Your guide to all news at school.
Ms Alison Colwell, Principal
Over Christmas I read an interesting article by a journalist who, fed up of constantly walking past his bookshelves of unread books, set himself a challenge: to read a book a week for the entire year. I was really inspired and have set myself the same target. So far, I’m on track!
Encouraging your children to read really is one of the most important things you can do. Reading Week at BIC SAP is of course an excellent time to reflect on the many benefits and indeed joys of reading. What the article I read said was, much like setting any goal - to run a marathon, to learn a language, to climb a mountain - you have to have a plan, to make preparations, to train, to practice. In today’s busy world, with so many competing pressures, to set out to read a book a week needs a strategy. Some things have to go, be that watching television, or (highly recommended) coming off social media; I think we are all aware of how easy it is to while away (I’d say waste) time scrolling through our phones. To meet the challenge it’s important to build chunks of time each evening and at the weekends to read, and to set a daily target of the number of pages you’ll get through. I admit that on a week that looks especially busy I have chosen a shorter book! (I hope that’s not cheating, to me it seemed sensible.)
Ten weeks into 2022, I am reading book ten. My choices have been a mixture of novels and nonfiction (and if you’re interested my favourite to date has been “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett). You can see at the end of staff emails what books we are currently reading; I hope they give you some ideas of the next book you also may want to delve into.
Happy reading everyone!
Phil Brown- Newly appointed Head of Secondary at BIC, Sa Porrassa
I am delighted to announce that, following an extensive and rigorous recruitment process, which attracted a huge number of high calibre applicants for the new Head of Secondary post, we have this week appointed Phil Brown. Mr Brown worked for many years in London, at a number of extremely high performing schools, and then moved overseas where, for the last 6 years, he has worked at the International School of the Seychelles, as an English teacher, a Head of Sixth Form and currently Deputy Head of Secondary. Mr Brown writes:
Greetings BIC staff, parents and, most importantly, students. I'm so thrilled to think that, in 5 months time, I shall be with you all as your Head of Secondary. In the coming months, I'm looking forward to working with Ms Tomlinson and Ms Colwell and learning everything I can about BIC Sa Porrassa to make sure we hit the ground running next September and make 2023 an outstanding year for BIC.
I chose BIC because I want to work somewhere which puts the wellbeing of students and staff as the highest of priorities whilst holding sky-high expectations for every member of the community. Having spent the last 6 years in another small island community, I am looking forward to getting to know all of you, finding out your passions and your goals for the future and making sure you have all the help you need from our amazing teaching team.
In my current office, where I am writing this, I have a few quotations on my wall. One of those quotations is often attributed to Sydney J. Harris in 1978, but is likely to have come from a much earlier source. It reads 'The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.' Over the years I've had many debates with friends and colleagues about what this means. To me, it means that young people are not in school to become simple reflections of whatever is on the board in front of them. Rather, like windows, they are there to let the light in from the outside world and to see just how many possibilities are out there whenever they turn to one another. When I look at my students, I don't want to see myself, but rather I want to see the world and all of its potential. I cannot wait to join you all in Mallorca later this year and be part of your learning journeys.
Ms Alexandra Tomlinson, Head of Secondary
The Joy of Reading
This week we have celebrated BIC Book Week packed with loads of events and culminating in wearing our Book Day costumes today.
There is nothing like a good book. Not only for enjoyment but for health benefits too. Research tells us that reading reduces stress, increases intelligence, expands knowledge and understanding and improves memory. A lifelong love and passion for reading is a gift which allows us to know the magic of literature, the comfort of a good book in dark times and permits our imaginations to run free. Reading is liberty, it is hope and it is the light that curtails the cynicism of the world. Plunge into a book which captivates you and as you finish you say goodbye to characters who have become friends. Pick up a new one and a fresh set of companions await.
Reading is life. It ignites our neural pathways, improves empathy - deepening our understanding of others´ thoughts, emotions and desires. Sometimes, in an increasingly fragmented world, I wonder if reading is the only way that we can truly connect. As E.M. Forster so famously wrote, “Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.”
Mr John Barter - Head of Sixth Form
I am aware that in my newsletter pieces, I spend more time discussing the future than the present. However, for the Sixth Form, the future is only just around the corner and working towards it is the whole point of the present. So I make only a small apology for this and hope that what I write, helps make you feel more secure about what your son or daughter can expect and that he or she is in good hands.
Last night we held our annual higher education webinar, where we outlined the application systems for universities in Germany, Holland, Spain and the UK (as these are the most popular destinations for our Year 13 leavers). I hope that the evening gave parents insight into:
The similarities of each system: the focus on grades and personal skills and interests.
