The 2022/23 Academic Year has been an extraordinary year in the Primary (Years 1-6) years at BISP: ‘extraordinary’ in the sense of ‘extra ordinary’ or perhaps ‘ordinary and then some’! A return to ‘ordinary’, after the disruptions of previous years due to the pandemic has been welcome, but ordinary is not enough for us – we have taken things to that extra level.
Our mission at BISP is to inspire learning, nurture wellbeing and ignite passion. Our drive to ‘inspire learning’ has not only seen us return to the ‘ordinary’ full range of face-to-face classroom teaching across the curriculum but actually enhance that programme. So we now have weekly timetabled Computer Science lessons for all children in Years 1-6, in which they learn coding, robotics and other relevant tech-based skills. Indeed, our focus on technology has seen us ensuring the provision of a dedicated iPad for each child in Years 1-4 as well as the installation of new, improved interactive display facilities in a number of classrooms.
We have found that demand for places in Years 1-6 has been greater than ever, with classes at or approaching capacity throughout. As a proportion of these new arrivals had limited English fluency, we responded by employing three extra EAL (English as an Additional Language) teachers so that we could run dedicated classes for those children with the greatest needs. This allowed us to inspire learning at an appropriate level for each student whilst enabling those with more advanced English skills to continue to progress at their relevant pace. Standardised assessment data has shown the success of this: those children with limited English have made tremendous progress in learning the language.
Our drive to ‘nurture wellbeing’ has seen us not only continuing with our well-established programme of timetabled wellbeing lessons but also our focus on the whole school’s values of Respect, Compassion and Integrity. BISP remains a friendly, happy, welcoming environment, a feature frequently commented on by visitors. This year has also seen the full re-integration of our community on site. Parents have been able to visit their children’s classes, come and support (and join in!) events such as Sports Day and lunchtime music concerts, and make use of the facilities themselves for sports, language learning and socialising.
Our drive to ‘ignite passion’ is a thread that runs through everything we do. To many observers, it is most visible in our Arts and Sports programmes. This year saw not only tremendous work in the visual arts (who could forget the wonderful Year 2 Art display?) but also the performing arts. There was a fantastic Christmas production featuring all children in Years 1-3, and a rousing summer performance of songs from Oliver performed by children in Years 4-6. Primary children also participated in the Shakespeare Festival, and performed alongside Secondary children in ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’. Then, of course, there was a full programme of musical performances, memorably including the Primary Rock Band winning first place in the whole school Battle of the Bands!
Highlights in our sports programme were similarly impressive. Primary children enjoyed the full internal programme of Cross Country, Sports Day and Swimming Gala for the first time in four years. Inter-school competition was enjoyed in an increasing number of events including PISAC Athletics and great success in the returning BISP Soccer 7s. Impressive performances were seen in our key sports of swimming, tennis and golf as well as football, with keen participation in a number of other sports. Particularly worth mentioning is the growing involvement of Primary-aged children in our dance and gymnastics programmes, with a recent gold medal obtained in the latter at a competition in Bangkok.
An extra-ordinary year indeed! We are fortunate to have an extraordinary staff of teachers, teaching assistants, and coaches who work tirelessly every day to make our mission a reality. Credit also to the positive, enthusiastic support of the parents which helps make BISP such an extraordinary school. As we bid farewell to our BISP Primary Principal Mr. Ken Page, we are filled with immense gratitude for his service and leadership over the years. We wish him a pleasant and happy retirement.
It has been an extraordinary year; we expect 2023-2024 to be extraordinary too!