Principal's Message

Principal's Message - Friday 3rd July
Paul Tough
Dear Parents, Staff, Students, and Friends of BST,

What an extraordinary year it has been. When the school year began last August, nobody could have predicted what was to unfold. The pandemic that has enveloped the world since January has forced all of us to re-evaluate how we live our lives.

I know that the impact of the pandemic has had significant consequences for us all. Throughout all of these difficult times, the school made a series of commitments. In particular, we said that students would continue to learn and that we would keep members of our community safe. Working together as a community was at the heart of us honouring these commitments. There have been difficulties, for sure, but throughout BST has been resolute in its response to the crisis.

Indeed, as I reflect upon the school year, I am grateful for the resilience and patience shown by the school community. The BST community, which we are all part of, is built on the cooperation and commitment of our staff and parents. It is through working together that our students can thrive in the way that they do. This is personified of course by our fantastic PTA Committee who this year have continued to support the school in a myriad of ways.

I know that the summer that lies ahead will be unusual. For many of us, the break is usually a time to head to catch up with family around the world and to spend time with our friends. While the majority of us will be spending the break here in Japan, I hope that you still have time to do all of these things - even if technology still has to play its part.

For those families and staff leaving BST today, I extend my very best wishes to you all. Thank you for your contributions to the school during your time with us. You will be missed, but please remember that you will always be part of the BST community wherever you are in the world.

Finally, during the summer break, we will be preparing for the school campuses to reopen fully with all students back in class at the start of the new school year following a regular schedule. This will mean that online learning and modified timetables will cease. We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation in Tokyo closely over the coming weeks and I will write to the entire community on August 17th to confirm final arrangements for September. In advance of this, I encourage all members of the school community to read the information again here as it explains the school’s response to a range of different scenarios in the future.

I hope everyone enjoys the summer holiday.

Paul Tough

Principal

Principal's Message - Friday 26th June
Paul Tough
Dear Parents, Staff, Students, and Friends of BST,

"The only constant in life is change"- Heraclitus.

I think we would all agree that change is an inevitable part of life. It happens whether we are ready for it or not. One of the secrets of living a happy and successful life is to learn how to deal with the process of change. This, of course, can be daunting for adults let alone for young people. The school's end of term transition events are designed to help students navigate the move from one year group to another and to successfully face the unknown ready for the start of the new school year. I'm thankful we have been able to run the transition days before the summer holidays as students who successfully start the new school year are likely to maintain higher levels of happiness and achievement as the year progresses.

The process of change also impacts staff at BST. Next week will be the last at BST for teachers who are returning to their home countries or embarking upon new challenges in other parts of the world. Teachers and teaching assistants at our school go to great lengths to support, mentor and care for their students. During their time at the school, this year's leavers have worked tirelessly to help their students achieve their best. I pay tribute to them all and commend their dedication and professionalism. On behalf of the school community, I wish them all the very best for the future. We will miss them all, but they will always remain part of the BST extended community wherever they are in the world.

Leaving Teachers 

Destination 

 

Teachers Joining 

Coming from

Tamsin O' dell

UK

 

Caroline McCallum

UK

Ruth Unsworth

UK

 

Eleanor Loran

Hong Kong

Gillian Pritchard

UK

 

Lyndsay McKenzie

Hong Kong

Stephen Pritchard

UK

 

Siobhan Bailey

UK

Paul Cawood

UK

 

James Dennett

UK

Richard Taylor

Netherlands

 

Zarina Glenn

Dubai

Ben Hazzard

UK

 

Anne Pushpanathan

UK

Mireia Bickley

UK

 

Matthew Wall 

UK

Magali Matsumiya

UK

 

Lois Adams

UK

Robin Fellerman

UK

 

Sadaf Kahn

UK

Chris Speller

UK

 

Amandine Morel

Hong Kong

Adam Whybro

Georgia

 

Yuki Sugimura

Thailand

David Reid

UK

 

Emily Hartshorne

Thailand

Jonathan Travis

Brazil

 

Charlotte Mitchell

Italy

Camilla Scott

Brazil

 

David Saranam 

China

Philip Liebman

Japan

 

Martin Kindness

Singapore

Adam Gouha

Doha

 

 

 

 

The new staff joining the school in August were recruited between October and March of this school year and their contribution to the life at BST is eagerly anticipated, as I'm confident they will make a positive impression. Fingers crossed that we can get them all to Japan over the summer, as I know they are all looking forward to joining the school community.

