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ISSUE N째1 I 2011


Mural produced by BSB students as a service activity to Alzheimer patients at the "Carina" Residence, Belgium. The images used in the photomontage were printed on a Canon image runner advance machine.

ISSUE N째1 I 2011 Thanks to the Tapestry Committee for all their hard work I Helen Beck, Kim Burgess, Andrew Clarke, John Doy, Clare Gunns, Kelly Messik, and Linda Ochsenmeier, as well as all our contributors. The British School of Brussels vzw Leuvensesteenweg 19, 3080 Tervuren, Belgium Tel: +32 (0)2 766 04 30 - Fax: +32 (0)2 767 80 70 -


In this issue... 08





‘Tapestry’ Principal's Foreword by Sue Woodroofe


Focus on Primary So what's ILT?


Comment Threads of the tapestry... by outgoing Principal, Dr Brenda Despontin


Quiz Are You Cleverer than a Year 6?

40➜ 06➜

Feature Housetublieft!

Reportage Primary School Production

42➜ 08➜

Reportage A Year in Photos

Best of Both: Rewriting the Textbook on Global Development


Focus on Secondary Public Speaking


Book Week 2010 ‘One World: Many Stories’


Drama ‘Trimmed in Reeking Blood’


Focus on Secondary: Counting on the Maths Department


Sport at BSB Review of the Year


Curriculum The Importance of Languages at BSB


Focus on Primary: English as an Additional Language


Interview Student Profile


Feature Creative Writing and Art Gallery


Examinations Results Summary


Feature Happy 40th Birthday BSB! w w w. b r i t i s h s c h o o l . b e

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Principal's Foreword

‘ TA P E S T RY ’

‘Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.’

If we believe Aldous Huxley to be correct then BSB is a perfect place to see it in action! This new BSB magazine was the inspiration of Brenda Despontin, our newly retired Principal, and it will provide the perfect opportunity to reflect on Huxley’s words in the annual life of the school, as we recall activities that are at times creative, at times fun, at times about serving others and all the time full of learning opportunities. Schools are vibrant places to be, places where we can find a true sense of self and community; BSB was certainly aware of this last year in our triumphs and our tragedies, and this foreword should be read in conjunction with Brenda’s later article as an account of the past year. We enjoyed another challenging and inspiring Book Week with a growing international flavour. Our awareness of Ghana and its issues, in particular the region of Bolgatanga which we are supporting directly, was writ large throughout Charities Week in the midst of the fun and laughter. We were taken out

w w


of our comfort zones by a stunning senior

students cycled from Land’s End to St

performance of ‘Tis Pity and moved to tears at times by an evocative Christmas music concert in St Jan’s church in Tervuren. We hosted ISST Football, an international Mathematics competition and GISGA gymnasts; events which brought the whole community together and involved some real generosity on the hosting front by our families. February allowed some of our superb ‘mathletes’ to perform in a different way during a weekend of fierce competition along with some fabulous Science achievements in national and international competitions. March saw our swimmers achieve many personal bests and our triumphant Rugby team return as ISST Champions. In May, we had two students in the top ten of the Belgian National final of the BBC & Telenet Public Speaking Awards – and their skills were both impressive and inspirational. And this list is not exhaustive, rather it just gives us a flavour of a happy BSB year.

John O’Groats in just ten days and raised over £7,000 for our new Ghana charity, ‘Best of Both’; a superb achievement - I could not be more proud of them!

We also saw an increased number of students involved in senior leadership roles throughout the School, from the outstanding President and Vice President to the new Subject and House Captains who have begun to bring alive the idea of real leadership from the oldest students. Perhaps the highlight of a year of great student leadership was shown in the summer holidays when three BSB

However, school communities have to come together in times of sadness, too. We saw this to our great regret last year when we lost two well-loved and respected members of staff; Diane Mason and Barbara Hodgkinson, both of whom had given many years of dedicated service to the School. Whether sudden, as in Diane’s case, or with some chance to prepare, as with Barbara, the loss of those we love is always difficult and the sense of mutual support within the school and beyond, into its wider community, was palpable during those dark days and a testament to something very special at BSB. So, as you read through this magazine, I hope that you enjoy the memories it evokes if you were involved, and are inspired by what the students have achieved if you were not. If Huxley is right, then I believe that this first edition of Tapestry reflects real happiness in abundance - happy reading!

Sue Woodroofe Principal

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Threads of the tapestry...


Outgoing Principal Dr BRENDA DESPONTIN reflects on a teaching career that began as a newly qualified teacher at BSB and culminated as its Principal.

‘My life has been a Tapestry Of rich and royal hue...’ Dr Brenda Despontin Principal 2008-2011

So sang Carole King in 1971 on the now legendary album “Tapestry”, a collection of songs which defined the university years for so many of my generation. It was a quirk of fate then, I suppose, that I had been playing that very track in my office when John Doy arrived clutching the entries for the competition to name the new magazine. “Tapestry” was Linda McNally’s suggestion, and it seemed perfect. The rich fabric that makes BSB unique is the result of a woven mix of cultures, age groups, languages and life experiences. The end product is extraordinary. Furthermore, our host country has a rich cultural history where Flemish weavers and cloth were recognised as exemplary for centuries. So this new magazine has a most fitting title.

As I write this, I am weeks away from retirement and I find myself reflecting on my own personal tapestry. I see how the thread I hold today, at the end of a long career in schools, can be wound back to those tentative early stitches made here at BSB in 1973. Few Principals experience the enormous privilege of returning to lead the school where they first started teaching, and it has been a truly wonderful experience, a rare type of professional closure. When I was appointed by Alan Humphries to teach English and Drama here I was completing my postgraduate teachertraining year. I was still unsure whether a career in the classroom was for me, though I’m often told by friends who have known


me since childhood that they always knew I’d be a Head-teacher one day. (They’re too polite to tell me which qualities led them to think that!) However, the early experiences I had teaching BSB students in the 70s, and the talented, dedicated often idiosyncratic staff whom I met here at that time, inspired me to pursue a career I have never regretted, and have always loved and enjoyed.

a real challenge: to start from scratch a sister school for the 500- year- old boys’ school in the town. I know that during my five years there I drew heavily on the experience gained at BSB when this school was in its infancy. Every student code of conduct I have ever used has had “respect” at its core, something which evolved from Alan Humphries’ original code of conduct drafted here in 1970.

Arriving in 1973, I had a sleeping bag, a trunk and (straight from university) very little money. My classroom was on the corridor between the Art room and Horta Drama Studio, and I was thrilled to meet some of my first students when they returned for the alumni reunion last Summer, now with their own teenage children sitting GCSEs. They remembered the plays I wrote for them and the first residential theatre trip from BSB to London (via train and a 4 hour ferry crossing). Undoubtedly, BSB was then, as it is now, a happy school, the main difference then, apart from its size, being the newness. We all felt we were part of an exciting, rapidly-expanding project, and it was “all hands on deck” sometimes. Hence the photograph I have where I am clearing the school driveway of heavy snow, shovel provided by Alan.

Eleven wonderfully rewarding years as Head at Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls then followed and, when I resigned, I intended for that to be an end to my career. But then, quite by chance, when I was definitely not searching for a vacancy, I saw the advertisement for the Principal’s post here. It was in Brussels that the final threads were to be woven into my career’s tapestry. What a joy! What a privilege to be able to celebrate a special 40th anniversary year here in 2010! What a pleasure to help shape the future of the very place which undoubtedly once shaped mine!

HRH the Duke of Edinburgh visits BSB in 1970

By the time I returned to Wales in 1977 I had a Belgian husband and a lorry with my home in it. Back in the UK, the tapestry which had been started at BSB continued to expand. I taught English and Drama for many years in state and independent schools, and was then appointed as Principal in the new Girls’ Division of King’s School, Macclesfield. This was

Now it is time to move into uncharted waters, far from those comforting routines and rhythms of school life. No more appointments diary, no more bells, no more wall-to-wall meetings. Will I miss it all? Of course, but the future holds much excitement and opportunity for me, including travel, further study and charity work. BSB has an equally exciting future ahead, and I am absolutely delighted to hand over the reins to Sue with whom I have had the great pleasure to work so closely during my stay. She too is passionate about the special place this is, and will be a wonderful Principal.

