A message from Alison Colwell, Principal
Well, the year we all want to forget about, but the year we will always remember! What a year it has been in so many ways. However, after going through the most draconian lockdown in Europe last school year, with children being out of the school building for 6 months, I was determined, on our return, to have, as much as possible, business as usual. I stressed to our staff, back in September, the “C” words that are far more important to us than the current pandemic one – curriculum, children, culture, character, care, compassion, creativity, curiosity, challenge. This term we have continued with outstanding teaching and learning across the school, and in addition held a wealth of extra-curricular activities and events, that are such an important part of a great school. We held science week, recycling week, kindness week. We held inter-House competitions, ran a debate club, organised sporting fixtures. We held highly successful online parent consultation afternoons and hosted numerous webinars to give parents additional information, on myriad matters from our sixth form, English as an Additional Language support, revision for exams and the transition to secondary school. We are currently rehearsing for our pantomime, yesterday we recorded our carol service, our students and staff are today sporting colourful Christmas jumpers, and, as I write this, I can hear Year 5 practising their Christmas rendition of “Rockin' Robin” to perform, socially distanced, at pick up this afternoon! It is a source of great pride to me to see how my team’s tremendous skill, professionalism and dedication to our students has been so much in evidence this term, as well as the resilience, adaptability and all-round wonderfulness of our students.
I keep getting asked the same 3 questions by staff, parents and, indeed, students, so thought I would take this opportunity to answer them! Do I regret coming here, have I ever, as a school leader, known a time of such challenge and how long will I stay! Regret coming here? - never, not for one second. Leading BIC is a privilege and one I am relishing and giving my everything to. No, I have never gone through the challenges of the last year, but then I am quite sure that all of us can say the same. Personally and professionally it has been daunting, but with the excellent team I have around me, the support of Orbital and yourselves, and staying focused at all times on my mantra of, "children first", it is a challenge I hope I have lived up to. And as to the third question, I have no plans to go anywhere else, and all the time that there is a job to be done here, and my (by now) well-known ambition to make BIC the number one school of choice on the island. I am surrounded by outstanding teachers, and delightful children and young people, and have actually, in the year that we have all gone through, never felt more blessed.
Thank you for all the support and encouragement that so many of you have given to myself and my team, through your kind emails and positive feedback. I wish you and all your loved ones the best Christmas possible in the circumstances, and here's all looking and praying for a happier and healthier 2021.
BIC Sa Porrassa
Mrs Alexandra Tomlinson - Head of Secondary
I began the term by telling the students that I was so proud of them. I may not have known them at all at that point, but I knew enough to know that they had shown incredible courage and tenacity by returning to school after six months away from the building, their teachers, friends and all that was their daily lives. The pride I felt then was matched by a faith that I would have every reason to be proud of them by the end of the term. They have proved me right and more.
Not only have they persevered through what continues to be an extremely difficult time for us all, they have thrived. They have thrived in spite of all that the world is throwing at them. No greater example of this is than that of the commitment and enthusiasm shown by Years 11, 12 and 13 during the Revision Conference on Tuesday. It would be so easy to be fatalistic about the summer exams, to be disheartened that it is so much harder for them to prepare for these than any cohort before them, to use the excuse of Covid to just give up. Yet, I saw none of this. Quite the opposite. The atmosphere of studiousness, the desire to do well was palpable throughout the afternoon.
So, too with the Carol Service. When the choir and readers, who had worked so hard to prepare for a live performance found out that this would be cancelled due to the new Covid restrictions it would have been easy to walk away, to be unfocussed during the filming, to not take it as seriously or concentrate as much. It is in fact, harder to perform without an audience to such a high standard and discipline. Our students sang and read with such passion, conducting themselves as beautifully as if an audience was in front of them without hesitation or a flicker of anything less than one hundred percent dedication to the task in hand. Proving once again, their refusal to allow adversity to dishearten them.
