Parent Newsletter 20240112


US: Wellbeing Programme

Pastoral care at Harrow Beijing is second to none, and we are proud of the varied wellbeing and holistic programme that we offer in the Upper School. Throughout the week, students are guided through a rich diet of activities by their tutor.  

On Mondays, students participate in the whole school flag-raising ceremony, including the national anthem. Then we go on to enjoy a fitness routine, often led by students. Not only is it an enjoyable occasion, but it is the one occasion in the week where we bring together every student across year groups 6 to 13, and it is always great to see the older students acting as role models.

The time with tutors on a Tuesday is dedicated to the delivery of our PSHE curriculum. Across each year group, this is divided into four themes; sex and relationships, life skills and character, citizenship and community, and health & safety. Students in Years 9-11 also take part in specific lessons and activities related to careers and university destinations as part of this programme. PSHE is effectively a school subject just like all the others, albeit not examined, and the topics covered in these classes supports the personal development of the student and helps them to prepare for adult life.

“PSHE not only equips students with the knowledge and essential life skills to thrive for a life beyond Harrow, but also fosters emotional intelligence, resilience, and empathy. PSHE highlights the importance of holistic education in nurturing well-rounded, socially aware, and responsible global citizens. Moreover, the skills and qualities developed through PSHE are deeply valued by universities, acknowledging that well-rounded students are better prepared for the challenges of higher education and beyond.” —— Daryl Taylor (PSHE coordinator)

Using a platform called PULSE, students are asked each Wednesday to respond to a series of questions about their emotional and physical wellbeing, and about their experiences at home and school. The responses each week are usually overwhelmingly positive, but where there are any responses which give cause for concern, our pastoral team are able to respond and intervene as required.  

The questions asked are based on the diagram below, and aim to assess all aspects of student wellbeing.  

There is also an aspect of the platform where students can assign ‘gratitude’ to others. This is an important part of school life, and students can award ‘gratitude’ to each other, to their teachers or to other people for a variety of reasons, including for demonstration of the school values – honour, humility, fellowship, courage.  

We have a full time school psychologist, Dr Rupasinha, and two emotional counsellors, Ms Sys and Ms Wei who are available for students to consult with and make appointments with as required. They are able to offer support and advice around a variety of topics, and provide a listening ear to students at times of difficulty.  

Our rolling programme of assemblies provides another ideal opportunity for bringing students together to share good news stories, celebrate successes and achievements, and deliver presentations and topics of interest and importance. Very often, assemblies are delivered by student leaders, and usually include an element of performance.  

CPT stands for Close Personal Tutoring. This is where students have an opportunity to meet with their tutor on a one-to-one basis to discuss their academic progress, personal development, and any worries or concerns they may have. Generally, our tutor groups are small in size, and some tutor groups are supported by a ‘co tutor’ which means that teachers get to know students very well and develop positive and supportive relationships with them. Brief details of these conversations are recorded, and tutors are able to sign post students to sources of help and support should they be required, as well as liaise with any other relevant people such as subject teachers, head of year, a safeguarding officer, or a member of the senior leadership team.

A final aspect of our wellbeing and holistic programme comes in the form of our House Activities. You will have read before the winter break all about the House Music competition for example. The House system is an important part of life at Harrow; Students belong to one of the six houses from the day they begin until the day they leave school. They represent their house in an array of competitions and activities, and can work with students from different age groups, which enhances the sense of ‘fellowship’ and support between students. 

“For me, house music is one of the highlights of the school year. When I was younger I started out as a member of the house choir and now to have the honour of leading the band is phenomenal. The whole Kong Zi house gave their best effort on the day, and I would encourage everyone to really throw themselves into the house activities like this one, as they help you to develop new skills and build your confidence”, said Howard L Y13 (Kong Zi House).    

Our pastoral system is something that we are very proud of here at Harrow, and we hope that this very brief overview gives you some insight into the ways that we support students beyond academics.  

LS: Y3 Parent Engagement

This past week brought an enriching experience as we warmly welcomed Year 3 parents into our classrooms for a special ‘Talk for Writing’ session alongside their children. This engagement offered a unique peek into our English lessons, fostering collaboration between parents and students.

During this session, we delved into the fascinating world of poetry, exploring various poetic forms like the Haiku and Kenning poems. Together, we investigated the intricate details, from counting syllables to unraveling the essence of these poetic styles.

The highlight of our collaborative effort was the co-creation of “If I were…” poems. Working hand-in-hand, parents and students unleashed their creativity, crafting imaginative verses that beautifully expressed unique perspectives.

This initiative served as an invaluable opportunity for parents to witness firsthand the dynamic learning environment we cultivate and the methods employed in our English lessons. It also allowed us to celebrate the creative synergy between our students and their families. We extend our gratitude to the enthusiastic participation of our Year 3 parents and commend the students for their remarkable engagement and creativity. —— Martenique Swanepoel (Y3 Group Leader)

LS: Y5 Entry Point

Expanding students’ minds starts with expanding their understanding of their community and the world beyond it. Students who build a deep understanding of global issues will be able to successfully navigate the global marketplace as adults and think critically about the world around them.

In Year 5, our new IPC unit, ‘Moving People,’ prepares our students for the world around us by integrating global issues, current events, and global competencies into upcoming learning journeys. Students who understand the causes, impacts, and connections between global issues like the push and pull factors of migration become changemakers. Students with knowledge of global issues develop other skills, like critical thinking and problem-solving, as they learn about the world around them.