My homeland calls me back for my retirement, but a part of me will always, always be in Tervuren. I remain eternally grateful for the opportunities BSB provided in my life, and for the people I was privileged to meet. No career could ever be as rewarding as one spent with young people, and I realise just how lucky I have been over the years. Carole King sings of her “Tapestry” as “an everlasting vision of an ever-changing view”. How appropriate a title for our magazine, then, which will record the everchanging life in the school we love. But it will reveal something else too because, as the school evolves to embrace the technological challenges of this 21st century and prepares students for a very different world from that of its first cohort, nevertheless the vision remains the same, clear and unfaltering. I have truly been blessed with a wonderful career, and I wish this amazing school every success as it moves confidently into the decades ahead.

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Housetublieft! F E AT U R E

2010 saw the launch of BSB’s exciting new house system. The houses are named after three important figures in BSB’s forty year history, and each year Firman, Goodman and Pantlin compete to win The Tervuren Cup. In the first year of the contest, competition was fierce – here’s a perspective from each house on a busy first year.

Firman House House Captain, Sam Davies, reviews Firman’s first year.

As with the other new BSB school houses, Firman house is named after one of the founders of the school, Leslie Firman, and was assigned the colour white, and the falcon emblem. Leslie Firman himself has an interesting life story - he worked behind enemy lines as a spy during the Second World War, had a flair for languages and, of course, helped establish our school - but how has his namesake house fared in the inaugural year of the BSB house system? Adorned with newly appointed captain and vice captain, Sam Davies and Sarah Dobson, and under the leadership of

Head of House Sarah Beynon, Firman house started the year with a number of assemblies focused on the underlying concept of the house system: interaction between year groups within the house. This idea was further emphasised in our 40th anniversary celebrations (with balloons, music and cake!) in which we were joined by students from the primary school. Aside from this, healthy competition was encouraged between houses as Firman competed in gymnastics, chess, board games and Book Week competitions as well as many other activities around school while even winning football and netball tournaments in order to reel in points for the prestigious Tervuren Cup. Admittedly, the points came in slightly slower than the two other houses, and despite achieving close second places in the Charity Week Ghanaian Boat Race, and the year 7 Engineering Challenge, we finished Sports Day in third place. Overall, it has been a great year in Firman house and we look forward to flying to even greater heights next year.

Goodman House Head of House, Rajinder Kaur, talks to Tapestry about BSB’s new House System. Could you tell us about Mike Goodman? Mike Goodman was one of the co-founders of The British School of Brussels. He helped create the vision for a British-curriculum based school in Brussels in the late 1960s. To remember Goodman, Pantlin and Firman, the House system was resurrected in September 2010. Yes, there was a House System here at the school many years ago! For those people out there, who ask: ‘What’s the point of a House System?’ What would you say? Community spirit. The House System not only strengthens the vibrant community spirit of The British School of Brussels, it gives people a sense of identity and belonging, both students and teachers! The idea of healthy competition throughout the year is also important. I believe that the House System allows students from the Primary and Secondary School, to engage with others and feel a sense of achievement, not just winning a competition, but getting recognition for their skills, participation and


enthusiasm. But I would be lying if I said that winning the Tervuren Cup is not also a goal! Is competition always ‘healthy’? Of course! Competitions must be inclusive, no matter what your skills are, whether it’s academic or sporting skills, joining in and showing the community spirit is the vital ingredient. The Houses play an integral role in improving school climate to a point where students can focus on what matters most: achieving social and academic success. What do you gain from being a Head of House? It has only been a year, but I feel that I have gained so much from being the Head of Goodman House. Students, whom I would not know otherwise, approach me and often ask about our House. I feel as though I am getting to know the students well here. I enjoy working with the other Heads of Houses: Phil and Sarah, too. Working with staff in my House has also been fun, seeing those who enjoy being a member of the House and getting involved with competitions and assemblies. It gives me a sense of belonging at the school, too.

What are you looking forward to this year? Now that the House System has been established, I’m looking forward to the upcoming competitions and working with the Upper Secondary School, too. I enjoyed last year, so the same enjoyment is a must for me! Pantlin House Head of House, Phil Townsend, reviews a successful year for his house. September 2010 brought us the first ever house assembly; spirits were high and it was clear that the house system would be

a success. Goodman house immediately showed their dominance over the competition by gaining a 200 point lead through merits and commendations, a lead that they would maintain right to the bitter end. There were many opportunities to get involved with house competitions throughout the year including giant board games, a languages quiz, music competitions, football and netball. Probably the most memorable event of the year was the 40th Anniversary of the school, an opportunity to look back and celebrate all that BSB has achieved since Sir Dick Pantlin’s vision so many years ago.

Highlights of this day included an assembly with pupils from Primary and Secondary School, music from our sixth formers and an inter-house anniversary quiz. On a hot day in late June, the sun beamed down and the drums sounded for the first interhouse sports day. Pupils from Pantlin house dressed in red, with banners, flags and face paint. It was hard to believe that the House system was less than a year old, seeing the sense of belonging and camaraderie shown by pupils in Pantlin house on that day. We trailed Goodman by 200 points. It would be difficult

to catch them but we knew it was possible. With outstanding performances by many students in Pantlin including records broken by Libby Ward, Euan Campbell, Connor Pearce and the Year 8 boys relay team, the grit and determination of the students in Pantlin earned them the Year 8, 9 and 10 trophies as well as the overall sports day cup. As Head of Pantlin house I would personally like to thank all of the pupils in Pantlin for all of the hard work and perseverance that led us to lift the Tervuren cup last year. I am positive that 2011-2012 will be another fantastic year for Pantlin house.

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A Year in Photos... R E P O R TA G E


September October - November

Captions from top left: September Children’s author Marie Wabbes reads to the Primary School during Book Week. October - November Year 4 Students take part in the Vossem Lantern Parade I Students across the school celebrate Pink Day to raise money and awareness for the Breast Cancer Campaign.


December GCSE Drama Performances I The Primary School’s Giving Assembly I Students look for a bargain at the Christmas Bazaar I The Orchestra provides some festive cheer at the Christmas carol concert I Former actor and MEP, Michael Cashman visits the school I Little angels at the Kindergarten Nativity Play I A magnificent lion from the Year 3 production.

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May Captions from top left: January Narrators from the Year 9 and 10 production of ‘Blood Brothers’ I Snow! February Drink and donate for Charity Awareness Week I Students take part in a Ghana Walk for Charities Awareness Week I Giant House Board Games. March Year 12 Drama students present ‘Marat/Sade’ I Flute, violins and a singing quartet at the Music Festival I Year 5 present ‘A Night in Spooksville’ I


June Welsh members of staff celebrate St. David’s day. April BSB students meet local businesses at The Best of Both charity reception held at Tervuren’s African Museum. May The Car Boot Sale I Winners of the Year 9 Debating Competition I Year 2 present ‘Out of this World’. June John Mason presents the Diane Mason Award for Outstanding Performance to Ashley Ireland I African Drummers at The Summer Concert.

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Public Speaking In 2011 six BSB students took part in the BBC Telenet Public Speaking Awards. Having competed successfully in the preliminary rounds, quarter and semi-finals, two BSB students, Sam Thomas and Cliff Simataa reached the final round, with the field whittled down to just ten students from across Belgium. The boys spoke incredibly well but just missed out on a place in the international finals to be held in London in the summer. Their disappointment was, however, diminished a little by the iPhones they were awarded as well as the three years free Wi-Fi internet access which they won for the school. Well done to Cliff and Sam, and to all the other students who took part! The following article is a transcript from Sam Thomas’ speech in the finals.


Has Reality TV gone too far? Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. My name is Sam Thomas, and I’d like to welcome you to what promises to be another fantastic episode. Now, unfortunately the rules of the game have changed slightly since last time: now only one of you is going to get out of this room alive. The rest of you will lose your lives, each in a more spectacular way than what’s ever come before. But don’t worry, because your deaths will provide entertainment and joy to the thousands of viewers watching worldwide. What is the reality of reality TV? Tune in about now to find out the answers. There are lots of average TV shows out there, let’s be honest. You’ll cycle through the channels looking for something entertaining to watch: another soap opera? No thanks. And suddenly you’ll come across something a little more exciting. What’s this? A group of celebrities on an island suffering hideous challenges? Sounds good to me. I never did like that celebrity anyway. I’m sure almost all of you watch Reality TV in some form; it’s everywhere. I would be lying if I said I didn’t. Yet there’s a fine line to tread between what’s fun and acceptable and what goes too far. When do we cross that line? Who’s your Daddy? is a Reality TV Show where people who were adopted are placed in a room full of men and have to guess who their father is. If they get it wrong $100,000 goes to the imposter. Has this gone too far? Adoption Agencies certainly think so, calling it “perverse and repulsive”. The reality of some shows is that they’ve come to a stage where they’re no longer acceptable and have become unethical.

