A message from Alison Colwell, Principal
School is about so much more than just academic learning.
Over the last few weeks, that fact has never been more evident here at Sa Porrassa. Children have been taking part in House captain elections and in the debating competition. This week we have been promoting and reflecting on Friendship Week, what it means to be a great friend, and how to look out for others. We have held a Sixth Form presentation evening when our in-house expert Mr Barter has spoken with warmth and wisdom about what it means to be a sixth form student, and what sixth form life contributes to our young people's personal growth, as well as talking about life after school and how to get into the world's most prestigious universities. We have all stood in silence as one school community under a brilliant blue sky, reflecting on Remembrance Day on those who have given their life for others. Science Week saw a wonderful array of exciting experiments and activities. We are planning for next week's focus on recycling and environmental awareness, and we have been rehearsing for the pantomime. Our fantastic staff and wonderful students mean our school is a happy, vibrant and exciting place to be. The weather has been lovely (other than today!) and our young people get to run around safely and happily at break and lunchtime, playing and chatting with their friends.
We may be in the midst of a pandemic but at times it is easy - and lovely - to forget this and to focus on business as usual.
Principal, BIC Sa Porrassa
Mrs Alexandra Tomlinson - Head of Secondary
Small Acts of Kindness
Last year when celebrating World Kindness Day, the day that we have celebrated this week with our Week of Kindness, Pope Francis observed that, “Small acts of kindness, not great speeches” as well as “simple, tender acts of charity” best show our humanity and love for one another. Since 2015, according to UN figures, over 1500 refugees have landed in the Balearics. One such refugee is Samer, a Syrian boy who along with his mother and father and two siblings fled from Syria at the beginning of the crisis in 2011 in fear of their lives.
When he was asked about how he felt about his new life in Mallorca he said, “I heard that Spain was beautiful. I wanted to go to school, make friends and become a doctor or engineer.”
One of the defining moments of our times is how we treat the refugees who arrive in their thousands every day into countries that have a greater economic and political security than those from which they have fled. How we treat them is, as Ghandi said, the measure of how civilised we really are. Such civility, such public acts, begin in the first place by how we treat those immediately around us. For without kindness to those who we know and who we see on a daily basis, how can we possibly hope to have the courage, the might and the will to extend such kindness to strangers? If we truly want to change the world, we must begin with ourselves and with our own selflessness, at BIC.
The staggering amount of food that the students, parents and staff of BIC managed to collect for the Zaquero food bank is testament to our collective will to achieve this. So too, the habitual kindness that I see between students throughout the day around the school - through encouraging words, cherishing a fellow student´s success, running to fetch a friend who is late for rehearsal, holding doors open, sharing concern for a friend with a teacher - each and all alike are the first steps in braver, larger acts of humanity.
Secondary Congratulations - Celebrating Student’s Achievement
For their help in looking after and buddying up with new students this week - Victoria and Sofia in Year 9 and Theo in Year 10. For helping Year 10 students with their Music work every week - Jessica in Year 12. For teaching and supporting another student in PE - Logan in Year 11.
Mr John Barter - Head of Sixth Form
One of the wonderful things about Sixth Form education is that it gives students a chance to reinvent themselves. Some students leave; some join, bringing their new ideas and enthusiasm for learning. Over the summer, more than most other summers, students have made massive strides in maturity. Perhaps, given their ages, they have had more freedoms (and responsibilities) from their parents? Maybe it is a settling down of hormones? Perhaps it is the self-confidence developed by being successful at IGCSE. Whatever the cause, teachers can expect students to return in September with a determined focus on learning.
Every subject that students are doing is down to their personal choice. The subject matter is engaging. Students are excited to do their homework and to test their learning in exam style answers. Classes are smaller and there is a much stronger relationship with the subject teacher and the form tutor. There is no one to act up to and nothing to prove; everyone is at ease with the person they are becoming. Students are excited by their learning and by the quest to go to university (even if the country, university and course may differ); the eye is definitely on the ‘prize’.
