Ms Alison Colwell, Principal
This week in my secondary assemblies I asked the young people about the point and purpose of school. A seemingly obvious question, I elicited some very good responses about learning new knowledge, forging friendships, thinking about and planning for life after school. The purpose of my assemblies, however, was to focus on that other vitally important aspect of any great school: character development. I explained to the students our school values: excellence, responsibility, respect, integrity and compassion, and we also reflected on the importance of self-esteem, on what we can do to build our own self-esteem and that of others, the theme of the Awareness Afternoon yesterday.
We have spent a lot of time in school and across the Orbital group thinking about the values we consider important to nurture and develop in our young people. The challenge for us in our school is to ensure they are not just words on a website. Just like all schools have a mission statement, all schools talk about the values they hold dear, but what matters is how a school goes about supporting their young people in developing these values. As a staff we have talked about what we are going to do to ensure that our values are not mere words, but that they are modelled constantly, repeatedly reinforced, explained and understood, acknowledged and rewarded when displayed and constantly cultivated. We are creating purposeful opportunities to live and breathe our values, including competitions, charitable work, assemblies, themed weeks, visual displays, social projects and student leadership roles. We have such wonderful students in our school, and our role is to help them to become the absolute best version of themselves. As I said to the students in assembly, every one of you can and should graduate from our school with a first class honours degree in kindness and compassion.
We also are in search of a school motto that encapsulates the spirit and direction of our great school! So far staff have suggested, "Together we strive, together we thrive", and from our many Latin scholars on the staff we have, "Sic itur ad astra" - here we go to the stars. We are opening this out to students as a competition - but parents are also welcome to submit ideas!
Enjoy your weekend,
Baleares International College, Sa Porrassa
Ms Alexandra Tomlinson, Head of Secondary
This week saw the first of our Awareness Afternoons for the Academic year, the theme of which was ´Self-Esteem´. One of our school´s values is, ´Compassion´ and I am reminded of the oft forgotten rule that compassion begins with self-love. How can we feel empathy, pity, commonality with our fellow human beings if we do not feel those things for ourselves? We must be kind to ourselves if we wish to possibly pay that forward to others.
Last week in assembly I addressed students in their Houses on this very theme and urged them to bring in items for our food bank partners, Zaqueo. For our new parents, BIC has a long history of collecting food for this charity, based in Palma, every year around Harvest time.
Each year, when the volunteers come to pick up the items, they meet our students and are stunned by the amounts we have managed to gather. This year we have an every increasing responsibility to give - particularly in light of the news that an increasing number of refugees are washing up on the shores of Mallorca. At the same time, an increasing amount of poverty following the economic crisis caused by Covid is playing a huge part in large numbers of people queuing for food at Zaqueo every day.
Below is a list of food items we are asking our students to bring in, to tutors from now until the end of October. Bring as many as you can and let this year be our best collection ever!
ASOCIACIÓN ZAQUEO Plaça Mercadal nº 1 - Palma 619 044 206 – 670 250 647
DETALLE DE ALIMENTOS E HIGIENE, QUE MAS NECESITA LA ASOCIACIÓN ZAQUEO, PARA EL COMEDOR SOCIAL EN TIEMPOS DE CORONAVIRUS.
|LECHE||GEL BAÑO (tamaño pequeño)|
|CACAO INDIVIDUALES||CHAMPÚ (tamaño pequeño)|
|GALLETAS SURTIDAS DULCES||PASTA DIENTES|
|LEGUMBRES SECAS (garbanzos, lentejas)||JABÓN DE MANOS (tamaño pequeño)|
|LENTEJAS/ GARBANZOS COCIDOS||MAQUINILLAS AFEITAR (desechables)|
|PAN DE MOLDE|
On the afternoon of Thursday 23 September we held our first Awareness Afternoon of this year. These afternoon sessions are an exciting addition to our curriculum and are designed to help our students to think about themselves, their relationships with others and their place in the community and the world. This week we thought about how to improve our self-esteem, in particular by focusing on what you can achieve rather than worrying about what you can't. A wide range of activities, from drawing your thoughts to working in a group to thinking about how we could help a character in a case study, helped pupils to develop vital skills in positive thinking.