Doubtless the key argument supporters of these outlandish Reality TV shows will say is that it’s the participant’s choice. If you want to be in Big Brother go ahead. It’s a fair point but even though they volunteer does that mean it’s right? The reality of Reality TV is that there comes a point when humiliation is no longer funny; it’s humiliating. This humiliation has ruined people’s lives even causing people to commit suicide. A man called Cerniglia was featured on celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's restaurant rehab show, Kitchen Nightmares where he was told "Your business is about to (insert swear word) swim down the Hudson." Ramsay said, "Why did you become a chef-owner if you haven't a clue how to run a business?" Three years later that man committed suicide by jumping off a bridge. His body was found in the Hudson river, the very river he was told his business would float down. Do we want our children to grow up thinking it’s OK to humiliate for a laugh, that it’s OK to say nasty things and that it’s OK to gang up on others? I don’t think so. Yet, like any drug, soon just normal people and celebrities are not enough - I mean we’ve been doing this for sixty two years. We need something funnier to laugh at. So why not pick on those that are different in some way and laugh at them? It’s funny laughing at a celebrity, is it so funny laughing at children stuck on Reality TV? Is it so funny watching people with serious mental or addiction problems? Intervention is a series about addiction. In one episode the producers followed an alcoholic and when she was clearly drunk

they still let her drive, filming her attempts to stay between the lines on the road, which I’m sure is utterly hilarious, until you realise that this is reality. That these are real roads and there is a real danger that she might kill someone. Do we want our children to think it’s acceptable to pick on the vulnerable and laugh at them? It is clear that while some shows are fine, even promoting democracy in some countries where this is their first experience of a fair voting system, the reality of Reality TV is that the majority have gone far too far in the name of entertainment. So what should we do? While yes, I do believe there needs to be global regulations so the more extreme material cannot be broadcast, I also believe that it’s up to each and every one of you to draw a line, and when you see something that crosses that line, going too far: don’t watch it. As long as there is demand for outrageous shows, companies will continue to produce them, and we can help stop that. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve seen the reality of Reality TV and the reality is that it has become unethical, humiliating and picks on the vulnerable in our society. So tune out about now and make a stand.

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Director of Drama ROB MESSIK reviews a busy year at BSB, the highlight of which was the Senior Production of a taboo-busting revenge tragedy by Caroline playwright John Ford. DRAMA

‘Trimmed in

Reeking Blood’ Tis Pity... was unleashed in 1633 and still has the potential to shock. With its incestuous passion and savage violence, it is very much a play that still resonates with a twenty first century generation weaned on television, movies and video games that leave little to the imagination. His writing sometimes lacks the poetry of Shakespeare and he certainly writes on a smaller scale than Marlowe, however, if Ford’s play was simply blood and guts, it is hard to imagine it surviving for so long and being so successful. What the play possesses is such a clear sense of drama; such a great shift between tragedy and comedy and such memorable characters that it is impossible not to get swept along with the energy and drive of the events that spiral so horrifically out of control. This bloody story of revenge is really a love triangle. At two ends is the incestuous affair between Ashley Ireland’s chilling Giovanni and his sister, Annabella, played with sweet innocence by Robyn Prescott. At the third, is Soranzo, William Woodroofe’s vicious yet petulant playboy whose honour has been slighted. The revenge is spurred on by Soranzo’s man servant, Vasques, played with such delicious malevolence by Arthur Huxham that is very hard to look at him in quite the same way again.


The play was staged in New Orleans in 1948. Something about the heat and humidity of the city, a city constantly battling to keep the waters and swamps at bay, lent itself to the excess and corruption of the piece and the links to Mardi Gras, a city full of people in masks, matched the continual duplicity of the majority of the characters. The production transformed the Brel into an entirely different space using the full width of the stage with the audience sitting on both sides. It is a play where so much information is overheard that allowing the audience to watch each other’s reactions seemed somehow appropriate. Comic relief was delivered by Boudewijn Welten’s man/child, Bergetto, a bumbling simpleton who is only just kept on the straight and narrow by his only slightly less stupid servant, Poggio, played by Bence B Nagy. The play is so wonderfully balanced that the audience watch in horror as the last

vestiges of humour give way to an unrelenting bloodbath involving the poisoning of Laura Dowsett’s femme fatale, Hippolita and the blinding of Annabella’s servant, Putana, a cackling and wonderfully inappropriate Katie Berkley. The production held back on the blood, although plenty was implied, until the final scene when Giovanni appears holding Annabella’s heart in his hand. Then the floodgates were opened and the audience gaped, open mouthed as the stage was covered in the gore that revenge tragedy revels in. The fact that the audience could only leave once a carpet had been laid on the stage gives some indicator of the wonderful excess of the production. Credit must go to the cast, whose commitment and focus allowed such a challenging production to take place, but also to the entire technical team who successfully transformed the Brel into a slice of New Orleans swamp land complete with video projections, growing vines and 1940’s mystique. Finally thanks and congratulations must also go to Hannah Borkin who co-directed with skill and maturity. If Hamlet is The Godfather of revenge tragedies, then surely Tis Pity... is a Quentin Tarantino blockbuster: questionable morality? Sure; a surplus of violence? At times; but by heavens, it’s a great evening’s entertainment.

This was just one small element of a theatrical programme that saw Buchner performed to ISB, St John' s and BSN, as an example of just how to perform Artaudian Theatre of Cruelty; a production of Blood Brothers by Years 9 and 10, that turned the Horta Studio into an industrialized Liverpool of the 1980s where black and white faced narrators swung from scaffolding, manipulating the tragedy of the two brothers separated at birth; Years 7 and 8 sail off the edge of the world in a sinking ship in Rudderless; not to mention exam performances created by the students that saw, to give but a snapshot, fairy stories performed to the Primary School, giant chickens, a lunatic asylum where inmates were waterboarded and a casino where frequent gamblers tended to dissolve into sand. There were also countless workshops, trips and LAMDA exams. A busy but brilliant year. Well done everyone.

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Review of the Year S P O R T AT B S B


BSB’s Sports Administrator RICHARD MACLEAR reviews the year’s sporting successes.

Once again BSB has enjoyed an extremely successful sporting year, with a number of teams and individuals excelling locally and abroad. The School was proud to host the International Schools Sports Football Tournament (Division Two) in November and the Girl’s Independent Schools Gymnastics Association Tournament in March. Both Tournaments were a resounding success and provided great opportunities to showcase BSB’s sporting talent and outstanding sports facilities. As a member of the International Schools Sports Tournament (ISST) BSB competes against twenty three international schools from Europe, the United Kingdom and Africa. The school also enters rugby and field hockey teams in the local Belgian leagues. Together with staff, parent volunteers have played a large role in managing and coaching team practices and matches.

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The rugby team did the school proud by proving themselves to be the top International School team in Europe by winning the Division One tournament and remaining undefeated throughout.

The school year began in September with little over two months to prepare for the first ISSTs which were held in November. At the football, which was hosted by BSB, the team performed well under the watchful eye of coach, Colin Belfield. They made it through to the final and thereby gained promotion to Division One. James Rocca, Bobby Lamb and AdiI Khan were selected for the All Tournament Team which was made up of the best players as chosen by two former professional footballers. BSB's ISST Rugby Squad

Meanwhile, the hockey girls travelled to Paris with coach, Luc de Groot. Despite a tough draw which saw the team playing back to back matches, they placed second overall, with Rachel Roberts, Robyn Prescott and Sarah Court receiving All Star awards. The American School of London hosted the Cross Country and the BSB Junior Varsity

team did well to place third in their section, amidst some tough competition. Special mention must go to Euan Campbell who was narrowly beaten to second place in his race despite taking a wrong turn. Thanks to Ivor Borkin, Ben Carvell and Marika Vernon for training and managing the team. The final two ISSTs, rugby and swimming, took place in March in London and Dordrecht respectively. The rugby team did the school proud by proving themselves to be the top International School team in Europe by winning the Division One tournament and remaining undefeated throughout. It was a just reward for some hard work by the players in the build up to the tournament as well for coaches, Caron Davies and Richard Tomes. Talumbe Mseka, Ryan Pierce, Remi Less, David Simmons, Charles Phillips, Savvy Vocea and Josh Emerson were all selected for the Combined British Schools Team.


Danilo Sarkic - Montenegro under-16's football team Ilona Ellonen - Belgian champion figure skating

Considering the BSB under-11, under-13 and under-15 rugby teams all went on to become Flemish Champions later on in the year, credit must go to the BSB Rugby Club as a whole for producing some fine players.

