BIC Sa Porrassa Secondary and Sixth Form Weekly News

Dear parents,

People sometimes talk about change as a negative and view it with suspicion. Personally, I embrace change and renewal with optimism, seeing opportunities and positivity. Of course, change for change's sake is never sensible, and when running any organisation a sense of stability and certainty is very important, but schools like any organisation must never stay standing, but should always look for ways to improve and do things better. We need to sometimes steer our way through choppy waters, but we should not be daunted by this, but remain focussed on the greater good, the mission. We carry, after all, very precious cargo.

Our school has been through some significant change over the last 18 months, not least change imposed from the outside through the pandemic. This year has made many of us look at our lives, our loved ones, our priorities. We are sorry that two long standing members of staff have decided to change their lives and leave BIC at the end of the term. Lynne Wade and Helen Taylor have made the difficult decision to move away from teaching. Both have given great service to the school over their time here and will, I know, be sorely missed, including by myself. They will say their own few words further in this newsletter, and nearer the time I will say my own to them, to thank and acknowledge the work and service they have given. (I will give next week details of their replacements.)

Mr Fitzpatrick will also be (temporarily) leaving us in a few days, as he and his partner Lauren have their first baby, and in his paternity leave absence I am delighted that Mr Aidan Cruttenden will be stepping into the leadership team as acting Deputy Head of Secondary. I am equally delighted that Mr Drew Wolfenden (who was featured in last week's newsletter) will be taking on the role of Head of Science after Christmas, as Mr Cadman steps aside from leading science to focus more on his senior leadership team role in the school. Both Mr Cruttenden and Mr Wolfenden, new to BIC this term, were appointed to these roles through a highly competitive application and interview process (which reminded me, should I need it, of what a wealth of talent we have in our school). Between them, they have an enormous range of experience and expertise in education, and have already established themselves as outstanding teachers and highly professional colleagues. Finally, you will read later in this newsletter about our new Spanish teacher who will be joining us after Christmas, Snra Claudia Rodriguez. When we advertised for this role we were inundated with high calibre applicants. Snra Rodrigues jumped out to me as an exceptional teacher who will bring passion and sky high standards along with outstanding teaching and learning.

Kind regards

Alison Colwell

Principal, BIC Sa Porrassa

Mrs Alexandra Tomlinson - Head of Secondary

Whenever students ask me if they have to have taken media studies at GCSE, A Level or for a degree to become a journalist, sound editor, foreign correspondent, set designer, researcher - these are usually the careers in the media that they wish to pursue - or begin any career in the media industry, my answer is always a resounding, ´No!´.

Academic subjects alongside the Arts almost always provide the creativity, mental discipline, fluency and expression required for these careers and are usually more desirable to media industry employers than a Film Studies degree. What is also desirable is an ability to think critically and freely, to understand bias, to recognise and sift through accurate, relevant sources of information, to discern truth from fiction.

Of equal importance is understanding how the media operates. A purposeful awareness of the power of marketing, target audiences, how media products are constructed and how they manipulate is essential if we wish to make rational, calm decisions and sensible consumer choices. Taking a step back from social media and realising its impact on teenage brain development if overused is likewise of critical importance to the wellbeing and happiness of young people and indeed, of us all. So yes, whilst media studies may not be necessary for a career in the media, the study of the media is essential, which is why it is exciting to have this focus explicitly within our curriculum in Years 7 to 9, at BIC.

Secondary Congratulations - Celebrating Student’s Achievement

Reya, Year 8, for outstanding effort in Spanish, striving to do her best always and for having a fantastic work ethic. Aaron, Year 8, for an excellent attitude to learning in French, always volunteering to participate in class with cheerfulness and a near perfect accent.

Mr John Barter - Head of Sixth Form

Critical Thinking: The route to university

In preparing this piece for the newsletter, I found the following definition of critical thinking:

Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking.