So this week has been an exciting time for our Year 11 students and our prospective applicants from outside of BIC; and, as a result, for the teachers at BIC. On Monday we had our Sixth Form Information Evening, with input from teachers and students (Thanks to Santos and Jess for their important contributions). On Thursday we followed up with a chance to meet teachers individually and to ask them specific questions about the A Levels they teach. Today we have sent our preference forms for Sixth Form options; from this we will start to create the timetable for September 2021. Although we remain in the here and now to ensure that the individuals peak at the right time for their exams, there is a new beginning on the horizon and the excitement of good times to come.
If you know of any students who may be interested in coming aboard for this exciting journey, I would be happy to hear from them and to tell them about the great opportunities BIC's Sixth Form offers them.
Mr John Barter
Head of Sixth Form
Next week students from Years 3,7 and 10, in addition to any new students joining in the last academic year, will be sitting a Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT4) during normal lesson times. The test is a diagnostic assessment that is designed to help students and their teachers understand how they learn, and what their academic potential is. It assesses how students think in areas that are known to make a difference to learning.
While many tests focus on a child’s attainment in core subjects, the CAT4 is designed to give schools a much broader, more rounded view of each child, their potential and how they learn. Results help teachers decide about the pace of learning that is right for a student and whether additional support or challenge is needed.
Tasks involve thinking about shapes and patterns (Non-Verbal Reasoning), words (Verbal Reasoning), numbers (Quantitative Reasoning) and some questions are answered by mentally generating and transforming visual images (Spatial Ability).
CAT4 is based on years of research and development. The current edition took five years to develop and the involvement of 25,000 students across the UK. It is a well-known assessment in schools; teachers value its ability to provide an understanding of what a child is capable of rather than defining them by their understanding of a body of knowledge in particular subjects.
Due to the nature of the test, your child will be unable to 'revise' so should not worry about a lack of preparation.
Friendship Week - A picture is worth more than a thousand words!
Harvest Festival collection
House Captains met this morning to hand over the food from our Harvest collection to the Zaquero food bank. Representatives from the charity met and talked to the House Captains and shared with them just how desperately the food is needed given the significant increase in demand for food that has arisen as a result of the Covid pandemic. BIC has a long tradition of working with the charity and we are committed to another food collection next term. We would like to greatly thank all families who have collaborated in this initiative.
Sports department news - An insight into our Sports subject at BIC
Importance of physical activity for the children
Regular physical activity is critical to a young person’s physical, social and emotional development. Sport is about so much more than just the physical skill of throwing, catching or hitting a ball. The emotional and social benefits are huge too. Young people can develop their teamwork skills, communication, cooperation and problem solving skills through sport. Furthermore, regular physical activity is shown to help us emotionally with hormones such as endorphins being released by the brain after exercise, to make us feel good.
This half term
This half term students have started to use equipment again, in a socially distanced and safe way, in their PE lessons across the whole of the school. Each Year group is following a carefully planned programme of lessons for a different sport to ensure that equipment is not shared across Year groups. The joy on the faces of the students is evident for all to see. The activities for each Year group will change following Christmas to ensure that there is a wide variety of sports on offer to all students.
Lunch time clubs have also commenced this week to allow our students more time in which to practise the skills that they have learnt in lessons in competitive situations. These clubs are building towards an Inter-House competition programme that will take place in the final two weeks of the half term before the Christmas break.
All of this is in addition to the relaunch of our extra curricular programme which took place following October half term, with a series of exciting opportunities being offered both on and off site for our students. To see the programme of activities on offer, please click here . We will be expanding our extra curricular offer at the beginning of January.
The school offers a broad and balanced curriculum covering a range of sports to engage and inspire our students. Pupils learn traditional team games such as football, rugby, netball and hockey. They also develop their racquet skills in net games, with lessons in badminton, tennis and table tennis. Students will also have the opportunity to work individually through activities such as swimming and gymnastics.
Swimming is a fundamental life skill as well as an exciting competitive sport and a great way to keep fit. In the summer months we take advantage of the fantastic outdoor pool. Students also have the opportunity to develop their fundamental movement skill through gymnastics lessons in primary. They learn to roll, jump, land and balance. All of these key skills are crucial to have the physical literacy important to success in all of the sports that we cover at BIC.
