Ms Alison Colwell, Principal
I cannot believe how quickly the term seems to have flown! It feels like only yesterday we were welcoming our students back and now we are sending them off to what I hope is a week of rest, relaxation and fun (although not forgetting work especially for some of our older students!) This term has been another hugely successful and enjoyable one. We have welcomed new staff across the school who have made a fantastic start and further strengthened our outstanding teaching team. Our Activity Afternoon has also been a tremendous success, with the students being able to enjoy and learn a wide range of new and exciting sports, skills and activities. We met with the School Council earlier this month, and were able to hear first hand from the students their main priorities and wish list - which I'm pleased to say chimed exactly with our own plans for the year ahead. Our intrepid Duke of Edinburgh participants experienced an overnight camp, we held our own in the inter-schools debating competition,the inter-House University Challenge quiz brimmed over with enthusiasm and excitement, and over 100 students enjoyed our first Space Night observing stars and planets.
Great progress has been made on further developing our school site, with sterling work being carried out by many parents getting the library ready. In addition, we have several projects well under way or being scoped, including plans for the canteen, vegetable plots and a well-being garden. On this note, a huge thank you again to the fabulous PTA whose momentum and energy seem unstoppable (and we don't want to stop them!), not least with the transformation of the gym earlier this term and the spooky Halloween decorations that are currently adorning the school; and another thank you for the wonderful feast prepared for us on Teacher Appreciation Day.
Baleares International College, Sa Porrassa
Victoria Fernandez, our bursar, has this week left BIC after 13 years with the school. She plans to take some time out to focus on her family before considering her next challenge. Victoria joined Baleares International College in 2008, the same year the school became part of the Orbital group, and has supported the school through much change since. I know many of us will miss Victoria and will want to join me in wishing her all the very best for the future.
From after half term Liam Somers will be joining us full time and will be teaching PE in the primary school, as well as continuing to work as a Learning Support Assistant with Year 5. We are delighted that he is going to be doing this, and our primary students will benefit greatly from his expertise and experience teaching PE.
Ms Alexandra Tomlinson, Head of Secondary
Love yourself, be kind to yourself
During October we have been marking Mental Health month. This week in his assemblies, Dr. Cruttenden has spoken of the important connection between regular physical exercise and good mental health. Last week, Mrs. Von Waberer shared some top tips for mental health first aid and self care with our students in her assemblies. We place great importance on self love and care through a variety of activities and initiatives in school - yoga, meditation and mindfulness during Activity Afternoons and our Awareness Afternoon recently on self worth and respect are just two examples of this. At the same time we ensure that students have continuous access to wellbeing support through our House and pastoral system.
For parents who are looking to support their children´s mental wellbeing or for young people who are trying to help themselves, the below outlines some key advice from charities in how to do so:
Maintain a daily routine with consistent sleep, activity and study patterns.
Stay connected with others and try to find moments of gratitude.
Talk to people you feel comfortable with about your feelings or worries, then give yourself permission to stop worrying.
Eat breakfast every morning. If possible, maintain a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables and eat meals at regular times throughout the day.
Limit coffee or energy drinks, as these will increase feelings of anxiety and make it difficult to relax.
Look for patterns or be aware of situations that make you feel particularly worried or anxious. When you’re in these situations, try relaxation or distraction techniques or ask a family member or friend to help.
Relieve times of high anxiety with physical activity; engage in regular aerobic exercise.
Limit the amount of time you spend consuming news media or social media if you are finding information about COVID-19 overwhelming or distressing.
Do hobbies or activities that you enjoy, calm you down or focus your mind and body. These could be arts and crafts, physical activity, listening to music, reading, journalling, watching TV or movies, or connecting with friends by phone, videoconference or text.
Understand that the people around you are probably also finding this situation stressful, and they might also be having difficulty controlling their emotions. Try to resolve conflict.
If you continue to feel overwhelmed, out of control or unable to calm down after a period of weeks, seek help from a mental health professional.
Take time for yourself.
Be kind to yourself and each other. We’ll work through this together.
For a useful set of resources on maintaining mental and emotional health in young people, the following link contains some good starting points:
Mr John Barter - Head of Sixth Form
In looking back at the last half term, there are a range of highlights for me. A major one was finding out that we had attracted a number of new students into the Sixth Form in the last few days before term started and would now have fifty students in the Sixth Form. It showed a great deal of confidence in what we were doing here at BIC. I have been pleased to see how the new Year 12 students have settled onto their new courses and to see a developing community between Year 12 and 13. We have been very lucky to attract such lovely young people into the school; they are setting a respectful and compassionate culture that will last well beyond their leaving. This is extending further with the new mixed tutor groups. It is exciting not only to see the Sixth Formers working on the Halloween disco for the fun of the younger students, but to be doing it in tandem with the PTA. Well done and thank you to all.