Interestingly, I found it on the website of a university that is located in a state where critical thinking can now end in a prison sentence. It exemplifies the contradiction between intellectual progress and societal stability. Universities have long been the preserve of ‘edgy’ or pioneering thinking. Without it, we would be without many of the advances that have made our lives so much easier. In the university context, free thinkers are admired and lauded. They will push boundaries and challenge the status quo. The status quo can find such a challenge intolerable. In such circles the free thinker and actor can be seen as dangerous; certainly not to be encouraged.

This inconsistency is highlighted, for me, in recent changes to the British A Level system. A Levels, with their focus on depth and academic rigour, were historically designed (by universities) to be the best preparation for a university education, as undergraduate students work much more independently, researching their own knowledge and evidence. Schools, by teaching A Levels, would be sending (to coin a recent political phrase) ‘over-ready’ learners, ready to stand on their own two feet academically. Historically, in most A Levels, part of this process involved a coursework project which encouraged students to develop their own research interest, collecting evidence and drawing critical conclusions. However, a recent well-known education minister put a stop to this as he saw such coursework as a chance for plagiarism and other forms of academic cheating. Critics suggested it was more about controlling the ideas that young learners were to come into contact with.

At BIC, we want to foster the critical thinking that universities desire in their applicants. So, in order to cover the loss of A Level coursework, we teach the International Project Qualification, which has been designed to encourage independent learning and research. We have some Year 12s starting the IPQ in 2020 and I am really pleased that even more of our Year 11 applicants to next year’s Sixth Form have expressed an interest in studying IPQ. I am confident that, through this, we will be sending students to university with the fullest range of academic skills. To find out more about the qualification, and what universities think of it, you could watch the following short video:

Mr John Barter

Head of Sixth Form

Creative Media news - An insight into our Media Studies at BIC

What is Media Studies?

Media is a huge part of our everyday life, from the online news we read with our morning coffee to the television series we watch to relax. We consume the media when we listen to a podcast on a run, check our friends’ statuses on social media, or watch the latest video on YouTube. The media is such a big part of our lives that it is vital that our children recognise the kinds of messages that different platforms feed us and to critically consume the media with which we engage on a daily basis.

Becoming a critical thinker is arguably the most important part of education. As educators it is our responsibility to set up young people with the skills to decipher surface and underlying messages so that they can critically engage with the world beyond school. Critical thinkers are more capable of engaging in a democratic society as they are more able to make links between ideas and recognise the relevance, the strengths and the flaws of arguments and received ideas. As a result, they are able to better develop their own reasoned arguments and justify their own values, beliefs and views.

Source analysis by Amelia in Year 9

This year it has been especially pertinent that we equip our students with these skills. The changing daily news around the pandemic, and the ongoing media engagement with the elections in the United States require a level of media literacy that goes beyond what we might have experienced in the past. It is vital that students feel confident in their ability to question what those in power tell them as well as the way in which their sources give them information.

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Amelia in Year 9

Media Studies at BIC

This term we have been looking at the way that the media presents information to its audiences, exploring ideas around ‘fake news’. Students have considered the validity of sources and what it means to be a critical consumer of what we see and read online, on screen and in print.

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Nora and Richard in Year 9

Here are some examples of some ‘fake news’ mind maps completed by Elisa and Demi in Year 8.

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Understanding different political views has been vital to identifying media bias. Agnese in Year 7 wrote an essay on bias in two newspaper articles; you can see its first two paragraphs below.


Creative Studies Carousel

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DatesArtPerforming ArtsMedia Studies
7th September 2027B7I7C
30th November 20207I7C7B
22nd March 20217C7B7I

How can critical thinking be used in media studies?

Critical thinking is an essential skill for every student to:

  1. Understand links between ideas.
  2. Determine the importance and relevance of arguments and ideas.
  3. Recognise, build and appraise arguments.
  4. Identify inconsistencies and errors in reasoning.
  5. Approach problems consistently and systematically.
  6. Reflect on the justification of their own assumptions, beliefs and values.

Media literacy enables students to look upon the world and its representation by the media with a critical eye by providing them with specific skills, tools and techniques. Media literacy empowers students to understand and actively participate in discussions about government and politics, including using the media to make their voices heard. At the same time, from their point of view as citizens, media-literate students learn to be skeptical about the role of politicians and to critically examine politicians’ work as representatives of the public’s needs and interests.