This year BIC has launched the new PE kit. As you can see from the pictures, the students look incredibly smart in their new kit. With the colder winter months arriving, please remember that students should be wearing the PE jacket that are now available directly from the suppliers.
GCSE and A Level
Whilst sport is fun and has physical, emotional and social benefits, at BIC there is also the opportunity to study towards a qualification in physical education at both GCSE and A’ Level.
Students at BIC follow the Edexcel British GCSE course. The popularity of the course has grown immensely in the last 3 years, with 3 times as many students taking the qualification in the current Year 10 compared to September 2018. The course is well balanced and gives the students an opportunity to learn about the theoretical aspects of sport, such as the human body and how it works in order for the sports person to perform at a high standard. Students will also learn about coaching practices and sports psychology. There is a practical piece of coursework where students will have to plan and carry out a 6 week fitness programme in order to improve their performance in their sport. Finally, of course, students are also assessed on their practical performance across 3 sports.
Whilst not compulsory, the GCSE in PE is highly recommended to anyone who is considering studying PE at A’ Level as the course will provide you with strong foundations for future study. Students who have studied GCSE PE prior to A’ Level almost always achieve higher results at the end of Year 13.
Due to the growing popularity of GCSE PE at BIC, we have this academic year offered A’ Level PE as a qualification for the very first time. The course builds on the prior knowledge from GCSE and is an excellent way to prepare for further studies at university towards a career in sport. The course takes a much deeper look at a range of topics covered in GCSE PE, as well as introducing new areas of study such as the Olympic Games and learning theories in sport.
The A’ Level requires wider reading around the subject, and participation in sport outside of school at club level in one sport. In addition to the examinations on the theory element of the course in Year 13, students are required to demonstrate their practical ability in one sport and write a piece of coursework analysing their performance and making plans to improve their performance.
Miss Izabela is coaching U15 Volleyball team “Garden Hotels Mallorca Voley”, playing in balear league. Her players won their fourth consecutive victory and first position in their category. Ms Izabela is looking forward to the extra curricular programme coming soon including the BIC Volleyball club.
During our after school activities our young athletes can continue growing sportively, socially and learning the values of team sport.
We are delighted to announce that we will have 6th form sports captains this year at BIC. You can hear a little from the sports captains below and why they wanted to be a sports captain. In their role, they will be in charge of arranging and leading sporting activities such as lunch time clubs and inter-House sports events in the school.
This will develop their own leadership skills in sport but also offer even more opportunities for our younger students to take part in sport and physical activity during their break and lunch time.
Whole School House System news
House Points Totals Update
House News and Activities
Beach Clean Blast at Palmanova Beach!
We would love to see as many people as possible come to help with the Palmanova beach clean on Sunday 22nd November. We will award 5 House points to those that do take part. The week commencing 23rd November is recycling week at BIC so this is an excellent way to kick things off.
Please note that this event is not organised by the school, but students and parents might want to attend the event. Social distancing rules will of course apply.
World Science Day Competition
Well done to everyone who entered the competition to design a poster highlighting a key scientific breakthrough. We had lots of entries and it was very tough to decide on the top three. All entries received a House point.
1st place - Rafael 7
2nd place - Karolina, Year 9
3rd place - Elle Year 11
Also special mention to Clio in Year 5 for her great message to others about science.
Recycling week at BIC
Next week is recycling week and we have lots of activities planned for our students so they can understand the importance of recycling. In tutor time, students will discuss the reasons for recycling and how they can reduce their waste. Year group assemblies will take place encouraging students to think about what can and cannot be recycled. We will also be explaining how we can recycle at school.
In science, students will learn more about the 3 R’s of recycling - reduce, reuse and recycle, as well as looking into greater detail about the impact of our actions on the world.
There are a few House competitions to get involved in which will be formally announced next week.
1 - The perfect lunchbox
2 - The recycling symbol is one of the most recognisable international logos. It was designed in 1970 by Gary Anderson for a competition held in America to raise awareness of environmental issues.
Your task is to design a replacement symbol or poster to encourage everyone at BIC to recycle.
Please submit finished entries to your House leader via email or the House Canvas page. All entries will receive a House point.
