Teaching: What is the standout feature of your school’s
deliver an ‘enhanced’ English National Curriculum, tailored for the
international market, up to the age of 14. For older students, we offer
International GCSE examinations, which are internationally recognised as a formal
qualification at age 16 – this is a unique feature about our system. Students
then take the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma from age 16. All these
qualifications offer outstanding transition to other school systems when you
leave Beijing. We also have a full German Primary School (Thuringa curriculum)
for Klasse 1-4. Above all, our aim is to
offer academic excellence while avoiding ‘exam factory’ hothousing. Our entire
curriculum aims to develop students as confident, socially aware and respectful
young people who are very happy in their learning.
Who owns and manages the school, and who sets the budgets?
The school is owned by the Nord Anglia
International Education family, which has 31 schools around the globe, offering
unparalleled opportunity to link with 20,000 students worldwide and gain from
this experience through our global activity. The school is managed by a
Principal, supported by Heads of Primary and Secondary School in school, and by
a strong China Regional Team based in Shanghai. The overall budget is set by
our Head Office but managed by the Principal and in-school team.
What do the fees cover, and will there be additional fees later in the year?
As well as covering all tuition, including curriculum
resources, books, our fees more unusually also cover trips which are directly
related to the curriculum, including a week-long annual residential for all
students aged 6 and up. We have a massive programme of extra-curricular
activities at lunchtime and after school, which is free of charge. Transport for
this is included in other fees. Lunch and bus fees are additional, as is the
Do you have a policy on the mix of nationalities?
Yes, we believe that as an international
school, it is crucially important to maintain a wide and balanced mix of
nationalities and we are proud that our student numbers are well balanced from
across the world. On occasion, this does mean that we have to operate waiting
lists. We do however try to keep families together, so will always try to be
flexible where siblings are concerned.
Teaching assistants: If you have teaching assistants in the classroom,
what are their responsibilities?
class in the Primary School has a teaching assistant who will cover a range of
activities to support the teacher and individual students. They’re fully
involved in the planning of lessons and understand the lesson outcomes, so that
they can genuinely be a second teacher in the room. They’re also invaluable
assistants in activities – ranging from swimming to school trips – to ensure
that children are safe and secure. We also use our teaching assistants as
monitors on the ASA bus rides home for added security.
activities: Are there fees for joining the ASA programme and who runs it?
All the ASAs offered by the school are free
of charge. We do very occasionally work with outside providers to offer
enhanced activities, but these generally take place outside the school’s ASA
time. The ASAs are run by specialists from within the school and we seek
external expertise if it’s not available internally.
Languages: What languages are compulsory to learn, and
what are by choice?
vast majority of children throughout the school learn Mandarin Chinese as we
believe this is an important part of immersion in the culture of our host
country. We also offer native language programmes as required by students and
parents. These have recently included Dutch, Finnish, French, German and
Swedish. In the secondary school, students have the opportunity to study
French, German or Spanish, as we recognise the demands of returning to their
home countries. Chinese, French, German and Spanish are all offered to IGCSE level,
and these plus Korean are available in the IB Diploma.
Is school lunch compulsory and how much does it cost? What is on the menu?
We see school lunch as an essential part of
our school day as well as an important social activity, giving students a
healthy and nutritious meal. Every day features a Western and an Asian option,
as well as a special, a full salad bar and a sandwich bar. The menu is
regularly reviewed by a Food Committee that includes students and parents who
assist in the constant process of review and improvement. It costs 30RMB for
the full menu.
Quality: What air quality controls do you have in place? What is your AQI
cut-off for outdoor play?
We have a strong policy that allows outdoor
play above AQI 200, except for our youngest children. We also monitor very
closely the air within the building to ensure a healthy environment. We have
constructed a fully pressurised Sports Dome and an advance integrated system of
air purification throughout the building, using ceiling mounted purifiers,
along with air curtains and large scale purifiers in public spaces. The whole
system is regularly monitored by independent tests, which are undertaken on bad
pollution days to ensure children remain safe and healthy.
How often do parents receive reports or have parents’ evenings?
In the Secondary School there are two formal
reports, two interim reports and two parents’ evenings per year, plus an open-door
policy for parents to contact and meet with teaching staff whenever they wish. In the Primary School, we have three reports,
one per term, alongside three sets of parents’ evenings to ensure communication
is as full as possible. We also hold regular information sessions for parents,
which include curriculum workshops, events with interpreters and informal ‘Cha
and Chat’ events with members of the school’s Leadership Team.
What’s the general atmosphere like at the school?
What matters at the school is the individual
student. People often speak of the buzz at BSB, and the family atmosphere where
we make the school fit the child and not the child fit the school. Although
you’re expected to work very hard to achieve your goals, people also readily
use words like ‘friendly’, ‘supportive’, ‘caring’. Our BSB values of
politeness, respect, tolerance and care for others are all pervasive. Above
all, your teachers will know you really well, and help you to grow as a
confident and happy learner. Above all, I think BSB is a very happy place to
How open is the communication between the students and the administration?
Very open. As the School
Principal, my own door and that of my senior colleagues are always open to
students and I welcome their input and questions. We also have systems to
support this – a well-structured School Council and a School Student Leadership
Group which we call our Prefects. We also aim to involve students in as many
management processes as possible, including our Food Committee, the review of
our Rewards and Sanctions Policy, and our charity events. Our students engage
in leadership activities wherever possible, culminating in their outstanding
work on the IB CAS programme. We can’t honestly claim to be nurturing the
leaders of tomorrow without giving them leadership opportunities today.
Can students suggest or launch new initatives such as extra-curricular clubs?
This is always welcome, with the obvious
caution that we always have teachers working with them to ensure their safety.
Recent initiatives have included changes in our sports provision, the imminent
introduction of an ASA Gaming Club and the student Prom which is organised by
students for students.
Does the school require a uniform, and how strict is the dress code?
Yes, at BSB we believe that dressing smartly
is important for a number of reasons. It helps a sense of identity and pride in
your school, it makes you stand out from other schools, you don’t need to worry
about the pressure and cost of conforming to fashion, and dressing smartly is
an important part of the preparation for future leadership in the world of
students: What initiatives are in place to help new students settle in?
Coming to a new school, especially in a new
city, is tough. We try to get to know you as well as we can before you come,
talking to your parents and your previous school about what type of student you
are. When you join the school, you will have a form tutor who will be
responsible for your social and pastoral welfare as well as your academic
success. We will also get one of our current students to act as your ‘buddy’
and show you around until you make new friends. We have special meetings for
all new parents in our parents’ coffee shop and we try to introduce parents to
current parents, often of the same nationality, to help them get used to the
area. Our friendly Admissions Team will help you with anything, from finding an
ayi and getting your driving licence,
to finding that special food that you really miss from home.
What are some of the school’s unique or interesting traditions?
BSB is a fully international school, so
although we have some British traditions, we also celebrate our many
nationalities from across the globe. Chinese New Year is always very special,
but so is our massive German Christmas Market and our European Day of
Languages. A highlight of the year is always International Day, where we
celebrate our global family and parents run stalls from their own countries.
Musicals and concerts are a showcase of our students’ amazing talent, and we
have well over half of our students participating in competitive sports teams.
As a school with a uniform, non-uniform days are always really popular, and we
use these to raise great sums of money for charity. We’re very lucky to be part
of a big school network, so our students also get a chance to go to Tanzania to
work with schools and orphanages there, and next year will see the launch of
our Global Orchestra.
See more information about BSB