Generally, support from our parents has been one of this half-term’s highlights. How wonderful it was to see the transformation of our Sports Hall over a weekend by parents, teachers and students combined and then to see the PTA involving the students in discussions about the creation of a new Sixth Form library. The support of Sixth Form parents in the Schoolcloud parent evenings was also much appreciated; knowing that it is a team effort, and that we have parental support, makes every teacher’s job easier. On a personal level I would like to thank parents for their sympathetic responses to my recent illness. But the pièce de résistance was definitely the mass parental response to International Teacher Day; it will definitely live in the hearts of BIC teachers for a very long time. It was a wonderful day and made BIC staff feel so valued.
So, this term has been characterised by the further development of ‘Team BIC’. It is exciting and energising. There is no doubt that BIC will continue to grow in outcomes and reputation as a result.
I wish you all a wonderful (and safe) half-term whatever you do.
Head of Sixth Form
The Duke of Edinburgh International Award
It was cold.
The path: stony and steep. Our bags: heavy and unforgiving. And our bodies and bones: sore. Hiking in the mountains of north Mallorca is not a piece of ensaimada - but it is a blessing and a delight that was completely absorbed and relished by our outstanding DofE recruits.
Camping for the first time in Lluc, our students had to carry all their kit and kaboodle for every inch of the staggering hikes. Setting up camp in the dark, cooking on stoves, lighting fires and fighting the cold.
We found strength, skills and understanding that we never knew we had. And all students were returned, happy, tired and inspired - stronger and more independent. Horizons and dreams unleashed.
Whole School House System news
House Points Totals Update - Term 1
A message from your Heads of House
Miss Xidakis, Head of Parks House
I would like to thank the House captains who helped with the stalls on the Cancer awareness day and all the students who wore pink and made a donation to the charity; we really are a compassionate and caring team. We have had a wonderful half term consistently being in the lead. Well done Parks. Let's resume the fantastic effort next term. I wish you all a lovely half term break.
Miss Mayes, Head of Roosevelt House
I am extremely proud of all students in Roosevelt House for a fantastic start to the academic year. Thank you to our House captains and vice captains for being excellent representatives for our House at both house and School Council, as well as those of you who have helped at events. This includes those who were helping at Breast Cancer awareness day with collections and the stalls. It was so lovely to see so many of you wearing pink! Our University Challenge success and consistent effort in getting House points has demonstrated our resilience and drive to succeed. I look forward to continuing the excellent work after a well deserved half term break.
Miss Turley, Head of Galileo House
Congratulations to everyone in Galileo House for their super work and effort this half term. It has been great to see you all settle in so well into the new school year. I have been impressed with so much; your passion, teamwork and commitment to name a few. A massive thank you to our House and vice captains for representing Galileo at House and School Council. I am looking forward to building on our success after a well deserved break.
Mrs Florey, Head of Winton House
Well done to everyone in Winton House for all your hard work and commitment this half term. You have got stuck into every competition and event and worked together so well. Thank you so much to all of our fantastic captains and vice captains who represented us at House and School Council - I know there are many exciting plans for the next half term. Enjoy your half term break and I look forward to welcoming you back refreshed and ready for another fantastic half term.
Maths department news
The final Key Stage 3 Problem of the week of the half term was a really tricky one as students had to construct a 3 x 3 x 3 cube out of 27 die and find the smallest possible sum on the faces. As ever the students stepped up to the mark and produced some fantastic solutions.
See Luis Mayol Cardona´s solution below, he has drawn a series of excellent diagrams to help understand and solve the problem. Very impressive.
There have been 57 students involved in Key Stage 3 Problem of the Week this term already. The competition for top spot is fierce with five students having answered four out of five problems correctly. These are Joel , Neithan, Ivan, Pavan and Alex . There are a number of students on three correct solutions. Do remember that students who complete over 80% of problems will also be entered in the random participation draw at the end of term. The initiative will start again after half term!
Languages department news
The French club has watched Ratatouille in French and has worked on the description of the main characters of the movie.
Year 10 Master Chefs!!!
The Year 10 group has prepared, baked some dishes and recorded some cooking shows. All the cakes have been brought to school and been eaten together. A fantastic experience. Everything was delicious! We have such talented master chefs in BIC!
BIC visits Paris!
The Modern Foreign Languages department is delighted to announce that a cultural trip to Paris has been organised and will take place in June 2022. This trip has been offered to all pupils studying French from year 7 to 10.
The trip will include a variety of exciting activities:
- an afternoon boat cruise on the River Seine to see the iconic Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame
- visits to various landmarks including le Centre Beaubourg, le Sacré Coeur, l’Atelier des Lumières, les Champs Elysées and l’Arc de Triomphe.
- a visit to Cité des Sciences Explora, Planetarium and Submarine
- a guided visit of UNESCO
- a virtual “FlyView” experience over Paris.
Humanities department news
This has been a very busy half term within the Humanities Department and the staff would like to thank the students for all of their hard work.
A very exciting development this year is that BIC is taking part in a Model UN event. Ms. Florey, Ms. Pooler and Ms. Hawksworth are leading on this with the support of Lara Wiesenthal, a BIC parent. Ten students will represent the school in January in Bilbao. They have formed two delegations representing Japan and South Korea for which they will write position papers and resolutions, and take part in debates over a range of topics.