We all so desperately want life to return to ´normal´. To the freedom of travel, of human touch, to the secure knowledge that we can be with loved ones without fear, to not having to sweat in masks! However, if we take anything from this term it is this - that your sons and daughters, our students, have excelled in meeting these unprecedented challenges in their lives with calm, with humanity, with purpose and with determination to be the very best of themselves irrespective of circumstance. They have dared to do so because they have been helped and modelled so steadfastly in this by their inspirational teachers. As a result of this joint mission, the school has been replete with joy, with purpose, with warmth and with love. We go on, looking forward to next term after a good rest, to renew our pursuit of these aims with a fresh hope, secure in the knowledge and strength that nothing will deter us from providing the very best education for the students in our care.
To paraphrase Charles Dickens, “What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.”
Mr John Barter - Head of Sixth Form
Looking backwards to look forward
As the year comes to an end we all take stock, reflecting on what has been and planning what is to come. No doubt Covid will not be far from our immediate thoughts. It has affected us all in many different ways. Even if we look back and see the negatives, we can look forward to the vaccine and getting back to a way of life we left behind. However, in Sixth Form terms, I think we can find other positives from these past months. With a more restricted social life, the older students have become more focussed on study and on making best use of their time for productive purposes, ensuring that they have as many options as possible in the future. I think we can also see stronger bonds between the Sixth Form and the other members of the school community. With the re-launch of the House System, our Sixth Formers have taken up various leadership roles, formally (as House and Sports Captains) and less formally in the calm and controlled way they have conducted themselves. Looking forward, they are well placed to take their new skills to university and life beyond. The togetherness developed between students and teachers has cemented the feeling of a joint mission; definitely all in it together. This is breeding confidence and ambition. I continue to be very proud of them.
On Tuesday, we held our revision conference for Years 11, 12 and 13 to help prepare our young people for their mock exams that start on Monday 11th January. I was very pleased with the way the students conducted themselves and am hoping that the techniques taught can be practised to ensure more effective revision that takes less time, leaving more time for family, friends and self. There is no doubt that whatever revision method is used, revision is most effective if it is planned and organised. Revision timetabling is the first step in this. It will allow guilt-free breaks and fun times to be built in, knowing that the time spent on revising is well spent.
Lastly, I would like to thank all the Sixth Formers and parents for their support and patience since I took the Head of Sixth Form role in September. I wish you all a fantastic Christmas and look forward to seeing all the students, safe and sound, at 8.40 on Thursday 7th January.
Head of Sixth Form
Humanities department news - An insight into History at BIC
We have the best job in the world as we get to ‘do history`all day. We do our very best to transfer our passion for the subject to the students that we teach. Sometimes students ask us what the subject is or whether they have to be good at remembering dates. We always explain that the subject is so much more than that. There are various definitions available but the one we believed to be most useful is as follows;
The study of history is a window into the past that provides understanding of the present-day, and how individuals, nations, and the global community might develop in the future. ... Students of history learn good habits of thought. They analyze ideas and data, and develop original interpretations of such materials. (Radford University)
We thought that it would be interesting to focus this newsletter entry on the students. We asked several of our classes about why the study of history is important to them. We had some very impressive and astute replies.
Key Stage 3
Year 7 have clearly enjoyed learning about Europe in the Middle Ages. Their favourite topics have included the Battle of Hastings and the Black Death. The following quotes from the students show that we have many passionate historians in the making.
Seren commented on skills learnt in history.
I think it is important that we are learning how to answer questions based on sources.Seren
I have enjoyed history so far because all the topics are fun and new.Zeph
Year 8 students have been learning about the English Civil War and Oliver Cromwell. Many were delighted that the laws of Oliver Cromwell are no longer in place. Demi Bergsma-Rosseld wrote that she is pleased that we do not have a ban on Christmas like the English in 1644.
GCSE classes have been learning about the Cold War and China. Students have particularly enjoyed learning about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Many of them linked the importance of communication and negotiation to peace which continues to be an important message in the world today.
Julius expressed his gratitude for living in a much fairer world with much more tolerance. He was shocked by the terrible treatment of Jews in the holocaust and said:
it makes you realise how much kinder the world is today.Julius
AS and A Level students are working extremely hard to prepare for the mocks which take place after Christmas. They have learnt the importance of reviewing work regularly and we have been practising some active revision skills in class.
