It has been a very exciting year of advancement for BISP, and I am confident that future developments will greatly enhance the learning environment and opportunities for our students. Our new teachers for the next academic year have been confirmed, and several new initiatives are in the investigation and planning stage.

While we are gaining a strong, world-wide reputation for certain sporting activities, the management team of the school is just as determined to develop all aspects of the curriculum to provide a broad and balanced education at the very highest possible level. Though the sports academies aptly demonstrate what the school is capable of achieving, they represent but a fraction of our ambition.

I offer the following as an example:

– There is a very successful Business Academy functioning in the school. This provides students with the opportunity to develop and maintain small businesses and is coordinated by the Business Studies and Economics teachers; it is hoped to establish a ‘Charitable Business’ managed by the Academy in support of our efforts to build schools in areas hit by natural disasters.

– The Art and Design Academy is functioning well, and takes on commissions from any interested businesses in our community. Art therapy is also a strong strand of the work undertaken by our Art Department.

– The Music programme has re-emphasised the importance of theory and the provision of instrumental opportunities across the school. A major investment in musical instruments is being made for the next academic year. At management insistence the study of music will be strongly theoretically based and will require just as much intellectual rigour and discipline as studying for any other subject on the curriculum. Our insistence on ‘performance’ at the very highest standard will be maintained.

– A Hydroponic Research Centre is being developed on the top floor of the Maintenance building. This environmental project will impact upon all levels in the school over the next few years with the active involvement of all age groups (and also provide another Business Academy opportunity as fresh foodstuffs will be marketed).

– The school is establishing a STEM Academy (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). This is an initiative of the subject teachers in these fields – they too wish to provide as many opportunities to go beyond the constraints of examination curricula as possible and develop experiences way beyond the traditional classroom syllabuses. This is a particularly exciting initiative.

– Plans are in place to broaden our media and digital communication base; news broadcast by students is one element, and film making another.

– There has been a recent whole school drive to further improve and monitor the English language acquisition of students. A new Director of English position has been created to coordinate the many different strands of English across the whole school, including all assessment and support strategies. All students will be required to pass the Cambridge First Certificate examinations in order to progress to the IGCSE programme in Year 10.

The number of universities interested in our student body has increased dramatically over the last year. This can be put down not only to the energy of our College Counseling team, but also to the fact that we are being increasingly recognized as a centre of excellence.

We are attracting applications from around the world for both academic and for sporting places and our university fair will attract record numbers of universities in the coming year. It is also worth noting that the top athletes are being attracted to the school because of their wish to succeed academically, and at the highest level, without compromising their commitment and progress towards sporting success.

– Our external examination results are as good, and as consistent as at any time in the school’s history, and I am confident that these will be further improved upon as we continue to target our professional development upon ‘teaching and learning’ strategies in the year ahead. Such developments will build upon the excellent work already undertaken – and with a particular emphasis in the Primary section upon ‘personalised learning’, pedagogical practice’, and the development of ‘expert learners’.

As a staff we are also actively examining strategies to raise the motivation and resilience levels of students throughout the school – research suggests that these are, by far, the most important attributes of effective learners.

The academic team, from Little Ducks through to the IB Diploma, is stronger than any that I have worked with in my career, and this will result in exceptional learning opportunities for all our students at every level.

I would like to conclude by stating (unequivocally and ungrammatically) that…

…‘you ain’t seen nothing yet!’

With my very best regards,

Neil Richards

For more information, contact Headmaster Neil Richards: [email protected]