Year 9 students this half term have been examining some very important global issues in their lessons. In geography they have been learning about refugees including the contemporary issue of climate refugees. In history the students are learning about the Russian Revolution with a clear focus on the concept of dictatorship which links closely to their topic in GC on how governments work.
Year 8 Global Citizenship students are currently learning about crime and punishment. They have been following the (fictional) case of Lee Jones who has been charged with murder. This week the students took on different roles such as Judge, Defence barrister and Prosecution barrister to recreate the courtroom scenes during this trial.
Sports department news
In the final week of each half term we will be having inter-house competitions in a range of different sports throughout the year. This is where the students team up with other members of their House to play competitive sport against each other, to score points towards the House championship.
The competitions in secondary this half term are;
Year 7 - Volleyball
Year 8 - Netball
Year 9 - Volleyball
Year 10 - Basketball and Football
Year 11 - Badminton
Check out the photos of the competitions below!
We will announce the results of the competitions in the first week back after half term to students and in the following newsletter to parents.
English department news
The students in Year 8 have just completed the popular book Holes by Louis Sachar.
Students were asked to choose from a variety of tasks as homework. Here are some excellent examples:
Exploring racism and historical context in the novel by Ivan, Year 8.
Nicholas can’t put it down and Absy has been inspired to write poetry about it.
In Year 11, the students have been experimenting with different ways in which to study. They have learned how to study individually and in groups and here is the process from start to finish:
The students organised questions into two different categories: characters and themes, before deciding on which to answer.
Here, they brainstormed their ideas.
Here are some examples of the students’ completed analytical essays on Of Mice and Men:
In Year 12, the students have learned how to annotate, plan and write a comparative essay under timed conditions for the AS Level English Literature poetry component.
Rotary Inter-school Debating Competition
This week we returned to in-person debating with BIC debating against Agora in the second debate of the first round of the Rotary competition. Agora won by a slim margin, with the BIC team commended for the flow of their argument and their teamwork.
Thank you, Agora, for your hospitality and warm welcome to your school. A huge well done to James, Palak and Ava for all your research and preparation in the lead up to the debate. We know you will act on the advice given by the Rotary judges, and we look forward to you coming back even stronger in the next debate against Lycée Français on Thursday 18th November.
A video of the debate can be found here: Rotary School Debate 19 Oct 2021.
Creative department news
Year 8 students this week have been showing off their devising and design skills. In groups, students transformed the drama studio into a common room from Hogwarts, following their studies of ´Harry Potter and the Cursed Child´. They then presented their site specific scenes they had created for their common room, where they played the parts of older students in the house showing new students round the common room. Below we can see some action shots, as well as some of their design ideas.
Year 7 drama students have been studying Shakespeare. They have looked at the play ´The Tempest´ this week, and have been considering how they can use performance skills to bring a short scene between the sailors to life for a modern audience. Below we can see some of them in action.
In Year 9 drama we have been studying Bertold Brecht, and looking at how he wanted to educate his audience and inspire them to make a change. We have been working with a script of a play called ´Bully´ and seeing how the issues that are raised in this script, such as online abuse, racism and difficult relationships with peers and family, can be presented to the audience using Brecht´s techniques. Below we can see the Year 9 students in action.
Hundertwasser paintings by Year 6.
Pipeline by Teddy and Riogh Year 7
Corkscrew by Aisha (Year 7)
Corkscrew by Aisha (Year 7)
Bird silhouettes by Tara and Zach (Year 8)
Abstract trainer paintings by Louis, Lina, Ella, Laia, Ismene and Zane (Year 9)
Sixth Form studio work
Science department news
Firstly, a massive thank you to the students, staff and parents who came to and enjoyed our Baleares International College Space Night. Mr Warn did an incredible job of organising an event that enthused so many. World Space Week culminated in the opportunity for our students to learn about our Solar System in the context of equality. As I said to all students (and anyone willing to listen), some of our students will go into space one day. Only 11% of the people who have travelled to space have been women and, while barriers are being broken down, we still have a long way to go. Our students, like our staff, were angry that we are not yet at a point where we can say that space is truly for everyone. Sexism and misogyny have ruled, people with passions have been sidelined, and our students and staff were rightly passionate in their advocacy for change. We are realists; we don’t expect that our focus week on equality in space will right all wrongs, but the fight starts here. Thank you to you all for a wonderful week. When one or more of you go to space, or work on space projects, please come back to BIC and enthral the next generation of students for us! Take a moment to look at these quotes from some prominent scientists who have broken down barriers. Let us break down more together.
Year 11 biologists have been learning about the nervous and endocrine systems and how these are used in conjunction to control our bodies. Hormonal control of blood glucose is a key topic and students have been learning about what happens if someone is diabetic. As part of this they have been testing (fake) urine samples for glucose using Benedict’s reagent.
The Year 12 biologists got into the spirit of our ‘wear it pink’ day in awareness for Breast Cancer on Tuesday by experimenting with some pink substances. Agar made with sodium hydroxide and phenolphthalein is pink, but when hydrochloric acid is added, it turns colourless. Students investigated the effect of surface area to volume ratio and concentration on diffusion using this knowledge.