The idiosyncrasies of each system: Spain’s public universities, in particular, with their focus on Specific Competency tests (PCEs); the need for extra PCE style tests for some subjects like law and medicine in the UK; and Germany’s need for applicants to have breadth to their application profile. Perhaps more stereotypically, the Dutch system is more laid back and much more interested in the student as a person and their levels of motivation.
I hope that we were able to convey our expertise in guiding students and the support network that we have built up to help us. To reassure you further, we have expertise in supporting applications to other countries too. For example, one of our Year 13s, Renat, has just been awarded an offer in response to his University of California Santa Cruz application. If you have specific needs or interests with regard to university applications, please do contact me.
All universities will have an expectation that BIC will offer a reference (sometimes two) about our students when they apply. They will expect us to write about the student as a person, as an academic, their personal interests and their contribution to the school community and to the wider community. They want to know that the student perseveres with their studies, despite challenges that come their way. They want to know that students have the capacity and maturity to act independently, but have the wherewithal to seek support when they really need it. They will also expect comments on a student’s capacity to meet deadlines, as well as levels of attendance and punctuality. I have seen several Sixth Form students this week as I feel they are falling short in one or more of these areas. I hope that parents fully understand why we have focussed on these issues and that we have your full support in seeking improvements; we want the students to positively reflect the behaviours that we have to write about in their references. We will not risk our reputation with universities by providing less than accurate references; the universities can expect that we will give a full and honest picture of our students when they apply. Those students who give everything towards their futures, have the right to expect that they will be judged accordingly (and not with scepticism if our references were previously found wanting). Again, if you wish to have more information on this topic, please contact me.
Head of Sixth Form
Whole School House System news
House Points Totals Update - Term 2
House Points Totals Update - 2021/22
A message from your Heads of House
Miss Xidakis, Head of Parks House
I would like to remind all students about the next House event….The Dance-a-thon. It is an opportunity for everyone to focus on the school value ´compassion´ and help raise money to support the people in Ukraine by participating in the 20 minute sponsored Dance-a-thon. Please look out for the posters around school and on the school Facebook page. The email I sent to all parents contains the link to learn the dance and the sponsor form. Let's try to be the House that has the most students participating from our youngest learners to the oldest. I wish you all a lovely weekend and remember to start learning the dance.
Miss Mayes, Head of Roosevelt House
I hope you all had a restful and enjoyable half term break, it has been great to see you all back in school displaying lots of positivity. This half term is a short but busy one, with practical GCSE and A Level drama exams, as well as language speaking exams. We are currently enjoying Reading Week, and our next House competition is coming up. I hope to see lots of you signed up to the sponsored Dance-A-Thon, raising money for those in need in Ukraine.
Miss Turley, Head of Galileo House
It has been lovely to see everyone again after the half term break. Keep on earning those House Points. The readathon competition is ongoing until Easter and the Dance-a-thon is coming up soon. Let’s get as many people as possible participating. It will be a fun event for an excellent cause.
Mrs Florey, Head of Winton House
I hope you all enjoyed your half term break and came back to school refreshed and ready to learn. We’re kicking off the term with the Readathon challenge and Dress -Up-Day in honour of World Book Day. There are many more exciting things to come including a charity Dance-a-thon to raise money to help those in need in Ukraine.
English department news
It’s Reading Week, and we have had a whole host of reading-related events and activities happening across the school, from review writing to the House Readathon, as well as lots of opportunities for talking about reading and, of course, settling down with a book. Below are some photos of ‘Drop Everything and Read’, with the whole school community coming together to read.
The purpose of Reading Week is to encourage the students to develop a lifelong interest in reading and to take pleasure in sitting down with a book. To promote the habit, we have the House Readathon competition until 8th April. Your child should have a sheet to log all their reading, so please do encourage them to read as much as they can to win House points and prizes. Every page counts!
We are in the swing of the big BIC book swap! Thank you to everyone who has already brought in a book to swap. Please encourage your child to bring in a good quality, already loved book to swap for one they haven’t read and to give it to Ms Bernie for a book swap voucher. Once we have enough books the book swap will begin!
As one of the activities for Reading Week, students from Year 6 and Year 9 read their favourite books to each other. This encouraged students from both primary and secondary to work together through reading, listening and responding to other readers. A fun, enjoyable and successful afternoon was had by all!
Humanities department news
The humanities department fully embraced Reading Week and wherever possible exploited opportunities to embrace reading. Staff shared some of their favourite books or films linked to humanities so that students better understand that reading and watching films can help them to grow their understanding in other curriculum areas.
Year 9 historians even had a chance to write a story based on the experiences of soldiers during the evacuation at Dunkirk.