The Duke of Edinburgh International Award
On Sunday, DofE students completed their longest and most brutal hike to date. Six hours of hiking across the mountains and coast paths of La Trapa, near St Elm was the perfect beginning to our new year of adventure, endeavour and self discovery. Early in 2022 we will be completing our bronze award qualifying journey and this hike will be valuable miles in the bank for that challenge. In further preparation for that journey we will be completing some camping and hiking excursions over the coming months that will allow our groups to develop the grit and gumption required.
We also have exciting news for our current Year 10s and some new students to the school who will be starting their own DofE experience in the next few weeks. I can promise them that the adventure will provide reward, enrichment and character!
Here are some upcoming dates for our diary:
- Thursday 30th September at 4.15 . Information to follow
- Sunday 3rd October - Group forming and navigation hike | Finca de Galatzo at 9am
Mr John Barter - Head of Sixth Form
As a younger secondary student, I used to watch the BBC TV programme, ‘University Challenge’ with a mix of incredulity and amazement. The show was based on the premise of two teams of four students, all from the same university, who would compete in a knowledge quiz for marks reflecting the ascending difficulty of the questions. I was incredulous that anyone could ever have thought of the questions in the first place and amazed that the people on my TV screen could answer them. These students seemed super-human to me; I could never even hope to achieve the level of knowledge that they had. If university students were all like this, university would never be for me!
I suspect that if I was to watch an old episode now, I might still struggle to answer most of the questions, but I do now understand that the team members straddled a range of subject areas, and that they may not even have the expertise to answer questions from another team member’s subject specialism. However, having attended four universities to achieve different qualifications from Bachelors degree to Masters, I came to realise that I am not super-human, and neither was I out of my league; most university students were just like me in intellect, passion for their subject and determination.
So whilst universities are focussed on ‘excellence’ (in their students, in their staff, in their findings), ‘excellence’ was a broad theme and I could be included in that. It is the message that we want to present to all of our students and parents. A Levels were designed to follow IGCSEs and to prepare students for university; so we can all consider universities the natural progression from BIC. We will do all we can to prepare our students to choose the right university for them, to support them in the application process and in the transition from school student to independent university student. We think all of our young people have the ‘excellence’ to achieve the right university place for them. In the meantime, they need to work on developing their knowledge and skills so that, one day, they could represent their university in a ‘University Challenge’. The coming ‘University Challenge’ organised by Ms Turley, Head of Galileo House, could be the starting point of a wonderful academic future, so I hope that as many students as possible will join in with the fun, taking part directly as a team member or by supporting their peers.
If you feel, as a parent, you need any support in understanding the university application process, please do contact me. Please look out for university and other events for Sixth Formers (and younger students) in the BIC Weekly Noticeboard, attached to Holley’s email, in particular the Student World University Fair in October.
Head of Sixth Form
Whole School House System news
House Points Totals Update - Term 1
This week in the House assemblies we have discussed what makes a good House captain and vice captain. In the House assemblies next week students will stand up and share two reasons why they would like to be a captain, then we will vote for the captains and vice for each team. The Head of Houses cannot wait to hear from our teams about why they would like to be a captain and vice captain.
Maths department news
The Key Stage 3 Problem of the Week launched with great success last week. 30 students attempted a very tricky problem. Students demonstrated real determination and persistence and lots of creativity. Pictures below of some great efforts.
Here is an incredible use of technology to set the problem out!
Look at this persistence! A student worked through the 3, 5 and 7 timetable all the way to 500!
Languages department news
Exciting news from Sra Claudia Rodríguez, Head of Modern Foreign Languages
Year 8 Spanish
Helping to grow excited learners!