Frederique Sleiffer - obtained official Belgian lady’s ranking in tennis Sport at BSB looks set for a prosperous future with exciting building plans in the pipeline. The focus of the Sports Department will be to continue to provide a competitive and sustainable sports programme which gives opportunities for students to compete against their peers. We believe that sport, on both a competitive and social level, makes an important contribution to personal growth and contributes greatly to a balanced school life.

The BSB Dolphins Swimming Club once again enjoyed a busy season participating in swim meets in Paris, The Hague, Dordrecht and Brussels. The swimmers performed well at the ISST and four Dolphins records were broken during the championships. Nick Gaskell broke the 50 metre and 100 metre freestyle records, Theo Barfoot the 200 metre freestyle record and the Junior Varsity boys (Euan Campbell, Josh Worsfield, Nick Gaskell and Yonwoo Choi) broke the 4 x 50 metre freestyle relay record which had been held since 1992. The Junior Boys placed third overall.

Sport at BSB looks set for a prosperous future with exciting building plans in the pipeline... We believe that sport, on both a competitive and social level, makes an important contribution to personal growth and contributes greatly to a balanced school life. In addition to the ISST sports, BSB also competed against other schools in cricket, tennis, golf, netball, girl’s football, athletics, basketball and gymnastics. One of the highlights of the year has been the establishment of the BSB Tennis Academy headed by Joanne Davies, a British Qualified coach. Over ninety students have signed up and we hope the Academy will continue to grow and reach ISST level in the near future. Lindy McNally has worked tirelessly throughout the year with her gymnastics girls with training taking

place Monday to Friday. The gymnasts performed admirably against some strong competition during the GISGA competition. During the year there have been some notable achievements by BSB students on the sporting front: Laura Dowsett - National Women's 7 rugby squad Rob Sehmi - Senior Men’s Belgium and Kent under-15s cricket team

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English as an Additional Language Students who have English as an Additional language (or EAL students) “need a mix of pastoral and academic approaches”, explains Phil, Head of the Primary EAL Department. “They often start BSB with no English at all and for the very little ones we need to start off with the basics.”

Secondary English and Media teacher KELLY MESSIK talks to PHIL EVANS about the challenges and rewards involved in working with students for whom English is not a first language.

For some students this involves carrying a set of pictures that cover all of their basic needs. That way, if they need to get a drink or to go to the toilet they are never stuck. It is important that these young people are never patronised; often they are very bright and able in their mother tongues and may even be used to learning in a different language. It may seem that they have gaps in their conceptual knowledge, where they may actually only lack the correct vocabulary in the appropriate subject area. For example, 9 year old Marta joined BSB in September with a little bit of English that she learnt at her old school in Madrid. Marta is Spanish but already speaks Italian and French as well as her mother tongue. “The hardest thing about starting BSB was trying to understand what the teacher wanted me to do in class,” she said. Her English is now very good and Marta already ranks amongst the top students in her class.

“Sarah (her class teacher) helped me when I first came by seating me with another Spanish-speaker,” says Marta. Phil adds, “our policy is to buddy a new child up with an English speaking student as well as a student who shares their mother tongue. In this way they can be both nurtured and challenged. Also, if there is a personal problem that an EAL child can’t express in English, having an older buddy can help them; someone with the same mother tongue who is sympathetic.” There must be no lack of choice of such students as BSB draws pupils from seventy different nationalities! Of course there are Teaching Assistants who can help too. Debbie in Lower Primary for example, has lots of languages and is a huge help for both pupils and teachers. This is Phil’s third year at BSB although before that he taught EAL in several schools in London, both at Primary and Secondary level. Phil is also the first point of contact for a lot of the parents - “On the whole I know them pretty well and I hope they feel they can come to me if they need any thing at all.” The EAL lessons are timetabled against French so young students will have either


three or four a week. These are taken in small groups of no more than eight students and work builds on past knowledge as well as pre-teaching. Phil goes on, “this is when the communication between the EAL team and the class room teachers is really crucial. We know the curriculum and where each class is at in their learning so we can teach vocabulary, class topics and concepts to the EAL kids before they meet it in the mainstream classroom. This goes a

attracts. Maud’s experiences have all been very positive. Maud says, “It’s been fun and easy to learn here as I have lots of friends who also don’t speak English at home.” The school takes a relaxed approach to these pupils; ensuring they all get the nurturing and support they need. Phil explains, “There’s a graduated approach

“Our policy is to buddy a new child up with an English speaking student as well as a student who shares their mother tongue. In this way they can be both nurtured and challenged...” long way to promoting their confidence, as well helping them to access the curriculum. Of course, we can also post-teach, so go over anything they found difficult.”

to the immersion of these pupils. They all get what they need as individuals, there is no time limit. They will begin total mainstream only when it is right for them.”

Marta adds, “If you don’t speak English well it’s ask a question in EAL time as the group is much smaller, and also the others are all feeling the same way I am.”

The EAL team also helps students who are academic but do not have good English

to access their learning. This may involve re-writing worksheets or helping pupils annotate and translate the worksheets themselves. For example, Marta already knew all the Maths that was being taught but did not know the vocabulary in English. Once she had translated all the key words she was comfortable. Additionally, the team helps with home work, and offers pastoral support for children who often find themselves in a new country, home and school all at the same time! Marta remains good friends with both her ‘buddies’ and now chooses to speak in English with all her friends, especially in the playground where English remains the dominant social language. Indeed, the only common language at BSB is English although other languages, especially Dutch are heard in the playground more and more. At this Maud smiles proudly, “Dutch is what I can teach other people,” she says. “In fact I am working hard to teach Phil and help him, as his Dutch is not as good as my English!”

“If we end up teaching the kids twice, that’s all the better,” Phil continues, “we can reinforce their knowledge and add to their writing and reading skills. Past and present tenses as well as plurals are tough to learn in English and EAL kids need lots of extra help with this.” Another example is Maud who began BSB in Reception and is now in Year 1. Maud had no English at all when she came to BSB although she does speak Romanian and Dutch. She is typical of the international student that the school

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Tapestry celebrates the artistic and literary achievements of the last year from all across the school.

Creative Writing and Art Gallery F E AT U R E

It's All around Me It’s all around me. Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, It’s there. If it’s a knife cutting a surface, Or the sound of feet walking down the street. There’s a beat. If it’s the wind blowing in the midst of a storm, Or the rain as it drips down the outside of my window, There’s a beat. Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, It’s there. It can comfort me when I’m feeling down, Helps turn that frown upside down. Its energy pulsates through my veins, Picking me up from that all time low. Or when I’m happy, feeling on top of the world, It joins me. Shouting out the words of hoe I’m feeling inside. Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, It’s there. by Shannon Girvan Year 11

And when my walls start tumbling down, It feels like my world is coming to an end, I just listen for that beat. Because I know. Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, It’s there. by Jemma Stanton Year 11


by Alex Blaton Year 12

The Arrival In the far beyond seas lies a world. It is relatively small and colourful. Some people would say it’s a rather beautiful world. Yet then again some people would say anything. It can be argued that it looks like a rather lazy artist had taken three main colours and just thought of a new-age 3D painting, in which you would, in deep thought, throw all three colours on the canvas together. This particular artist was famous for using green, blue and white for the main effects. So as was said it was a world. Like any other. Some hard working citizens, some thieves and even a few old beggars. Overall nothing special about it, but some of the wildlife might have you in awe. There were some particularly interesting mushrooms growing a few years ago in the forests, which gave everyone on the planet a yeast infection. But that’s as far as the surprises go. It had seemed for

the other planets that God was having a bit of fun when he created this one. He wanted to show off his creative side, but had forgotten that he lacked the main ingredient in “creative”, in fact he was completely misguided, possibly by some urban dictionary, about the whole idea of imagination. At some point in Hisassuming God’s a He-existence a rather grumpy old man had pointed out to Him,

as the clouds above, for it seems that a ball is heading towards this girl with great speed, and will almost certainly, due to laws of physics and the temperature of the wind, hit her right on the nose.

that a great force, which owns no visible brain or limbs, should in fact be able to create something more exciting than a huge ball with rings around it and call it Saturn. So God gave it a try, and finally when he stopped God had the decency to look slightly ashamed. But as far as things go, this planet had the visible effect of beauty, but then again you’d really have to squint your eyes and tilt your head to the left, to get the whole impact.

great fun. People had the excitement of three-year-olds running in their veins. And with no hesitation they began to think of all the ways to use a ball. But since this world was created by a rather unimaginative God, one of the more classical dull Gods, the sacrifice loving and halo wearing ones, the people of this world were no better. So they made a game where you must hit the ball with your feet-they called it football. Then one, not particularly safe game, where it must be thrown into a basket-they called it basket ball. And one where you hit it over a net: netball. So forth. Balls are the main reason why most people at the age of 16 don’t want to grow up. It seems to me that playing with a ball is some mandatory part of growing up, and if anyone had a say in this, they’d choose not to do so. And honestly no one ever liked them to begin with. At least this was the view of Lara Langtorn as she lay down with her face in mud. Balls for God's sake, not even Lara would have ever thought she’d curse the day balls arrived in the world.