The following story from Reya Matthews was particularly impressive, an extract is included below.
Battle of Dunkirk
There is no glory in war, only a battle. I watched as men ran and fell as we all ran in desperation to see the other side of a very dark and twisted rainbow. Planes were soaring over our heads whilst our ears were bleeding with the excruciating noise of the engines. Some men decided to dive into the sea and attempt to swim to seek refuge, but others like me, were awaiting for some kind of epiphany to realise where we could go.
I saw women and children hurrying away whilst carrying all of their prized possessions in their hands trying to flee the seafront. We had orders directly from Churchill that someone would be there at the shore to evacuate us but instead, there was no one. Then suddenly, the hellish noise we had all been dreading came along, the Luftwaffe. The men in the sea turned into blood red pieces as bombs dropped form overhead obliterating any last atom of life in the water.
Savage and destructive behaviour followed some of the men, as word got back to me that some of the troops were prowling the streets of the town after being deserted by their officer’s.
Year 7 geographers are embarking on a scheme of work which uses a book as its basis. They will be following the journey of the ‘The Almighty Dollar’ around the world as they gain some insight into the workings of the global economy. This is based on the book of the same name by Dharshini David…a recommended read!
Maths department news
UKMT INTERMEDIATE CHALLENGE
The results from the prestigious UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge have been announced and BIC students have done fantastically. 14 students have been awarded certificates, of which 5 were silver and 9 bronze. A silver certificate means students were in the top 14% of entrants and a bronze certificate in the top 21%. Over 200,000 students sit the challenge each year. We are very proud of our students and their achievements.
Congratulations to Mortiz in Year 10 who achieved the best score in the school.
The other certificate winners are listed below. A massive congratulations to all the students.
Silver Certificates: Lukas (Year 9), Neithan (Year 9), Manu (Year 8), Matthew (Year 8)
Bronze Certificates: Florian ,(Year 10), Teo (Year 10), Sanja (Year 10), Kyan (Year 10), Max (Year 9), Zane (Year 9), Maximilian (Year 8), Leon (Year 8), Pavan (Year 8)
The UKMT Junior Challenge for Year 7 and 8 is running on the 27th and 28th of April and we will again be giving students the opportunity to compete!
World Maths Day
World Maths Day is approaching on Wednesday 23rd of March. We will be running a couple of different initiatives to celebrate! Please do encourage students to get involved.
Languages department news
The Lengua Castellana group in Year 7 loves to solve mysteries, especially if they are the main characters of them. Working in a group, learning new vocabulary and thinking as a detective for a day make reading more exciting.
Sports department news
In Year 10, Mr Fitzpatrick’s PE group have been working towards playing contact rugby over the last few weeks. This week was their first full contact rugby session, one which was enjoyed by all!
Science department news
Dear parents and families,
We are delighted to invite you to our next workshop on Thursday 17th of March at 18:00. You can sign up here and I will send you a link to the Zoom Conference. The aim of this workshop is to help you gain an insight into how we can help our students gain confidence as they improve their memory and retrieval skills. All KS3 students have been provided with bespoke revision home support via these curriculum journey tools here:
We look forward to seeing you there.
The Science Team
Our students will be enjoying a variety of British Science Week activities after they shared their passions with their class teachers. The students told us what they wanted to learn about! Listen out for learning about megalodon, crystal formation and aerodynamics to name but a few things!
Thank you for joining us recently (parents of Year 10 and 11) to discuss your child’s learning. Following on from recent conversations, KS4 Scientists are welcome to join the stretch and challenge classes on Thursday after school. Revision guidebooks (digital) are available for biology, chemistry and physics. Students in Year 10 will all soon have paper copies.
Year 12 biologists have been working on their microscopy skills. They have been identifying different structures within cross sections of plant stems, roots and leaves.
Creative Arts department news
During activity afternoon secondary pupils made Quentin Blake style illustrations.
Pupils have been introduced to the artist Jon Burgerman and are making research in their sketchbooks. Jon Burgerman is a Uk artist based in NYC and is famous for his bold and vibrant mural designs. He has been commissioned to illustrate books, design toys and children's merchandise.
Year 9 are making masks based on the theme of Twisting and Turning
Here are some examples of work in progress, (we hope they will be finished in a couple of weeks so stay posted!)
Year 10 and Year 11 Landscapes
DRAMA & MUSIC
Before the half term holidays Year 7 students in drama completed their creative project devising a trailer for a zombie movie. As well as learning lots of drama skills, students had great fun filming on location around school.
Meanwhile in the drama studio this week, GCSE and A Level students have been setting up our technical equipment for their exam performances next week. We wish them all good luck, break a leg, we are so proud of all their hard work.