Shibuya

Ms Eleanor Rhodes

Early Years Teacher

Shibuya

 

Equally, the students and families leaving at the end of term, I hope BST will retain a special place in your memories and heart. While you experience the world outside Japan, BST will always remain a constant. The school community will always look forward to supporting and hearing of your success as our most recent Alumni. Later this half term, I will make you aware of the new staff joining BST in August from the UK, Malaysia and Hong Kong. 

On a practical note, thank you to those parents who submitted suggestions for next week’s SAC meeting. The meeting is the last of the school year, and you will remember that the current committee members are standing down in September. I will be writing to the community shortly to ask for volunteers to join the SAC next year and highlight other opportunities for involvement in the life of the school. Next week also sees the last cycle of Board subcommittees taking place, with the last full Board meeting taking place soon after. 

Finally, on a related note, I wanted to remind everyone of the upcoming Trustee Parent Open Evening on Wednesday 16th June at 6.30pm. This is the second open evening of the school year. It will be an opportunity for the Board and the Leadership Team to highlight important developments and respond to topics from the Trustees Survey. Thank you to the parents who have already responded to the Trustees survey, which can be accessed HERE. The deadline for submitting responses is June 10th.

If you have any questions about the topics in today’s newsletter or would like a one to one meeting, please let me know.

Best wishes for the weekend.

Paul Tough

Principal
The British School in Tokyo