Now imagine you leave the atmosphere around our planet, which was wisely called Tour Du Monde. We fly through the white clouds, which have an immense resemblance to sheep playing poker, no reason to it really, but they look very amusing indeed. Getting closer to the surface of Monde we see a girl, in a yellow dress with big red dots on. As we get closer we see that on her black hair rests a bow and she appears to be eating her homework. I suppose now would be a good time to mention that in every world God creates, he makes sure that the people there are educated, so schools, jobs and even organizations that require nothing more than the wit of a 7 year-old pickpocket, are quite common even on the Monde. Not everyone though, is enjoying their day as much

No one ever liked balls to begin with. They were annoying as they bounced, and painful as they hit you. Of course when balls were first made, they were

by Loore Liflander, Year 11

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by Alex Dimitrakopoulos-Diz, Year 11

A Trip to Mars Lisa White was an extraordinary little girl but the problem was she didn’t have a clue about the fact that she was extraordinary. Lisa White was small and had brown hair and blue eyes. She was always left out and felt different to everyone else. She was bullied at school because everybody thought she was strange, weird and different just because she was not into fashion and she liked maths. They hated her because she was not like anybody else in her class; she was different and unfortunately that made her very unconfident. She always felt like there was nothing special about her. She always felt that she was just plain old Lisa White, even though her mother had told her that she was very special. But what Lisa and her family did not know was that she was very different in an extremely good way. She had an extraordinary power that no human had ever had before.

One morning she was sitting on the sofa watching TV while her dog Max was chewing on her mother’s favourite pillows and her three older brothers were fighting about who got to keep the remote when she saw something in the corner of her eye. “What’s that outside?” she wondered. She crept up to the window and looked out. “Oh, why is there a spaceship outside?” she wondered. Lisa was very curious. She couldn’t resist finding out about that spaceship. She didn’t want her brothers to know about the spaceship so she quietly put on her boots and went outside. She rushed up to the spaceship. It was huge and blue with red spots. She hurried up to the door and tried to open it but it would not move. She tried again and pulled harder but it still would not move. Lisa stood in front of the spaceship looking at it in frustration.


“How do I open it?” she asked herself in confusion. Lisa felt an itch on her head so she lifted her hand to scratch it. But as she was raising her hand she heard a beeping noise and the door suddenly flung open. Lisa immediately realized that there was a sensor by the door and by raising her hand she hit the beam that controlled the door. She boldly walked inside and gasped in amazement. “Oh my goodness,” she cried. What was before Lisa’s eyes was something astonishing. She entered a room that had a bright red carpet and space wallpaper on all the walls. But most importantly there were buttons, everywhere; big buttons, small buttons, fat buttons and thin buttons, different coloured buttons and different shaped buttons. Lisa had never seen so many buttons in her life. Lisa was so excited. She ran up to one of the buttons and pressed it but nothing happened. She pressed another one, this time pushing it harder but still nothing changed. Lisa was feeling a bit frustrated with herself. Suddenly, she felt a tap on her shoulder. She jumped around in surprise! Standing there was a little green, red and yellow alien. “ ......I are you an alien?” she gasped. “Yes,” the green thing replied. “I am an alien from Mars.” “Oh....I didn’t know aliens existed,” she said still trying to believe what her eyes had just seen. The alien had three long green antennas, two arms, one on each side, and four green slimy legs. “Well they do,” he said with a smile upon his alien face. “I am most terribly sorry barging into your spaceship. I just saw it and…” Lisa was interrupted by the alien. “Yes. Ok. Whatever. It doesn’t matter that you came on board. I am happy to have you here. Now come along,” he said. The alien was quite business-like. He really wanted Lisa to come along. “Oh and by the way my name is Sling, now come along,” he said.

Life revisited in my 60th year “Time held me green and dying Though I sang in my chains like the sea” (Dylan Thomas) This green and golden time We call our own. Linked chain of opportunities Elongated to ripen the passage. Dappled. Difficult. Joy-tipped and raw. It is the all. No second Act. The script remains unedited, Unabridged, muddled, A puzzle Till the performance ends. Days open, bold and expectant. Surprise waits at the doorframe Of each hour. No exact copies. No return visits. No customer satisfaction surveys. Just guilt That we have not quite met Our own expectations. Too many lives touched and left. Too much unsaid or unread. Whole continents to see. And the question of What happened to such green and golden time? And the knowledge that Tomorrow is on offer For a limited period only. by Brenda Despontin October 2010

“Where are we going?” Lisa asked. She was very curious about what the rest of the ship looked like but she didn’t want it to go away from her backyard. “To Mars,” he answered.

by Leah Shuman, Year 6

by Shannon Girvan, Year 11

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by Alex Blaton, Year 12


you know you know a lot of people ask me hey...who are you? i could look back at them and say well who are u guy? but not I I look'em dead in the eyes then I reply I am a great one whose aim's to save a nation and my evil thoughts left so I am in the right frame of mind and plus i have the same descriptions as Jesus so i guess that's why my decisions are genius so no i do not believe in the phrase "heart of a king blood of a slave" i have the blood of a prince who was only shown tough love.. and I'm the child of mother nature so with that said they misread the mayan calendar what was really said was i would reign down on the world by 2012 so that is why..if you check my iris it is that of cyrus the great and i don't take Martin Luther King's dream in vein and so i walk like talk like a child who drank from the waters of knowledge extinguishing the flames of hatred and flooding the youth's blood stream with unity so it's peace when they speak their piece of mind but i still have time to grow an eternal maternal bond with my mother and yes she taught me well and that is why even though i have a lower IQ einstein could never ever ever handle my intellectual thoughts so day and night i defy science because i walk by faith and not by sight but i still have secret to say so please just peep it ok i am a warrior they found in the mount vesuvius tombs cause in my mouth the universe looms so that means for every one verse i have said i have reached for the skies god compromised and i went far beyond limits mars i reached on

and was hit by meteors of metaphors and for a split second i died and went to heaven had a conversation with the lord and he taught me the language of gods and this is what he said listen... my son you are a time bomb thrown out of my palms so here are my songs... and this wasn't jus my thoughts in the air see when i gained consciousness I found myself flying down the universe at the speed of light and when i hit the earth’s turf they identified me as an unidentified flying object and when i crashed on the land i grew extra terrestrial habits so every time it just so happens that i hit cyphers i speak i ciphers that not even cyberspace could trace a code to match it and so i walk hand in hand with might i am a lion inside of it's pride in it's prime but a human like this can't be how can this be true? you see it starts with ya thoughts and if ya thoughts connect with ya heart and your heartbeats fast enough to aggravate a feeling called passion and your passion wakes your soul and your soul negotiates with your spirit and your spirit says yes lets live it then your body moves accordingly and you will do great things beyond this earths imagination but that's besides the point see i said i'm something like a vigilante so that means i am an illusion and i'm standing amongst you so these shoes are empty and you too can fill them but will you be ready so for the next time someone asks you who you are will you look'em dead in the eyes recite this poem and tell them exactly who you are

by Talumbe Mseka, Year 13

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If I was a bird, Not any ordinary bird, A magic bird! I would fly to India And give them money. In fact I would fly to all the countries And give everyone some money and Let them be rich! by Shivani Dave, Year 1

by Shannon Girvan, Year 11

Hong Kong I miss you I thought I wanted to leave But five years on, everything I know and see says I’m wrong I am too relaxed; I need action to keep the new me, Which I created in honour of you, from reverting back into A simple wallflower. As is the procedure when experiencing new things: I approached with caution. I began to like how I’d never seen anything like you before. The odyssey was underway, I thought. We hadn’t kicked off as friends in the giddy sense Nor did we desire to ruin one another’s lives. But I already felt a deep loathing towards you whenever Something went wrong. by Tim Edwards, Year 12


And you wouldn’t retort or get even, you just watched me everyday Quietly as I went through my loneliness and dejection. Always with knowing eyes, calmly whispering Just wait. I had to depart what I thought was the antagonist capital of the East, Off to what I’d exaggerated to be paradise. I left you, but I felt nothing but a tide of relief. I just didn’t belong here. The sky became more daybreak blue, the sun was hotter I turned into a dumb, little nobody who stuffed her hollow heart With sugar, sun, pop and gossip. Though I knew how far from epicentre I still was, I always told myself: It beats going back there. You sent, for the first time ever, a letter (of paper and pen) to me. How strange, In an era where the world is steadily falling into her lusty affair with technology. And I grudgingly came back like an annoyed woman who’d left to the shops To get away from her irksome partner. I tumbled into the thorns while trying to find my way around again. I touched deadly nightshades disguised as sweet freesias. But most of all, I found a new reason to be your friend. by Zoe Solvay, Year 11

With you, I felt freedom and a small, pending form of happiness. I was free to stride, to speak, to laugh and listen to the music By which I remember you always. Ask my iTunes library.