The start of the new school year will also see changes to the school's Extended Senior Leadership Team (ESLT). The ESLT operate very much as a whole school team with the concepts of "teams within teams" is a strong feature as is the principle of a one-school approach.

BST's Extended Senior Leadership Team from August is as follows:

Principal

Paul Tough

Bursar

TBC

Director of Operations

Ben Loran (new)

Head of Secondary

James Thomas

Deputy Head of Secondary (Years 10-13)

Duncan Grey

Deputy Head of Secondary (Years 7-9)

Caroline McCallum (new)

Assistant Head

Alison Woods

Assistant Head

Maja Trachonitis

Head of Primary

Fiona Read

Deputy Head of Primary (Showa)

Karl Wilcox

Deputy Head of Primary (Shibuya)

Eleanor Loran (new)

Assistant Head

Mark Pearce

 

Next year promises to be a great year as we launch the school's new Strategic Plan and introduce a revised Learner Profile and Mission and Vision. I look forward to working with my colleagues (existing and new) and the broader BST community in exploring the new guiding statements and strategic commitments in due course.

Best wishes for the weekend.

Paul Tough Principal

Principal's Message - Friday 19th June
Paul Tough
Dear Parents, Staff, Students, and Friends of BST,

The period since March has been exceptionally challenging for us all, but we have faced the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with growing confidence and in unison. We are indeed fortunate to have a strong community at BST. I am acutely aware of the hard work and time invested by staff and parents into the daily life of the school during regular times, let alone during the period of campus closure and distance learning. As such, I want to take this opportunity to thank all members of the BST community for their ongoing support of the school through this period and looking ahead to stress how optimistic I am for the school’s future.

It has been wonderful to see students and staff back in increasing numbers over the last two weeks and we are aiming to start the new school year in full with everyone again on the campuses. That said, we will need to remain vigilant over the summer and respond flexibly to the situation within Japan and within our school context. To this end, we have developed a decision-making matrix for use during the summer and throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. I encourage all members of the community to read the information here as it explains the school’s anticipated response to a range of potential scenarios in the future. Following the last two weeks where the school campuses have reopened, we have learnt much and as such will revise our health and safety guidelines over the summer, which in term may impact some of the criteria included in this document. Any revision will be communicated to the community in due course too.

Current travel restrictions are a concern for us, as we need to ensure our new staff from overseas can start working with us at the start of the new school year. We are hopeful of getting our new staff to Tokyo over the summer, but if current circumstances were to prevail, it is highly likely that new staff and their families will arrive at different times in August and a worst-case scenario into the first term in September. The implications of this are significant for the operation of the school, but please rest assure that some creative thinking is taking place in terms of how we will manage the situation. I remain optimistic and hopeful of a positive outcome before August.

The week at school has been truly brilliant. Highlights for me have included today’s exceptional Egypt project day in Year 3 and Year 13 students' wonderful graduation ceremony. The graduation ceremony was a delight as it would have been incredibly disappointing if we could not celebrate our senior students' contribution to the life of the school. Year 13 have endured a lot of challenges this year including cancellation of A-Level examinations, and of course faced prolonged uncertainty over plans for University and life beyond BST. That said, both individually and collectively, Year 13 have faced each difficulty calmly and with resilience and as such, they will be fortified, and well equipped for life beyond school. I know I speak for all the school community in wishing Year 13 all the very best for the future.

This week crucial development work has been completed in the areas of Teaching and Learning, International Mindedness and the school's Mission and Vision. I’m grateful to all the staff and parents who have contributed to these projects and I am excited at the prospect of us launching each at the start of the new school year with all the community. The outcome of this work will indeed be crucial in guiding the development of the school for many years to come. More of this in due course.