The winning entry will win 10 House points and will be displayed around school.
Deadline: Monday 30th November
100% Renewable Energy
Live life cleaner by making the earth greener. Baleares International College is proud to further help the environment by using 100% Renewable Energy at both of our schools.
Science and Humanities - The Secrets of Earth - Parents as Partners workshop
This week we enjoyed our first Parents as Partners online workshop. Ordinarily, these workshops would run in person. However, given the current restrictions, this is the next best thing. Thank you so much to the students and parents who joined us for the evening. HERE you can see a link to the video where we learn about the history of Earth, continental drift and human evolution. There will be more hands-on practical Parents as Partners coming in the future!
Teacher Feature - Mr Drew Wolfenden
Last June, I was absolutely delighted to be offered the chance to come and work on the beautiful island of Mallorca at Baleares International College. Whilst Mallorca itself has so much to offer, it must be said that what has really impressed me has been the warmth with which I have been welcomed by the staff, students and parents here at BIC. I have been made to feel part of the community and for that I am thankful.
Previous to BIC, I have enjoyed working in Germany, Colombia, Malaysia and England. I have had the benefit of working with fantastic teachers and students over the last fifteen years. As teachers, we are not only involved in teaching our children, we are involved in our own learning journey every day of our career. On a daily basis, we learn strategies that work best to support our students. Similarly, we also find strategies that work less well. As we say to our students, it is okay to step out of our comfort zone and try something new - it is how we learn. Going beyond the day-to-day journey, I am so very thankful to the many colleagues who I have learnt from in my previous schools and I certainly look forward to learning more from my colleagues here at BIC, as we strive to give our students the best experience.
After what has been an incredibly challenging year, especially for those on our island, I feel immensely privileged to not only be employed, but to be employed in a job that I love. To have the opportunity to do something that we love is a chance that is sadly not afforded to everyone. My ambition to be a teacher stemmed from the belief that I wanted the students to have the same wonderful opportunities that have been open to me in my life. I put my hand on my heart when I say to my students that I want them to have just as many doors open to them whenever they choose to leave BIC; doors that will ultimately lead them to a happy and fulfilling life.
I am looking forward to working with the BIC community to provide a happy, challenging and ultimately rewarding learning experience for our children.
BIC CONNECT - PARENT WORKSHOPS
- Early Years and Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and Year 2) - How to support your child's learning - 26th November 5.30PM
The aim of this parent webinar is to give you useful advice about how you can support your child's progress and learning at home.
We hope you can join us to further explore the strategies and methods used in school to allow the students to develop their learning skills. During this session, we will also have time to answer any other questions you may have.
This session is suitable for the parents of students in Early Years and Key Stage 1 (Children aged 3 to 7) and we warmly welcome all parents.
- EAL - English as an additional Language at Baleares International College - 3rd December 5.30pm
The aim of this parent webinar is to tell you all about our English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme at Baleares International College, and give parents some useful advice about how you can support your child at home.
We hope you can join us to further explore the strategies and methods used in school to allow the students to develop their initial English skills. During this session, we will also have time to answer any other questions you may have.
This session is suitable for the parents of students across all Year groups, who have EAL needs or are new to Baleares International College.
Virtual Open Days at Baleares International College
Our next Open Days will be held in December across both BIC schools, Sant Agustí and Sa Porrassa.
Dates and registrations:
To register for our Virtual Open Days please click on the following link:
BIC Sant Agustí - an Early Years and Primary focused School located in the wonderful neighbourhood of Sant Agustí, Palma
- Tuesday 15th December 2020 - To register by clicking here
BIC Sa Porrassa - a whole through from school ages 3 to 15 accommodated in a large, custom-built school situated in the beautiful, rural environment of Calvià.
- Thursday 10th December 2020 - To register by clicking here
This is an ideal opportunity for you and your child to gain an insight into student life here at BIC.
In order to organise a tour at either or both schools, please contact us directly:
- San Agustí - email@example.com | (+34) 971 403 161
- Sa Porrassa - firstname.lastname@example.org | (+34) 971 133 167
We look forward welcoming you to Baleares International College