Imagine a real scenario where David Bowie meets Rafael Nadal, or Robert Downey Jr speaks real Spanish with Matt Damon. The beginning of the school year is all about learning about each other. So, this year I challenged my students to break the ice and get creative by designing face masks that showcased their likes and preferences. A stellar performance to develop team-building outside of class.
Year 11 Spanish
Oracy was a highly prized skill in Ancient Greece. Ancient Greek scholars were expected to be able to speak convincingly on a range of different topics in a number of different settings, such as public forums, courtrooms and assemblies. These months we are challenging Year 11 students to follow in the footsteps of these famed Ancient Greek scholars by completing twelve oracy challenges during the forthcoming weeks. These challenges will empower them to become accomplished Spanish orators just like the scholars of Ancient Greece who worked hard to master the art of the spoken word.
Year 12 Spanish
We started to dive into film analysis with the enfant terrible of world cinema - always a popular draw among Year 12 Spanish students. During the course of the film Volver, we learn of and bear witness to several serious crimes. How these crimes are dealt with by the characters is key to the path the narrative takes. Can we think of ways in which the narrative might be different? In this film, themes such as morality and motivation go hand in hand, and the consequences of these actions are key, questioning a Spanish society still embedded in the ghosts of the Francoist era.
Humanities department news
Black History Month takes place every October. The theme for 2021 is "Proud to Be". There will be a number of activities taking place over the month including assemblies, talks and explicit links in lessons to the importance of black achievements.
Black History Month links brilliantly to BIC values and in particular compassion and respect. There are a number of great films and TV series that students can be watching at home such as Kevin Hart´s Guide to Black History and films such as The Banker and Selma.
Year 12 geographers have been examining natural hazards and looking into what turns a hazard into a disaster. A topical issue following the volcanic eruption on La Palma!
This week we used shoelace sweets to construct hazard event profiles, comparing the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of 2004 and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011. We looked at different characteristics and impacts and then discussed why earthquake events of comparable magnitude produced different scales of impact.
Next it’s on to disaster trends...are things getting better or worse?
Sports department news
The new swimming pool is looking great and has been used by students across the school with great enthusiasm as you can see in the pictures below. Despite the recent drop in temperature out of the water, students have maintained their positive attitude and determination towards swimming.
Students have also been working on principles of attack and defence which can be applied across a range of sports such as netball, basketball, football and hockey.
English department news
Year 11 students are preparing for their Edexcel English Literature examinations. They are currently revising John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.
Below are samples of textual annotations and revision notes on related contextual information.
Here is an example of an iGCSE style English Literature essay entitled, ‘Explore how Steinbeck presents the American Dream in the novella, Of Mice and Men’.
Year 12 students have started their anthology poetry study for the English Literature course. Here are a few examples of their analytical essays on the poem, ‘Eat Me’ by Patience Agbabi:
Creative Arts department news
Year 6 have been looking at the work of Hundertwasser and made designs based on his whimsical style to create these colourful and imaginative school facades.
Students in Year 7 have been learning about the elements of art, the building blocks of painting and sculpture.
In Year 8 students are focusing on the theme 'birds' and have produced some excellent drawings of cockerels in their first assignment.
Students in Year 9 are making abstract paintings based on a training shoe. Here are some examples of their shoe drawings.
Year 10 have been experimenting with a range of wet and dry media, producing technique grids to record their findings.
In drama students have really been enjoying working in our new drama studio. The refurbished room is being used with students from all Years, and we are seeing the extra creativity that is being encouraged from having this space.
Year 7 students have been studying Shakespeare and how we can bring his stories to life for a modern audience. Here we can see some of their freezeframes they created through the active storytelling of ´Hamlet´.
Year 8 students have been studying ´Harry Potter and the Cursed Child´, and looking at a range of drama performance techniques. Here we can see them working on one scene from the play.