English Department news
This term has been full of highlights across the whole of secondary, culminating in the creation of trailers for the novels we have been studying; essays and mock exam preparation for Years 11, 12 and 13; and, of course, some Christmas-related literature. Please enjoy some of our highlights from the term!
Year 7 have written some wonderful poems on the theme of ‘Imagine’. Here are a few favourites from Holly and Seren.
Year 8’s study of ‘Holes’ has culminated in some dramatic performances: the trial of Mr Sir as well as the creation of trailers for the novel. Rehearsals took place in the December sunshine.
Year 9 produced some fantastic TED talks on the theme of capital punishment as part of their study of the novel, ‘Noughts and Crosses’.
Year 10 have completed their study of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ with Ms Austin’s class now writing essays exploring structure, form and language in relation to Macbeth’s obsession with power.
Year 11 have been busy revising ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘Of Mice and Men’ and language this term, with excellent note-taking providing students with a strong foundation for independent work as they move towards their mock exams in January.
The key stage 3 carousel has begun again, with the new media studies groups exploring the history of media.
Maths department news
This year in maths we have been promoting and instilling the idea that every student has an iGCSE maths target of a 9. In mathematics we often have to deal with students arriving with a negative approach to the subject, facing the new content already on the back foot. We have been trying to change this stance to one of intent and positivity.
Our message is that we are all on a mountain. The summit is grade 9. No matter where we are on this journey up the mountain, we are all on that same journey. Some will make leaps and move quickly, others will struggle at times and need to reinforce before moving on - but every single lesson and every single piece of learning is a small step towards that summit.
We have found this to be an inspirational goal and mindset that has fuelled resilience and positivity in our lessons. We have a reminder stuck into every KS3 student’s book of the image below. The alternative to this approach is surely to limit students’ horizons - and that’s just not how dreams are made.
Over this incredible term, Year 7 has explored algebra for the first time at secondary level. Stretching and extending when comfortable and visualising themselves making solid footsteps up the mountain. To achieve this we have explored different approaches - sometimes we use tangible objects to visualise key concepts and connections, often we use diagrams to see how these rules can be explained and sometimes we can dive in and focus purely on the elegance and beauty of pure algebra.
Year 8 has explored shape and proportion. Here we can build on the learning from Year 7 and apply that knowledge to increasingly complex and interesting examples and situations. Learning is building on previous knowledge and most crucially, making connections between different facets of the subject. This is why problem solving and explanation are crucial in our approach.
Developing algebra and geometry skills has been the prime focus for Year 9 as we look to push as far as we can ahead of key stage 4 next year. Algebra is such an important topic in maths as it is crucial that we connect areas together as we reach for grade 9. It is this linking of topics creatively that really sets the bar and is a crucial skill to develop ahead of A level where we need to have achieved fluidity in order to approach new concepts.
At key stage 4, students have been channelling their knowledge towards future exam success, developing positive independent work habits that will serve them well through the rest of their education. Here students are stretching and extending towards the higher level topics, unashamedly ambitious and giving themselves the best chance of future glory. Providing students with these opportunities requires intelligent planning and flexibility in our teaching that we love to deliver.
Year 12 students have begun taking and applying the skills learnt through the iGCSE course. They have enjoyed applying these to deeper and more challenging concepts with an eye on their future already. As Year 13 spends Christmas surging through revision of mechanics ahead of their January exams I will be thinking of them considering the coefficient of friction of gravy versus the force due to gravity parallel to the slope of their roast turkey. Let’s hope they get it right and the brussel sprouts do not escape the plate.
1 - 0.59596
The maths department
Science department news
Key Stage 3 Science: This week, the students have had the opportunity to learn about reindeer. Going beyond the pretty pictures on Christmas cards, the students learnt about the Nenet Tribe, a nomadic group, native to northern Russia. The reindeer is central to their community, as a source of food, as pack animals and providing the pelts needed to keep them warm.
In the context of material properties, the students were able to test the insulating properties of different materials whilst also evaluating their own belief systems regarding reindeer. Here you can see our students using Google Sheets to collect, process and analyse data over the course of a lesson.
In other classes, the students have worked hard to complete their research based campaign into vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus. The students worked as trainee immunologists to critically evaluate data from several sources before coming to their own conclusions regarding the benefits of vaccination against HPV. You can see one of our finished campaign videos here, please watch as it could save lives.