Media literacy allows for people to question the motivations of any form of media communication, such as websites, social media messages and even memes. Today, the "author" is not just the byline, but also the entity, the advertisers, supporters and affiliates. Media-literate individuals connect the dots about what or whom is behind the curtain and check for credibility.

Whole School House System news

BIC House Logos all
Whole School House System

House Points Totals Update


House News and Activities

Recycling week at BIC

This week, we have been highlighting the importance of recycling through assemblies, form tutor activities, work in science and House competitions. We are very much committed to recycling here at BIC and we now have recycling boxes in all classrooms.

Students have been learning about the 3R’s of waste management along with the reasons why we should all recycle.

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The perfect lunchbox

Form tutors and class teachers were impressed to see so many students enter our lunchbox challenge for recycling week. Keep up the great work!


Palmanova Beach Clean

A massive thank you to everyone who joined the beach clean last Sunday in Palmanova. It was amazing to see so many students and their families, and it really highlighted what a wonderful community we have here at BIC.

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Palmanova Beach Clean

Recycling Poster Competition

A reminder that the deadline for the recycling poster competition is Monday 30th November. Your task is to design a logo/poster which will encourage students (and staff) to recycle as much as possible. Every entry will receive a House point, and the winning entry will receive 10 House points.

Recycling Poster Competition

BIC House Council

The Heads of Houses met with the House Captains this week to set up the House Council. The House Captains will work closely with Heads of Houses in organising events and competitions. They will represent the views of their Year group in meetings to help improve the school. The House Captains will be speaking to students next week to get their ideas.


The Inter House Talent Competition for students in Years 3 to Year 13, will take place from Monday 30th November. Finals take place from 3.30pm on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th December. Students please sign up with your Form Tutors.

Black and Gold Talent Show Invitation

BIC Shoe Box Appeal

Christmas is getting closer and this is being reflected in school activities. We would like to join the BIC tradition of collecting shoe boxes for the foundation Montesión Solidaria, based in Palma, who care for families at risk, including over 1000 children. We intend to collect gift boxes for children which we can give to Montesión Solidaria to try to improve their Christmas a little. All shoeboxes will need to be handed into school by December 11th please, so maybe this is something you could think about this weekend?

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BIC Shoe Box Appeal

Arts department - Mallorca Fashion Outlet Drawing Contest

Our students from Year 5 to Year 7 have participated in the Inter-School Mallorca Fashion Outlet Christmas drawing contest. We have been very impressed by the fantastic entries we have received and we can’t wait to know who will be the finalist! All drawings have now been picked up by Mallorca Fashion Outlet this week.

A donation of €1000 will be made in the name of the school to the NGO of its choice, for every winner in each category (1 winner per category, a total of 3 prizes of € 1000 each). Mallorca Fashion Outlet will be showing the drawings submitted to the contest in the centre. The drawings will be identified with the name of the school and Year but not the

student’s name. The winning drawing of each category will be communicated on the 15th of December on the centre’s social media and digital supports.

English department news

Inter-School debating competition

This week was the second round of the Rotary inter-school debating competition, this time against Bellver. The motion was ‘Monarchy as an institution should be abolished’ and BIC students argued against the motion. Lavinia Ruth, Connor Johnston and Lea Savelsbergh in Year 11 gave thoughtful, structured and well-researched speeches but were pipped to the post by the opposition’s presentations. Connor and Lavinia demonstrated that they had learned a lot from the first debate and developed as speakers between the two debates. Lea stepped in and up to the challenge as James McIlwee, who took part in the first debate, could not take part. Congratulations to Bellver. BIC will fight on when the competition begins again in 2021.

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Inter-School debating competition

Year 8 are moving towards the end of their study of ‘Holes’ and the excitement is rising as we get closer to finding out about the Warden’s treasure. This week, we took to putting ourselves in Stanley and Zero’s shoes as we guessed what might be in the receptacle they found. Guesses of what was in the boxes included yellow-spotted lizard eggs, Jaffy the cuddly giraffe, onions and Mary Lou’s hoof. We will see what Stanley finds in the suitcase in the next few lessons!

