A message from Alison Colwell, Principal
We wrote last week about the exceptional work and personalities of our wonderful students here at BIC, as we celebrated World Rainbow Day. Every week in this newsletter we showcase the fabulous work that so many of our children and young people achieve. This week I have, as usual, been in many classrooms, and I have been inspired by some great teaching and learning. In particular, I have very much enjoyed Ms Bernie's Year 7 (B) English class, as students have been working on descriptive writing and preparing persuasive speeches. Everyone in that group is working extremely well, and I was particularly impressed by the work of Holly, Leon, Laura, William, Finn, Seren, Zeph and Millie. Keep up the high standards 7B and well done.
But school life has its ups and downs. We work with children and young people, and they make mistakes; we all do. I have had some interesting conversations with some of you in recent weeks over the downside of smartphones and the real problems of social media. As I have said to parents, any head who says there is no unkindness in their school is not telling the truth. However, what a school can and must do is build a culture where incidents of bullying are rare, and action against such incidents is swift and strong. Good school leaders create a climate where unkindness is not tolerated; where children feel safe and know they have someone they can talk to if things go wrong or someone else is being unkind; where the atmosphere is one of mutual respect, of forgiveness, of learning from misdemeanours; and where children and young people learn and develop strong values and a sense of civic duty.
When I went to school, bullying or unpleasantness in school ended at 3.30. In today's world, we all know that unkind behaviour between children and young people can be 24/7 with the misuse of technology. I am really clear, committed and determined to lead a school with that culture and atmosphere I have so often described - one of kindness, integrity, compassion for those less fortunate and a sense of looking out for, and after, each other. Parents must play their part in this too. If your children have smartphones, monitor them. Limit their usage and restrict screen time. We advise against children being in groups, such as WhatsApp, as this so often leads to feelings of hurt, upset or being left out. Encourage your children to play outside, to play sport, to be creative, to chat. School is a community, and it is by us working together that we can ensure our children's lives, in and out of school, are safe and happy.
Principal, BIC Sa Porrassa
Mrs Alexandra Tomlinson - Head of Secondary
For the last two weeks I have been meeting with Year 11 and 13 in order to discuss their academic futures and aspirations. I have been so impressed with every student´s determination to succeed at the highest level. All of the Year 13s are applying to the top universities in the world for courses which range from medicine to architecture to business, international relations, Spanish and economics. Almost all of the Year 11s confirmed that they would be applying for our Sixth Form, recognising that it offers an excellent choice of A Level subjects with fantastic, inspirational teaching within a warm and caring environment.
I have so enjoyed also hearing about our students´ out of school interests and achievements. It is wonderful to hear that Harriet in 11B helps out regularly with her football team and that Selina (also in 11B) has gained her sailing licence. I was equally delighted to find out from Nina Beth in 11I that she has won a significant amount of silverware in athletics and competes in long distance running for her club. So, too to discover that Dmitry in Year 13 is a Balearic dive champion!
This is only a small snapshot of the talent present within our school. What a fabulous student body we have. In addition, so many students who I met told me that they wanted to apply for House Captain and to support their school. This is a fantastic example of the school spirit that I have seen fostered from the beginning of term and the way in which I know, with your support, our young people will thrive.
Mrs Alexandra Tomlinson
Head of Secondary
Mr John Barter - Head of Sixth Form
As weeks go, this has been one of the busier ones. The Sixth Form are into good routines and we have now been focussing on all the ‘extras’. As you know, we had hoped to hold our first Sixth Form parents evening of the year on Thursday. As a result of technical issues we felt we needed to postpone until we were sure that everything was correct. We have been testing it over the last few days and we are sure that it will make for an efficient evening for both parents and teachers. Five minutes have been allowed for each meeting, so please be aware of this. The system doesn’t allow any over-run. If you think the meeting has finished and you still have questions, please email the relevant teacher(s) who will be happy to help you further. Your feedback on the Schoolcloud system, after the evening, will be appreciated.
Year 13 students are now devoting a lot of time to their university applications and teachers to writing supporting references. I am pleased to say that we are likely to have two Oxbridge candidates; they need to have their applications sent by the 15th October. I feel that I am learning so much more about my Year group through this process. I have long known that they are able students with wonderful personalities. Now I am learning the detail of their lives, inside and outside of the lessons. They compare well with past students in other schools, so they have every chance of achieving their favoured destinations.