There have been so many highlights from this term. We have truly been blessed as we were able to welcome back children in September. We look forward to seeing you all in January!
Science with Mr Wolfenden
It is a STEM family quiz...Answers can be sent through to here
Please enjoy this STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) quiz with 22 of the most prominent STEM Ambassadors from today and the past! These are some of the most influential scientists, engineers and mathematicians of our time, recent and distant past. Enjoy identifying everyone, feel free to use the clues (quotes) on page 2 to help you. Share your answers on the Google Form linked into the second page table (yellow)! There will be prizes available.
In other STEM news, seven teachers recently enjoyed training from providers such as the Institute of Physics, Institute of Astronomy, STEMFirst as well as the authors Dr Sheila Kanani (How to be an Astronaut), Ms Claire Grimes (Rosenshine’s Principles Workbook) and Dr Tracey Baxter (Collins Science Author).
The training has already had an impact on learning at BIC as Mr Warn has introduced a practical physics APP into the classroom and Ms Coutts has implemented more of Rosenshine’s Principles into humanities in order to facilitate greater recall. With 2021 around the corner and with the recent good news regarding vaccinations, we are hopeful that our students will in the medium term be able to step outside of their bubble, learning in vertical settings and rising to the challenge of our STEM Leader Programme where older students will have the opportunity to lead STEM initiatives with KS1 and KS2 students.
Science with Ms Turley
I would like to say a massive well done to my A biology level students. They have worked extremely hard this term and have progressed tremendously. A reminder that for Year 12, mock exams are in January, and for Year 13, the Unit 4 exam will take place on Wednesday 13th January. Please feel free to email me with any queries over the Christmas holidays.
Science with Mr Warn
This week in physics Year 10 have been conducting experiments using the mobile app Phyphox. Mobile phones contain a vast array of sensing components (microphone, gyroscope, magnetometer, etc.) that, if you know how, can be used to explore traditionally difficult to experience phenomena. In the featured experiment students stuck their phone to a toy car and ran it over a ruler composed of magnets. The phone's magnetometer detected the changes in magnetic field and, with the data exported to Excel, the car's displacement and velocity during the journey can be displayed graphically. Pretty cool right? So over the Christmas period when you see your teenager glued to their phone don't tell them to get off it, tell them to do some physics!
Art and Design department news
We am delighted with the performance of all of the students across the key stages who have undergone a challenging time this term and I am impressed with how they have adapted. However, it is evident from the art ambassadors of the school (students in Year 12 undertaking their first year of A´Level Art and Design) that creativity has no limits. The main topic in term 1 has been focused on artists and designers and it is key to enriching students´ knowledge in the different art movements and techniques which exist, enabling them to broaden their own skills and creative thinking. This obviously can impact students in a variety of ways but essentially it awakens their curiosity and gives them a challenge to go beyond their own expectations and come out of their creative comfort zones.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and cannot wait to see what lies ahead in 2021 with so many talented and creative thinkers who hold the key to our future.
PE department news
It’s hard to believe that we have already completed one full term out of the academic year!
We am so proud of all of our pupils that continually work hard and try their very best during every single PE class. Pupils have enjoyed taking part in many different group activities and games whilst also participating in inter House sports competitions.
Last week, during our lunch time club our students got the opportunity to participate in a range of inter House sports competitions, which were organized by the Physical Education department and our newly selected Sports Captains: Anna Ciudad, Jessica Shereda-Crook, Olivia Taylor and Ignacio Diaz.
Congratulations to all who took part on the day, but in particular to:
Galileo House - this term Key Stage 4 Basketball Champions!
!Liam will inform you who is the winner from Year 9 group!
Winton House - Year 8 Basketball Champions!
Galileo House - Year 7 Badminton Champions!
Y10 and Y11 Basketball Inter House Competition results:
- 1st place Galileo
- 2nd place Roosevelt
- 3rd place Parks and Winton
Y8 Basketball tournament
- 1st place Winton
- 2nd place Parks
- 3rd place Roosevelt
- 4th place Galileo
Y7 Badminton tournament
- 1st place Galileo
- 2nd place Roosevelt
- 3rd place Winton
- 4th place Parks
It has been great fun from September and I am confident that this will continue through until the summer.