This week, our Year 5 students engaged in an entry point activity where each student became a displaced family member due to a natural disaster. The students faced the dilemma of needing to pack for an emergency and go on a journey where they would each be asked to question their moral judgement about obstacles they faced on their trek. As part of our entry point, our Harrow Duke of Edinburgh Upper School sixth-form students shared survival tips and set up a tent for the night. Thank you to Miss Sanaa and our upper school students for showing genuine fellowship with our Year 5 cohort for this thought-provoking entry point. —— Mark Duff (Y5 Group Leader)

Student Quotes

“I thought this Entry Point was an excellent opportunity to start our new topic because we got to work with our friends, role-play together, and put ourselves in other people’s lives.” —— Audrey S(5MDU)

“I thought this Entry point was great because we got to understand more about the lives of migrants, and we were able to move around Harrow and become displaced; we also learned a new skill about how to build a tent in an emergency; this was interesting.” —— Luna L(5JSI)

LS: Breakfast Club

On a typical weekday morning if you walk through the Dining Room before school starts, you will see a hive of activity. Up to 60 LS students attend Breakfast Club each day. The students can be dropped off at school from 07.05 and then head to the Dining Room where they undertake a range of different activities. Some favourite activities are building with the Lego blocks, playing board games and chess and paper folding. Other activities are more seasonal, for example decorating Christmas baubles and cards. They also get to enjoy breakfast- choosing from a wide variety of things including wonton soup, bacon and healthy vegetables. They have time to enjoy their meal and catch up with friends before returning to their activities. In the warmer months they also often get to have a run-around in the playground before heading to their classes just before 08.00. 

Please look out next week for the sign-up for Breakfast Club for the coming term.

Student Quotes

“I like going to breakfast club because I get to see my friends who are in another class or in a different year group! I love sausages, bacon and toast!” —— Josef B(4ARA)

“This is my second year at the Breakfast Club. I like to have breakfast and chat with my friends here, which makes me full of energy for a day and can study better.” —— Sarah W(5JSI)

“I like the barbecue, bacon, eggs and vegetables at the breakfast club. I especially like the teacher teaching us paper folding. I made a lot of new friends here.” —— Terrence X(4LSC)

Staff Quotes

“Breakfast Club serves as an excellent forum to connect with kids, we get opportunities to talk about their holidays, weekends, and interests, fostering deeper connections.” —— Janice Pineda

“The breakfast club is one of my favourite parts of my job. We play games with the kids, have breakfast together, talk about fun things, school activities and travel experiences. I see the children sitting together, regardless of class, regardless of grade, enthusiastically communicating, like a family.” —— Seamoon Wang

“I thoroughly enjoy commencing my day at Breakfast Club- it’s the perfect, calm initiation to the bustling school day. With an array of food choices and a delightful atmosphere, it’s an excellent opportunity, especially for the younger ones to develop valuable skills.” —— Susan Wang

Shoebox Appeal

We are delighted with the response to yet another successful Harrow Beijing Shoebox Appeal. We tasked students and families to fill a box with essential items to be donated to our partner school, Anmin, as well as the New Hope Charity. Both organizations play a vital role in improving life outcomes for young people less fortunate than ourselves. As always, the Harrow Community went above and beyond demonstrating Fellowship by providing hundreds of boxes. This week, staff and student representatives personally delivered the generous donations to Anmin School. The rest of donations will be shipped to New Hope, an orphanage that supports disabled children.

We express our deep gratitude to everyone who contributed, including our House Captains and Duke of Edinburgh volunteers, whose hard work ensured the initiative’s great success. —— Euan Thomson (Lower School Pastoral Co-Ordinator)

“I’m really grateful that we had a chance to help children who are less lucky than we are. We are learning about Migration in Year 5, and many of these children’s parents are migrants too, and this can mean that parents have to work very hard and travel, making life difficult at times. I really hope we can work together to bring happiness to these children and inspire them.” —— Maggie M (Y5, JCC House Captain)

Culmination of Parenting Course

Dr James Rupasinha

Senior Educational Psychologist

Recently we witnessed the culmination of our ‘Parenting for a Better World’ course, a five week collaboration between some of our bravest parents, James Rupasinha and Yuki Zhang. Together, we embarked on a transformative journey of self-reflection and open dialogue, and our collective commitment to honest sharing and mutual support has cultivated a community where valuable insights were exchanged.

Each session included a talk, video clips of other parents and children, followed by group discussion and practical strategies to explore at home.  From navigating boundaries to handling tantrums and helping our children to ‘feel’ loved, it was a privilege to observe the way in which the community grew together, to offer not only emotional support but also provide practical strategies for each other. Our community is already filled with immense strength and knowledge, and it is exciting to imagine how the connections established through this course might reap further dividends over the coming months and years!

Thanks to Parent Volunteers

As this term concludes, Harrow Beijing staff and FOH would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to our parent volunteers for their generous contributions to recent events. Your contribution to events such as the Appreciation Lunch, Lost & Found, and the upcoming Chinese New Year Celebration is crucial for their success. We are truly grateful for your dedication and involvement.

Book an Open Day

Join us to meet with academic staff, visit our outstanding facilities, interact with current pupils and individual consultation with our admissions team.