This week I have also had feedback from our ex-Year 13s, who are now at university. I have been negotiating the date of a celebration evening for them (when they return to Mallorca) so we can give them their A Level certificates. I have enjoyed hearing their enthusiasm for their new courses and lives. Covid is having an impact on their experiences but they are philosophical and the positives certainly seem to be outweighing the negatives.
I am also pleased to report that Year 12s are settling in well to their new courses. Some had been struggling with the greater level of organisation expected with the increased level of independent learning. This is a standard experience for Year 12 students, but they are reflective and working on ways to improve in this area. They are certainly enthusiastic about their courses and in working together. They are also forming positive working relationships with Year 13 students; they have a lot to learn from their older peers, so this is extremely welcome and reflects well on all of them. Certainly, the enthusiasm for school, in both Year groups, was in evidence this week when we had speeches from eight different applicants to be House Captain; two from each House. The commitment to working with their fellow students, young and old, was clear to see. Whoever gets selected, will do a fantastic job and I feel sure they will be well supported by the candidates who are not successful this time around. There will be a big announcement of the successful candidates in next week’s newsletter. For now, just a big ‘well done’ from me to all of them.
Mr John Barter
Head of Sixth Form
Maths department news - An insight into our Maths subjects
If you ever struggled with maths at school, you were in good company.
This week, Sir Roger Penrose, won the Nobel Prize for Physics at the age of 89. Yet maths was never easy for young Roger in school. Sir Roger won this most prestigious award after demonstrating that black holes were an inevitable consequence of Albert's Einstein's general theory of relativity. Black holes are regions of space where gravity is so strong that not even light can escape from them. He has done very well for himself.
"I was always very slow. I was good at maths, yes, but I didn't necessarily do very well in my tests," the Colchester-born laureate recalled.
"But the teacher realised if he gave me enough time, I would do well. I basically had to do everything by working it out from first principles."
Whoever that teacher was – and the lessons were in Canada during the war years – we have reason to thank him for his patience with the young pupil.
Sir Roger would go on to become a star at mathematics, first at University College London and then at Cambridge University, where he pursued his PhD.
Sir Roger’s success was earned through his ability to explain the ideas of others through mathematics. He achieved a level of mathematical skill that became a creative tool of wonder and fascination. We are all on that journey, reaching for mathematical perfection - and at iGCSE level that is a grade 9. Our students are climbing that mountain faster than the rest of us and we feel it is crucial that they enjoy and feel encouraged on that journey, take time over the challenges and revel in their successes. It is not a race, if it was we would not have proven black holes. It is a journey strewn with obstacles, different for every mind, but it is a journey that rewards those who show persistence, resilience, fascination and character. This is why our subject is so valued in society.
Read more about Roger Penrose at The man who discovered black holes
Despite the current restrictions in school we are revelling in our learning, being back in school and driving towards success. Maths lessons are focused on delivering challenge, so that all students can feel they are progressing well.
In Year 7 we have been developing and consolidating our number skills, where possible extending these into higher level work involving recurring decimals. This week my class was learning about why dividing by zero is one way to think about infinity and how this looks on a graph. This learning leap was made not through prior planning but our response to an interesting question from our class. This is what we love about being in the classroom, taking the interest and enthusiasm of our students and seeing where that will take us, almost organically. This engagement is crucial for us to achieve our potential and so celebrating successes is a vital facet of our school culture.
Year 8 has taken the topic of negative numbers and applied it to the fascinating atomic calculations around temperature and electronic charges (see Laia Gallego de Abasolo’s excellent work on this above). In other lessons they have been discovering the beauty of the Fibonacci sequence and its application to the real world.
Developing algebra and fraction 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 to 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, Year 10 have had assessments on number and percentages. Polishing these core number skills is crucial as we build and extend towards iGCSE success, linking previous knowledge to exam type questions while still exploring each topic intuitively.
And our Year 11 students are already drilling down into the specific skills required to deliver on their full potential next summer. We have made a robust start to the year, covering significant ground as we backfill all the key skills to ensure that we are exactly where we need to be in time for our exams. Attendance is unbelievably important for this Year group as we have a large amount of ground to cover through fast paced teaching and constructive homework.
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 plot their way to A level success they are exploring the world of mechanics, which applies Newtonian laws of forces and motion.