Thousands of kilometres towards the South East, Six hours ahead, Too hurtful to reminisce about. The ten-thousand foot fall of nostalgia that leads to you Has me up at night, planning future comebacks. If only I could relocate Eastern Europe and mother China So that you’d only be a five hour day trip away.

I like to see them walking slowly, Revealing at each step a new mystery. In the cold mountain they create a new story But no human ever heard their endings, And nobody ever heard a puppy telling their beginning. In this ice and mythic country a mysterious animal comes and goes Like the wind and survives to create stories.

You are how my life really began. Hong Kong. I miss you.

But it is not the end of my story. Like a wolf I am full of mystery Like a wolf I create stories But those stories are never heard And here is the end of this history. Tshilidzi Makatu

by Victor Samyn, Year 10

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KIM BURGESS, External Relations Manager, reflects on a year of celebrations during 2010.

Happy 40 Birthday BSB! F E AT U R E


Birthday parties are usually great fun! This one was no exception and lasted an entire year… The British School of Brussels began celebrating its 40th Anniversary with a Memorabilia Exhibition, ‘Life Begins at 40”. The School welcomed close to 150 guests to an evening reception on 7 January 2010. Dr Brenda Despontin, the School’s Principal at that time, officially opened the event and HE Dr Rachel Aron, British Ambassador to Belgium, congratulated the School on its remarkable achievements over the past four decades.

Peter Pantlin speaks at the opening of BSB's Memorabilia Exhibition

Representatives from supporting companies, embassies, NATO, local community businesses, the British Chamber of Commerce, School staff and parents joined in the evening’s celebrations. Special guest Mr Peter Pantlin, son of the late founder, Sir Dick Pantlin CBE, reminisced about the distant days of the late 1960s when he helped his father by sticking stamps on the envelopes of the all-important questionnaire, asking: “Is a British School of relevance and importance in Brussels?” It seems like a silly question now, but for the embryonic British School of Brussels, those were challenging times, with no official assistance forthcoming from

either the British or Belgian governments. However, The Donation Royale confirmed that they had land available and the Official Opening Ceremony on 9 December 1970 was memorable, with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh planting a tree. Despite this auspicious start, few of the students or staff there that day could have imagined the rapid expansion and extraordinary success of the School. Hilary Vervaeck, one of the first teachers appointed and a longstanding friend of the School, spoke of her experiences as a novice teacher and recalled her visits to the BSB building site in 1970: “...driving a few metres down the muddy entrance, getting stuck and having to push the car back on to the road, parking, and then walking in gingerly to be confronted by the most enormous hole in the ground with diggers and bulldozers weaving their way around it like matchbox toys!” The evening included the singing of a specially commissioned birthday song by Primary School children who, with the support of a Canadian songwriter, had written the words and helped to compose the tune themselves. The song is a story


of the School’s history and refers to the challenges and inspiration of all who contributed to the School’s growth.

current and prospective parents were able to tour the School and take part in a variety of activities.

The Memorabilia Exhibition “Life Begins at 40”, vividly displayed the School’s history since the inaugural meeting in December 1969: the official opening in 1970 by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh; photographs of previous BSB Principals teachers and students; BSB sports kit; publications and video footage of School drama performances through the years; not forgetting the amazing timeline put together over months of research covering key events at BSB over forty years, decade by decade, and comparing them to local and global events.

Visitors from 47 nationalities were treated to a taste of BSB School life with short subject-related demonstration lessons, opportunities to see and participate in aspects of Art, Music, Drama, and Sport; topical debates; a parade of younger students in national dress - all reflecting the international dimension of BSB, and the broad spectrum on offer at the School. Hockey and rugby matches, together with numerous gym performances were on show throughout the day and whilst Drama students were rehearsing for their GCSE examination performances, other students were busy cooking lasagne and chocolate brownies for visitors to sample!

A special feature was a series of filmed interviews, including alumni remembering their times at the School. To end the evening, Secondary School students put on a fashion show modelling 1970’s clothes donated by staff and parents. In March 2010 the School organised a special Open Day. Over 650 visitors including the Mayor of Tervuren, local families, neighbours, business representatives and

Guests were also able to attend a World Drummers Performance and Workshop, visit the newly opened Community ‘Swoosh’ Lounge - recently refurbished and named to reflect a key element of the School’s logo. Perhaps one of the highlights of the year was an Alumni Reunion and Parent Ball

organised in a wonderfully decorated marquee on the School grounds which enabled past students and staff to reacquaint themselves with old friends whilst enjoying a sumptuous selection of food and music. Over 250 alumni and guests from 16 countries joined in our celebrations. In October HE Mr Jonathan Brenton, British Ambassador to Belgium and the then Principal Brenda Despontin, welcomed over 150 representatives from multinational corporations, embassies and government institutions to a cocktail reception held at the British Ambassador’s official residence

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BSB Memories Two former BSB pupils, novelist DEBORAH LAWRENSON and accountant RUSSELL DAY, remember their time at BSB. Deborah Lawrenson 1976-78 On Bus 2 through Auderghem to Tervuren, Simon and Garfunkel warbled their greatest hits (as they would, on a continuous loop, for the next eighteen months). Inside the school, a sea of denim surged through locker-lined corridors. Former pupils celebrate at the Alumni Reunion

in Brussels. Mr. Brenton gave an opening speech supporting the initiative of the School and warmly welcomed the guests and thanked the sponsors; Fulcra, Sodexo, Canon and Ackroyd for their support. Brenda Despontin spoke passionately about the 2010 celebratory year at the School with all those involved. Finally in December 2010 the School staff enjoyed a cocktail reception at the Museum of Africa. Reflecting on the year, a tremendous amount of teamwork took place. I will always remember a conversation with Brenda where we privately wondered if we hadn’t taken on too much in our eagerness being new at the School. Brenda pondered, “you know there was a moment at the beginning of our planning where we could easily have said no to some of the ideas.” I’m so glad we embraced the ambitious, at times very challenging, agenda as it provided me with an awful lot of fun and many dearly held memories. Here’s to looking forward to 2020 and the 50th Anniversary with optimism and anticipation!

Our first day in January 1976 it seemed everyone except me and my sister Helen was wearing jeans and Levi’s bomber jackets. I’d arrived, aged 15, from an academic London girls’ school with a smart navy uniform. The chaotic weekend atmosphere was disorientating. Even the teachers were enthusiastic converts to the seventies Jean Machine look. Several embraced denim dungarees, including a young Brenda Despontin… When I think of the BSB now, it’s primarily with affection for two strong women: Brenda and Jan Baguley the art teacher. Dungarees and stripy tops aside, there was no doubt Brenda meant business in our O-level English class. Bounding in after another fab weekend (though intriguingly she kept the details to herself), she was all bubbly humour and exacting standards, queen of the withering put-down and beautifully judged praise. Brenda clearly loved language, as well as the psychology behind the books we studied. She ‘got’ us, too.


Jan, with her wide eyes and gentle manner, her hippy-dippy clothes disguising a nononsense approach, had a great gift for allowing her students to be themselves. She was endlessly perceptive and encouraging, to us all. With her I created ever-grander batik designs on silk. The crowning glory, an exam piece, was a large Brussels street scene with Art Nouveau details, to be edged and defined in black. “You can never dye pure black – put the whole pot in,” she urged. And it worked. The batik even went into a Brussels-wide student art show. It faded to brown with the years, but it was black when it mattered. I moved school again after O-levels; due to a painful case of mumps, I sat exams isolated in a music practice room with a scarf wound around my swollen face. At the time it seemed a disaster. The teachers at the school back in England where I took A-levels got the credit when I got into Cambridge, but the truth was that it was Brenda who had given me the confidence in my abilities to aim high. After university I worked as a journalist, and dreamed of writing a book one day. This year my sixth novel The Lantern is published in the UK and the US, and in several translations. As is true for many former pupils, the BSB was one of many international stops along the way. A sequence of constantly changing scenes and players is a fine background for a writer – I went to nine schools in total, starting in China. Perhaps the books are a way of recreating those

moves without going to the trouble of packing and travelling ever onwards. These days my family and I live part of the year in Kent, and part in the South of France, which seems like a perfect balance.