Have a great rest over the festive period, you have certainly all earned it!
Ms Izabela and the sports team wishes you all a very restful break and looks forward to seeing you in the New Year.
Languages department news
Congratulations to Julia Gallego for her wonderful award - 7th edition of the school literary contest "letter to a Spanish soldier".
This year our student Julia Gallego was announced finalist in the 7th edition of the school literary contest "letter to a Spanish soldier.
The theme of this contest was the importance of scientific research in the Armed Forces aimed to the development of numerous advances, both future and past, from which we all benefit. The participants had to write a letter to an anonymous military man highlighting the relevant role of said investigation.
The awards ceremony was held on September 29th on the occasion of the "Day of the Defense Delegation in the Balearic Islands" at the Institute of Military Culture and History where Julia received her award.
The Ministry of Defense and the Sub-Directorate General for Recruitment and Labor Orientation also awarded Baleares International College in recognition of its contribution and participation in said literary contest.
We congratulate Julia Gallego for this well-deserved achievement!
Well done to Manu, Theo, Aleksander and Pau for their insightful Opinion Essay about “Electric mobility or our health”.
We are delighted to share some of the fantastic work from our Catalan students in Year 10 and Year 11.
Manu, Theo, Aleksander and Pau have written an insightful opinion essay about “Electric mobility or our health”. This piece has been entirely written by our students under supervision of our language specialist teacher.
Out students have followed a rigorous process to complete this essay following a total of five steps:
1- Theoretical framework: definition, characteristics and examples of opinion genres (argumentative textual typology).
2- Brainstorming for the choice of news and topics.
3- Discussion and debate about pros and cons as well as appropriateness of each topic.
4- Thesis proposal, arguments and counterarguments shared with their class.
5- Drafting phase and joint review of the thesis.
6- Title proposal through voting and election by the majority.
This project has been a significant learning curve for our students. Therefore, we were very excited to have been able to share this article with a wider audience through the largest newspaper in the island, Ultima Hora, and been able to make this essay more visible, a fantastic reward for our students.
This reward is a great example of how to show our students the practical nature of what is taught in class and what they learn at school. Knowing that your article is the result of a process that is not only about learning but also sharing an opinion and ideas – even influencing who reads them!
Year 10 and Year 11 on the Radio!
Students from Year 10 and Year 11 participated in the local radio station IB3 where they talked about their vision about the pandemic and how they were living this situation. It was a wonderful opportunity for these students to see in first person how a radio programme is made. They made very interesting contributions once they got over their nerves!
Performing Arts department news
In last week’s newsletter we explored some fantastic work that has been happening in the Performing Arts department this year. After this was published last Friday afternoon I was blown away with just how much talent there is in our school with the finals of the Talent Show (the write up you can find further down in the House section). I am excited with what more I will be sharing with you for the rest of the year for what our students will achieve!
Pantomime rehearsals are in full swing. The schedule of final rehearsals will be shared with students at the start of next term, and we will be filming in the last week of January. This will be then screened via a Zoom call, and we will share the details with you next term.
Ballet at BIC is taking off and has launched our dance curriculum this year. We are looking forward to developing our link with the International Dance Teachers Association through introducing a ballet after school club. More details will be coming next term!
Our drama ambassadors - the GCSE and A Level drama students - have as usual been producing outstanding creative work, and have developed some incredibly thought provoking pieces. I reflect the sentiments from the art department - creativity really does have no limits. Year 11 have been busy rehearsing - after their final performance in March I can't wait to share video footage with you! Drama is becoming a hugely popular part of our curriculum, and there will be a drama club for Years 5 - 8 starting after Christmas. We will share more information with you in the New Year!
Congratulations to the Year 10 music students who have been attending our music theory club, run by 6th former Jessica Gilson. They have been expanding their music knowledge essential for their GCSE, but that will also help develop their knowledge of performance and composition. We hope to be able to share even more music performances with you in future terms.