Year 11 students are working on creating their devising piece for their coursework, and are exploring the control that social media and the opinions of others have over our self image. Here we can see them developing their opening scene of this piece.
Auditions for our school production of ´Matilda´ have been taking place this week and we have loved seeing the incredible wealth of talent we have here at BIC. It really will be a challenge to decide who will be taking on our lead roles! More to come on this in the next newsletter.
Science department news
World Space Week
The first week of October is both the start of Black History Month and World Space Week.
Subjects across the school are working together to bring both World Space Week and Black History Month into sharp focus. Humanities and science are working together through “Hidden Figures” which tells the story of three female African-American mathematicians who played a pivotal role in astronaut John Glenn's launch into orbit whilst having to deal with racial and gender discrimination at work.
Enjoy our World Space Week quiz here. Answers can be recorded in this Google Form or returned on paper to Mr Wolfenden. There will be prizes for the winners as well as House points available for all participants.
Baleares International Space Night
On Friday 8th October, students in Years 7,8 & 9 are invited to celebrate World Space Week by attending the Baleares International Space Night. As you will no doubt know, the original plan was to have a sleepover where the students would enjoy the full night star gazing. After reviewing the safety protocols, we are not yet (sadly) in a position where we are yet allowed to run this event as planned. The key word here that is important is “yet.” We have made so much hard-fought progress against COVID, the future is looking brighter and as soon as we can run a sleepover, we will!
We have amended our programme so that students can still come and enjoy a very late night with us here at BIC. Running from 8PM on Friday 8th of October to 1AM on Saturday the 9th of October, students will be able to:
Search for planets in our solar system using a telescope
Identify various constellations in the night sky
Watch movies/ documentaries about space and the scientists who explore it
Experience other space-related surprises
Given the nature of the event there will be limited places available, so before formal booking commences we are asking for an expression of interest and some details. Please enter these in the google form here. There will be a small fee for dinner, drinks and snacks (because what's a movie without snacks?!).
Science Outreach at Home
Building on the sessions we delivered last academic year focusing on the evolution of life on Earth together with pupil progress webinars, we would like to welcome you to our first home-school outreach event of the year. On Thursday 7th of October at 17:30, as part of World Space Week, we would like to invite you to join us on Zoom to learn about Nebulae! This is open to all ages and will involve a guided practical session as students make a model of the Laguna Nebula in the home. Please express your interest by completing the form here. The equipment that will need to be purchased for the session is listed here. Any paint can be used, I would recommend pinks, blues, purples and black.
Learning in Science
KS3 students have been studying sound and how we hear. As part of this topic students have been making model ears showing the different parts of the ear and what their function is.
Year 10 double award and triple biology students have been studying cell structure and function. They have been using the microscopes to identify cells and their parts.
Year 12 biologists have been studying mammalian transport systems which includes mass transport and circulation, the role of blood, blood vessels, the heart and cardiac cycle and atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. As part of the topic they have been dissecting a mammalian heart to identify structures such as the coronary arteries, atria, ventricles, atrioventricular and semilunar valves and all the blood vessels which take blood to and from the heart.
Students in Year 7 have been investigating the seven life processes in the context of using microscopes to identify cell structures. We were very impressed as students were able to explain the changes in atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide during seed germination.
Year 8 students have been calculating the speed of sound whilst also evaluating the impact of reaction times.
Students in Year 9 have been investigating a question that presented itself when they were learning about plant products. One student wanted to compare and contrast how popular different fruits were with flies! It is always a pleasure to follow the path that is laid out by the students. Year 9 students also had the opportunity to investigate the impact of fertiliser on seed growth.
Year 10 students have been the correlation between temperature and diffusion in chemistry.
Year 11 students rose to the challenge when being judged by Dr Cruttenden and Ms Colwell. All of the loaves were tasty, proving that our students have really understood the biotechnology underpinning the process of bread making. Last, but not yeast, this week our students enjoyed making live yoghurt.