Russell Day 1988-1996

No school uniform? Calling teachers by their first name? Those were two of the shocks that hit me on my first day at BSB as a fresh faced 10-year-old back in 1988. The first day was kind of scary as you would expect, but I soon settled down and still have friends from that memorable day. I have lots of great memories from BSB. I remember particularly our form 8 play, Oklahoma. I still know the words to the songs. There were more people in our class than there were roles, so I ended up sharing the role of Ali Hakim with my good friend, Tom Barker. We were about 13 at the time, and our lead actors’ voice broke mid song, much to the amusement of our entire class and the audience.

most of our home games when opponents showed up and were completely bemused by the concept of a grass hockey pitch. I enjoyed languages at BSB, and there was a lot on offer when I was there. One of my form tutors was a French teacher, and the next one was a German teacher. So I had no reason not to do well. Brussels might be the best place in the world to learn a language, there is no shortage of people to practice with and everyone seems to speak at least five languages. I was one of the crowd who regularly headed into town to explore some of the best bars in Brussels, in order to practise my French, of course. I went on to study French at Uni, and loved it. I had no idea what sort of career I wanted when I left BSB, apart from being a skiing instructor. So I went off and did that for 4 years after graduating. I taught all over the world, and saw some amazing sights. I enjoyed the travel and the languages (and still do), and BSB helped me in that respect. When I got back from skiing all I really knew was that I was good with numbers, so I joined a firm as a trainee accountant, and a few years later joined McKinsey. I live and work in London, and really enjoy life here. I have kept in touch with quite a few of my BSB mates, and I can confidently say they will be lifelong friends.

Sports at BSB were good too. I played rugby (badly) for the minis, and enjoyed hockey after that. We played in a local league and trained hard. I think we were the only team in the league not to have an Astroturf pitch, and ended up winning

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Peace and Conflict Each children in Year 6 made a peace pin wheel on International Peace Day (21st September 2011).

So what's ILT? Leader of Integrated Learning, BEN MULLENS explains the Primary School's innovative approach to learning. ILTs were introduced at the BSB in September 2009 but what exactly are they? When I asked my former class to write their own acronyms one morning their ideas included ‘Interesting Lovely Tomatoes’, ‘Izzie Likes Thinking’, ‘I Love Toys’ and ‘International Learning Teachers’ – all true I promise! However, as many of you may already know, our ILT actually stands for Integrated Learning Themes.

Now your next questions may well be, so what are these Integrated Learning Themes and where did they come from? Questions are arising straight away and that is, really, what we as teachers are looking for from our children – asking relevant, purposeful questions at appropriate times during an investigation or piece of research. The ILT is an approach to encourage inquiry led student learning. It is a unique curriculum devised for our increasingly international and multicultural children that encompasses many of the best current practices from different educational systems. These include


the Primary Years Programme (PYP) that is a part of the International Baccalaureate, the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and the UK National Curriculum. Therefore we believe the ILT is a modern, relevant and evolving curriculum that will inspire, challenge and prepare our students for the future. This is a fairly ambitious statement to make but the more you find out about the aims of the ILT and outcomes of the students we believe that it is true.

“Areas of learning provide an introduction to the principal subject disciplines and help prepare children for further specialist study.”

Each ILT has a fairly catchy title, a central idea and a collection of open-ended questions called Key Learning Challenges. All ILTs from Years 1 to 6 will focus on one or more of the six areas of learning as identified in the UK National Curriculum Primary handbook, published in February 2010. These areas are: • Understanding English, Communication and Languages • Mathematical Understanding • Scientific and Technological Understanding • Historical, Geographical and Social Understanding • Understanding the Arts • Understanding Physical Development, Health and Well-being

Kindergarten and Reception tailor their ILTs around the different areas of learning identified in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Early Learning Goals (ELG).

The following quotes from this handbook help to support our changes in the delivery of most of the core and foundation subjects within the Primary School.

“Organising learning in this way gives schools greater flexibility to tailor learning to children’s needs and to the opportunities that exist in their locality..”

Before sharing just a selection of ILTs from across the Primary School, it is vital to outline our model of inquiry based learning in the Primary School at BSB. A phrase frequently being used to encompass the children’s work is their ‘learning journey’. Where are they starting from? Where are they going? How are they getting there? Are they taking the best route to find things out? Do they need to stop and think how they are doing? During their learning journey through each ILT the children will encounter at different times, the following four stages: •C  reating a Need to Know (CNK) •G  athering Evidence (GE) •M  aking Sense (MS) •R  eflecting on Learning (RL)

“Through purposeful curriculum design, schools can make connections both within and between areas of learning as well as with the essentials for learning and life (literacy, numeracy and ICT capability).”

For example, much of this article so far has been ‘Creating a Need to Know.’ These are moments during the learning process when the children need to raise questions to stimulate further research … What do we need to find out? … Do we have enough information? What is missing? ‘Gathering Evidence’ is starting their research relating to one or several of the Key Learning Challenges. This will be through conducting practical investigations, using different information sources such as books or websites, carrying out interviews, visiting places within the locality of our school such as a museum while on field trips … as you can see the list of ways to find out new information is fairly broad. However, at some stage it is important to ‘Make Sense’ of this newly acquired information in order to understand one or more of the Key Learning Challenges and the central idea of the ILT. What have the children found out? Do they need to sort this information? Discard some? Collect more information? This process could well take place over a series of lessons. Stopping to think about what they have learnt and how they have learnt is referred

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So that is hopefully enough of an explanation including some ‘educational speak’ – are you now starting to make sense of it all?! A selection of ILTs from across the Primary School Year 6 – Peace and Conflict (Human, social and environmental understanding) Central idea: There are many levels on which conflict can take place.

The Investigators Year 5 children investigating the absorbency of different types of kitchen towel.

to as ‘Reflecting on Learning’. It is an extremely important part of the learning process that in the past has often been neglected. Now, with the ILT, it is starting to be given far greater prominence. Many children are now using ‘rubrics’ (assessment grids) to evaluate their own learning which encompasses the principles surrounding the current educational drive relating to ‘Assessment for Learning’.

Key Learning Challenges: What does peace mean to you? What causes conflict and confrontation at a personal, national and international level? How can conflicts and confrontations be resolved? What can we learn from the origins and resolutions of particular case studies? What can we do to make the world a more peaceful place?

Year 3 – Alive and kicking! (Understanding physical development, health and well-being)

Central idea: Investigative skills can be used to explore and understand processes and products.

Central idea: People need to keep fit and healthy.

Year 4 – Belgium’s (Understanding the arts)

Key Learning Challenges: Which Belgians are famous in the world of Art and Music? What impact have past designers and architects had on buildings in Belgium? How can we use the influence of these artists, architects and musicians in our own art work?

Year 5 – The Investigators (Scientific and technological understanding)

Key Learning Challenges: How are products investigated? How have scientific breakthroughs been made? How can we use a scientific knowledge and understanding to investigate processes and products?

Belgium’s Got Talent Year 4 children visiting the Grand Place in Brussels to examine its architecture.

Alive and kicking! Children in Year 3 learning a new dance while on their School Journey in Tournai.


Key Learning Challenges: How do we know we are healthy? How do we keep healthy in mind and body? What makes a balanced diet? Why do we need to stay fit and active? Year 2 – How Things Move (Scientific and technological understanding)


Central idea: Belgium has a wealth of musicians, artists and architects whose work is widely known.

Central idea: Objects work and move in different ways. Key Learning Challenges: How do things move? How do simple mechanisms and


How Things Move A year 2 child exploring the different ways to make an object move.

Music moves Me Kindergarten and Reception children performing in their joint production.

structures work and move? How does electricity make objects work and/or move? How can we use simple electrical circuits to make objects move?

around the world? How have games and toys changed or remained the same over time? What can we learn from looking at games and toys from the past?

do celebrations look, sound and taste like? What are the similarities and differences between celebrations?

Year 1 – Time to Play (Human, social and environmental understanding)

Reception – Festivals and Celebrations

Kindergarten – Music moves Me

Central idea: Families and communities recognise important personal and cultural events through celebrations.

Central idea: Music allows us to discover and express our feelings through songs, movement ad rhythm.