English department news
This week, students in Years 7 to 11 have been giving presentations in their English lessons, speaking on topics as diverse as skateboarding, smoking, school uniform and global warming. While there was some nervousness, the students gave thoughtful and often engaging, thought-provoking presentations. Well done to everyone who stepped up to the challenge.
The best presenters will be chosen to represent their House in the secondary school debating competition taking place in the coming weeks. See next week’s newsletter for more information!
The best debaters from Years 9 to 11 will go through to the Rotary debating competition beginning in early November. This year the contest is moving online but it will be no less fierce. We look forward to seeing who will represent BIC in this inter-school competition.
We are delighted to share some fantastic work from our students in different years groups.
- Year 11- Elle McCue: A very relevant and well written debate speech for Scottish independence.
- Year 7- Holly Hannigan: A wonderfully descriptive story about a garage cat.
- Year 8- Elisa Ploch: A beautiful poem about the sea.
We hope you enjoy the read as much as we have done!
Whole School House System news
BIC goes to the polls
This week our primary students have been writing speeches to become the House Captains and House Vice Captains for our four Houses. Each House will have two representatives per Year group. This is an excellent opportunity for students to get involved in the new House system, and to develop essential skills such as teamwork and resilience. It is also a great way to stand out from the crowd when writing personal statements in the future for job opportunities and universities. Primary students have given their speeches in assembly this Friday.
The candidates in Years 7, 12 and 13 have also already delivered their speeches and votes have been cast. Next week, the remaining secondary candidates will deliver their speeches.
The results will be revealed in the House assemblies week commencing 19th October. The House Leaders have been extremely impressed with the speeches they have heard so far. Good luck everyone!
BIC gets physical
This week in PE lessons we have launched our House burpee competition! Every PE class is participating, and will have a representative from each House competing. The House that can complete the most amount of burpees in total will be the champions!
Classes are currently practising and perfecting their burpees this week with Mr Fitzpatrick and Miss Izabella, and we will keep you updated with this competition next week.
The House Leaders - Ms Florey, Ms Mayers, Ms Xidakis, Ms Turley
House Points Totals Update
Our students have had an excellent start to the year and have been receiving House points from staff for the following reasons:
- Showing kindness
- Excellent class participation
- Excellent class work
- Excellent homework
- Representing the school
- 100% attendance and punctuality for the week
- Inter-House Competition
- Showing independence
- Showing confidence
- Showing integrity
The current totals show that it is very close between the Houses. Keep up the good work everyone!
Creative Arts department
´Oh no it isn´t´ I hear you cry.......oh yes it is! We will be working on putting on our own production of Cinderella the pantomime this upcoming festive season. This will be an outdoor performance spectacular that we cannot wait to invite you along to. Auditions are being held for Years 3-13 in the last week of term with Ms Mayes and Mrs Tomlinson. Students can collect a short script for the audition to practise and prepare next week from Ms Mayes in the PE office at break times. More information about the auditions will be coming next week but for now get practising your best ´He´s behind you!´ in preparation for what will be a fantastic event.
Open Days at Baleares International College
Our next Open Days will be held in October across both BIC schools, Sant Agustí and Sa Porrassa.
- Sant Agustí Campus: Thursday 22nd October 2020
- Sa Porrassa Campus: Tuesday 20th October 2020
This is an ideal opportunity for you and your child to gain an insight into student life here at BIC.
These are whole school Open Days, suitable for all families with children between the age of 2 - 18 looking to find the right school. Due to Covid restrictions, it is important that you let us know if you would like to attend any of our Open Days as we will be organising the tours at different time slots, tailored to the specific Year group(s) you are interested in.
Following these opportunities to tour our facilities, BIC Sa Porrassa and BIC Sant Agustí will be holding a Virtual Open Dayto offer families the opportunity to get a better idea of our schools. A Virtual Open Day is a great opportunity for you to learn about our School and enter in a live Q and A session with our Principal and Leadership Team.
To register for our Virtual Open Day please click on the following link
- BIC Sa Porrassa Virtual Open Day 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 Virtual Open Day - an Early Years and Primary specialised School located in the wonderful neighbourhood of Sant Agustí, Palma
In order to organise a tour at either or both of our Open Days, please contact us directly:
- San Agustí - firstname.lastname@example.org | (+34) 971 403 161
- Sa Porrassa - email@example.com | (+34) 971 133 167
We look forward welcoming you to Baleares International College