Finally, as we come to the end of the year, we will be saying farewell to colleagues and families who are leaving us to start new adventures in other parts of the world. Next week I will give you an update on all the staff leaving and a summary of our new joiners in the summer. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the weekend.

Paul Tough

Principal

Principal's Message - Term 2A Week 6
Paul Tough

Dear Parents, Staff, Students and Friends of BST,

"Our privileges can be no greater than our obligations." - Anonymous 

This half term, I have been reminded on countless occasions that culture is a crucial factor in a school's success and that the elements that create a positive school culture are many and far-reaching. Indeed, what constitutes school culture is not abstract or a mass of intangibles, but something that can be identified and developed - values, behaviours, attitudes, expectations, routines, teaching approaches, traditions and more.

That said, for me, the bedrock of all successful school cultures is positive and mutually supportive relationships. Indeed, successful schools have at their heart overlapping interactions among all the members of the school community. BST is no different to this. What makes our school such a positive environment is the role played by each individual in the success of the whole, working in common purpose to ensure that every student can grow, learn and thrive as part of a happy and proud school community.

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to a successful half term. BST staff members have been outstanding in every respect with their extensive and varied commitment to the cause. Also, parents in all sections of the school have made invaluable contributions in many different ways. In particular, I wanted to thank the Spring Fair Committee members for their brilliant work over many months. The Fair promises to be one of the highlights of the year and I am sincerely grateful to everyone involved for their collective effort.

Of course, it is our students that have continued to demonstrate this half term why it is a joy and privilege to be part of the school community. Whether in learning in class, participating in sport, representing the school overseas, performing on stage or in daily interactions around the school BST students shine at every turn and are worthy of the highest praise. With this in mind, I wanted to finish this week's newsletter by congratulating Year 4 student Runa  for her success in the American Protégé International Piano & Strings Competition 2020. Runa was second in the competition and as a result, will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City later this year. Well done Runa! 

Congratulations also to Year 3 School Council members Lucia-Grace, Ami, Lucas and Rio who, under the guidance of Ms Hawkes and Mrs Weeks, delivered the ¥232,000 that BST raised at the Funky Sock Day to WWF Japan. WWF Japan will be pooling this amazing donation along with other donations to the Australia Bushfire emergency campaign, and send it to WWF Australia. Mrs Weeks and Ms Hawkes were suitably impressed by the students as they acted as excellent ambassadors for the school.

Best wishes for the half-term holiday. Given the current global health concerns, please be vigilant, wise and stay safe if you are travelling here in Japan or overseas. 

Paul Tough

Principal 

Principal's Message - Term 2A Week 5
Paul Tough

Dear Parents, Staff, Students and Friends of BST,

This week at BST has been one of action and debate. Students and staff have experienced the vibrancy of an international school such as ours, and parents have seized the opportunity to share their thoughts on BST's purpose and direction.

Reports from Hakuba, Miyazaki and Cambodia suggest that everyone has enjoyed a brilliant week of diverse learning in different contexts. Experiences such as these are hugely beneficial for our students and I am grateful to all the BST staff who have contributed to the success of the trips, in particular the trip leaders and Dr Reilly, for their sterling leadership.

I wanted also to praise our Senior Students for their studiousness and commitment to their mock examinations this week. Indeed, there has been a sense of quiet yet nervous determination within the Secondary School since Monday. The pressure and expectations associated with examinations are tough to handle, yet within our educational context, a fundamental challenge to master. I trust, therefore, that this week’s experience will stand our students in good stead for the future.

This week’s parent forums on the ‘Why of BST’ were great with lots of discussion around the school's guiding statements. Thank you to all the parents who attended and shared their thoughts. The next step of the process will involve BST staff, students and trustees evaluating our statements too. The process aims to provide renewed clarity about what BST proudly stands for and seeks to achieve as we begin the next stage in the school's evolution.

Finally, a reminder that Clive Leach will be working with students and staff next week at BST. He is also hosting an introductory session for parents on positive education and its benefits for students and the broader school community. If you are interested in joining the session, we would be delighted to see you. Please sign up here.

As ever, if you have any questions about the above or any other issue, please do contact me. In the meantime, best wishes for the weekend.

Paul Tough

Principal