Christmas music and singing has been heard a lot around the school in the past few weeks! From the key stage 2 performances, to the wonderful secondary carol service, from Christmas karaoke in lessons to the study of music used in Christmas adverts and why this is successful. As ever the festive spirit is alive in Performing Arts!
Drama Online We have recently signed up to ´Drama Online´, which is not only incredibly exciting for drama and English departments, but also our entire school family who can enjoy some incredible plays, audio plays and filmed for television dramas. The high quality pieces that are available on there are amazing, and it includes pieces suitable for a variety of different ages. In drama we will be using this to critique pieces of theatre - an important skill used for the ´live theatre review and evaluation´ elements of the written exams for GCSE and A Level, and English will be using it to support studies of texts - including Shakespeare texts for GCSE and A Level. In this time where few of us are going to the theatre, it is an amazing opportunity to watch world class pieces with amazing (and some very famous!) actors, in incredible venues. Log in details for this resource have already been shared with GCSE and A Level drama students, and they will be shared with parents via parent portal. Please feel free to use the resource, and contact Miss Mayes at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any more information or recommendations of what to watch. I will start with recommending ´Peter Pan´ from the National Theatre collection on there - great for all the family!
Whole School House System news
A special message from our House Leaders
I wanted to say a huge well done to everyone in Winton House. You have all made me so proud this term with your enthusiasm and commitment to our team. It has been a pleasure to get to know you and I am really looking forward to seeing more of you in the new year. Have a wonderful Christmas break!
Ms. Florey - Winton House
Well done to everyone in Galileo House. I have really enjoyed my first term as House Leader. It has been fantastic getting to know everyone and I have been impressed by how much people have gotten involved in the different activities we have run. Have a lovely Christmas. I am very much looking forward to seeing you all again (and getting more House points) next year.
Miss Turley - Galileo House
Huge congratulations to everyone in Roosevelt House on an incredibly successful start to the year. It has made me so proud to see you wearing your House badges with pride, and seeing all of your accomplishments. Your commitment to your studies and our House activities has been a joy to see. Special mention to our House and vice captains, who have flourished in their roles so far! I am looking forward to seeing more amazing things from you and hopefully staying top of that House points leader board in the new year! Have a lovely Christmas break.
Miss Mayes - Roosevelt House
Well done to Parks what a great term it has been, full of competitions and events. We have climbed the leader board it just shows you how quickly the leader board can change. I have been constantly impressed by the quality of entries from Parks and I am excited to see what next term brings.
Well done for this term and I wish all of Parks a wonderful Christmas!
Miss Xidakis - Parks House
House Points Totals Update - Congratulations Roosevelt Team!
Congratulations to all students from primary and secondary who took part in the final of our House talent competition last Friday - we were completely blown away with their performances! Students from Year 3 to Year 12 took to the stage, and there was singing, piano playing, gymnastics, dancing, poetry reading and so much more! Our finalists were -
Year 3 - Mahek, Imogen, Alex, Benji, Cheo
Year 4 - Luca, Chloe, Toby
Year 5 - Max, Genevive, Oscar, Clio, Beatrice, Lena
Year 6 - Angie, Alva, Marlene, Elena, Luis
Year 8 - Lilly, Demi, Neo
6th form - Jessica, Malinee
Our winning students were - Imogen from Year 3, Toby from Year 4, Beatrice from Year 5, Elena and Luis from Year 6, Neo from Year 8 and Jessica from Year 12. The House competition was very closely run, but with the highest average score Winton House came out on top. Congratulations Winton!!
Special thank you to our judges Ms Von Waberer, Mr Cruttenden and Miss Xidakis. They certainly had a difficult task choosing our winners, they were spoilt for choice!
Thank you to everyone who came to see the performance, it was a lovely atmosphere and students really felt a huge sense of achievement from their performances.
We have prepared a short montage of a small selection of the many photos we took! There are many more photos and all performances were filmed. Please email Miss Mayes Nicola.email@example.com to request any specific photos or videos.
Science Christmas Decoration
There were so many excellent creative entries to this competition. Well done. Everyone who entered received House points for their House.
The winner, as chosen by Mr Cadman, our current Head of Science is Lily in Year 9 for her wonderful representation of the International Space Station. Congratulations. 10 House Points to Lily.