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Science department news

Biology A Level

Our biology A level students have been dissecting different organs this week. As part of the A level course students learn a lot about animal physiology including the heart and lungs. There are a few potential surgeons in the A level class so they thoroughly enjoyed reviewing the parts of the organs and their roles in the body.

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Biology A Level

Computer Science

In preparation for moving onto text programming with Python next term, Year 8 have been getting to grips with some of the concepts using a visual coding tool, Scratch, and in keeping with Recycling Week they have created a game to highlight the impact of plastic waste in our oceans, and the effect it has on marine life. Students watched a video on plastic waste and the hazard it presents to apex predators, and the food chain as a whole, before coding.

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BIC Sa Porrassa Computer Science

A very warm welcome to Ms Rodríguez - Spanish Teacher

Currently working as a Deputy Head of Spanish in Latymer Upper School, London, Ms Rodríguez graduated from the University of Barcelona/University of the Balearic Islands, with a BA (Hons) in Hispanic Studies, after which she completed a MA in Education at the London Centre of the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia.

After 8 years teaching in London and extensive experience in the independent educational sector, Ms Rodríguez has decided to return to her native Mallorca to teach at BIC. She is committed to bringing the best of the British education to our school, where she looks forward to sharing her passion for languages, and to establishing international links through exchanges, trips and activities for the students.

Ms Rodríguez loves theatre and is a drama aficionada, a hobby that she combines with her biggest passion: hiking in the Serra de Tramuntana.

A very warm welcome to Ms Rodríguez - Spanish Teacher

Upcoming Virtual Events at BIC Sa Porrassa

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.

EAL - English as an additional Language at Baleares International College - 3rd December 5.30pm

BIC Connect - Virtual Information Session - The Transition to Secondary - Wednesday 9th December starting at 5.30pm.

We are delighted to inform you that we will be holding a Virtual Information Session on Wednesday 9th December starting at 5.30pm. The aim of this session is to give parents an overview on the transition to Secondary, and will be hosted by our Principal at BIC Sa Porrassa Ms Colwell, our Head of Primary Ms Compton and our Head of Secondary Ms Tomlinson.

BIC Connect - Virtual Information Session - The Transition to Secondary

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 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.

BIC Sant Agustí - an Early Years and Primary focused School located in the wonderful neighbourhood of Sant Agustí, Palma

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 - | (+34) 971 403 161
  • Sa Porrassa - | (+34) 971 133 167

We look forward welcoming you to Baleares International College

Open Days at Baleares International College

BIC Connect: Virtual Information Session - Understanding Reports (Primary and Secondary) - Friday 11th December starting at 4.15pm.

We are delighted to inform you that we will be holding a Virtual Information Session on Friday 11th December starting at 4.15pm. The aim of this session is to give you an overview and explanation of the end of term reports system, in both primary and secondary, and will be hosted by our Principal Ms Colwell, Mr Cadman, Ms Compton and Mrs Tomlinson. This is timed to coincide with the publication of the reports.

BIC Connect: Virtual Information Session - Understanding Reports

BIC Connect: Virtual Information Session - Revision Webinar (Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13) - Thursday 15th December starting at 5.30pm.

We would like to invite you to our next Information Session on Thursday 15th December starting at 5.30pm. The aim of this session is to talk to you about revision, how you can best support your son and daughter as they revise for their mock exams, as well as to answer any questions you may have.

BIC Connect: Virtual Information Session - Revision Webinar (Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13)

Cineciutat Movie Morning - Cineciutat Collaboration

Dear parents,

We are delighted to share with you further information about our collaboration with Cineciutat Nins, located in the heart of Palma. -

"We are a cinema and sometimes a theatre. We are a school and we are memories. We are ideas and innovation. We are culture. we are non-profit and self-managed by its members".

Cineciutat will be hosting a special Christmas Movie Morning for all of our parents and children on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th December at 11:00am. The screening will be: "The Secret of Kells".

We kindly invite you to join us for this fantastic concept and to share with your family and friends.

You will be able to purchase TICKETS HERE

We look forward to seeing you all there.

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