Key Learning Challenges: What is the meaning of a celebration? Why do we celebrate? What do we celebrate? What

Key Learning Challenges: What songs do we know and how can we make music? What is music for? How can we respond to music?

Central idea: There are many similarities and differences between children’s toys and games now to those of our grandparents’ time. Key Learning Challenges: Why do we play? How are games and toys similar

The thoughts of one of our Primary EAL (English as an Additional Language) teachers, Doreen Nelson, best summarises another benefit of the ILTs.

Time to Play A group of Year 1 children being taught to play hopscotch by a parent.

“Thanks to the Integrated Learning Themes many of the items worked on in the mainstream class have become much more accessible to EAL students. These themes create a real need to know and allow the EAL Department to work more easily in parallel with the mainstream classes. Themes are also built up over a longer period of time, making it easier to pre-teach and reinforce items worked on. ILTs are more related to the students' everyday lives and they can often make the links with their own experiences. Parents of EAL children frequently express the fact that ILT projects have enabled them to get more involved as a family in their children’s learning: "The ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ ILT in Year 2 was a turning point for my daughter's language learning".

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TA P E S T RY M A G A Z I N E I N º 1 I 2 0 1 1

Are you cleverer than a Year 6? Test your knowledge with our quiz based on the Year 6 curriculum’s Integrated Learning Themes. Theme 1: The Planet we Share

Theme 4: The Power of Persuasion

What is air made of? a - Nitrogen, oxygen, neon, carbon dioxide b - Hydrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide c - Nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide

Which of these was not an advertising slogan for Coca-Cola ? a - Look up America b - Have a Coke and smile c - What a feeling

Theme 2: Out of this world

Theme 5: What Price Progress?

What causes the phases of the moon? a - The changing position of the moon in relation to the sun b - The changing position of the earth in relation to the sun c - The changing position of the earth in relation to the moon

What has the largest carbon footprint? a - A 330 ml can of soft drink b - A glass of fresh orange juice c - A glass of white wine

Theme 3: Peace and Conflict

Theme 6: Changes

Who were the Big Three at the Treaty of Versailles? a - Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin b - Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Wilson c - Napoleon, Wellington, Blucher

Which of the following means school in Anglo-Saxon? a - Leorninghus b - Scuola c - Mokykos

Answers: Theme 1: c / Theme 2: a / Theme 3: b / Theme 4: c / Theme 5: c / Theme 6: a PAGE 38➜39

w w w. b r i t i s h s c h o o l . b e

A warm welcome to Belgium! We hope your days here are happy ones. At KBC we’ll be glad to settle you in by providing you a full bank and insurance service. KBC Banking & Insurance • Markt 4 - 3080 Tervuren • Tel 02 769 71 40 - Fax 02 769 71 41

Speaking your language – everywhere.

Primary School Production R E P O R TA G E

The students of Year 3 took part in a wickedly funny re-telling of the classic children’s fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. With 75 students were involved a massive collaborative effort from the Year 3 team was needed. Special thanks then to: Rachel Harrison, Una Perry, Ben Mullens, Heather Grant, Rachel Stanton, Sue Boyes, Hayley Chamberlain, and Susie Jones.

…with her two cats Marks and Spencer.

The witch has learned that Hansel and Gretel are to be left in the woods and readies herself to make a tasty child flavoured snack!

Oh no it is! Hansel and Gretel are captured by the witch and her faithful felines, Marks and Spencer, tie the children up.

Luckily for the children, the lion wasn’t as terrifying as he looked; he just wanted a friend! He tells the local policeman about what has happened.

The witch is arrested…


Times are hard for the wood-cutter and his two children, Hansel and Gretel. Unfortunately their wicked step-mother has an evil plan to ease the burden: leave the two children in the woods!

Meanwhile Hansel and Gretel are lost in the woods…

Sadly for the two abandoned children, a wicked witch lives in the woods…

… where a terrifying lion is on the prowl.

… and the family is reunited. Thankfully both the evil stepmother and the wicked witch see the error of their ways, and say sorry.

Luckily they find a delicious looking ginger bread house. It couldn’t be a trap set by the witch, could it?

And the whole of Year 3 lived happily ever after.

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Rewriting the Textbook on

Global Development In a transcript from his speech delivered at Tervuren’s African Museum in April 2011, Year 12 student TIM EDWARDS describes the thinking behind BSB’s innovative charity The Best of Both. So what is the student perspective on global development? Clearly we are living in a moment of crisis, and a worldwide recession is a testament to this. But from a student perspective, never has there been a more exciting time to live. Daily we see social and technological development; worldwide there is a mindset to create change. When I joined this school in Year 9, it was obligatory for every student to study Geography, which I did, from a text book. This textbook aimed to give

students a brief Geographical overview and we studied topics from French land formations to the functions of fair trade and coffee. And as early on as Chapter Two we students were taught about ‘development’, which the book defines as the process of change for the better. It says development is about improving people’s lives - that it goes on all over the world, in every country, at every level. In the book we then focused more specifically on poverty, where we read a story about Grace, a woman living in a rural village in northern Ghana.

The story is entitled A Day in the Life of Grace; the article expresses Grace’s dire need for water, nutrition and security - her lack of possessions and her daily struggle. We read, “It takes me over an hour to get to the river, and longer to get back with my heavy bucket. I will give the children a little water to drink. And then I will go and work on our farm.” We were left with the conclusion that this is poverty, and coping with it takes all of Grace’s energy, as she strives to create a better future for her children. As students we then investigated solutions to Grace’s problems. All over the world students using these textbooks come up with solutions to these problems, but then the sad thing is, that at the end of each lesson, when the bell rings, these textbooks get closed. Their ideas are left in the classroom. So we as a student body have decided not simply to close the textbook, nor to leave our solutions as a brainstorm on a large colourful sheet of paper. As students we decided that we would do something about this. Over the summer of 2010 many of our members were involved in charity work, all over the world: from local projects here in Brussels to as far away as Africa and India. I was involved with a local church group who sent ten teenagers to Malawi where we helped dig wells and care for abandoned and orphaned babies. We all came back


into school as the new term began with a real passion to see this work continued... but not knowing exactly how to act. It was then we were brought back to our old Geography textbooks. Through partnership with Tracks Ghana and the UDEF charity, three of our teachers went to the Bolgatanga region of Northern Ghana (which was exactly the same place that we had learnt about in our Geography lessons.) Here the teachers met four local schools suffering heavily from poverty. This had to be changed. But we knew we wanted to do something more than just send a cheque. We wanted this to be a partnership where we both share our knowledge and learn. It was at this point that the idea of partnership became so vitally important to us. Through partnership there is unbelievable opportunity for innovation. We knew we needed a business plan. We wanted to do more than sell cakes to generate an income. We wanted to create change through a meaningful and reciprocal learning experience, so that we could develop a means for changing the lives of students on both sides of the textbook. There are four schools in Ghana partnered with the students here at BSB. We want to share knowledge and understanding of each others’ cultures – to give and receive. So we coined our name The Best of Both, founded upon the ideal of giving and receiving. And this was our goal: to destroy the old charity stereotype where people who are seen as socially superior can give quickly in order to feel better about themselves; where people we have never met before are the

passive recipients of charity. We wanted to do something different. We are building a connection, forming relationships - people together with a shared vision. We knew that to build solutions we had to start from the perspective of those we are trying to help. Rather than just what we thought they might need. And so through meeting with four local schools our teachers came back with their specific needs. And their needs were as basic as clean water; tables and chairs to learn on; food and teaching equipment. So we can see the challenges. Through discussion with the schools, together, we realised their needs and priorities, the first of which was their desperate need for water. Like any good business plan, The Best of Both has a vision for continued growth. Developing a plan to institutionalise the partnership, and expand our programme. Once the borehole to provide water is finished, we will look at raising funds to purchase some I.T. equipment, which will allow us to connect directly with Ghanaian students, allowing our partnership to flow both ways. A vital part of our development is building these connections, and being able to listen to peoples needs.

Thanks to Chris and Matt from the JO-JO project who shared with us how to go about starting a charity and what that means. To Eric and Philip from Dechert who have so kindly donated their services and provided us with life long experiences. We have worked with international school suppliers,

design companies, teachers, businessmen. Your experience is helping us develop these real world skills, to accomplish this dual development and to improve people’s lives. No longer will helping real people be such a distant and removed concept but a close and personal relationship. With your help we can rewrite the text book.

So where to from here? We want to connect with businesses, and form real partnerships. People together, with a shared vision. It’s amazing to see how this relationship can develop. To think that a community which did not have the capacity to find clean drinking water could be helped by students who in one day managed to make enough money to buy a bore hole. What can we achieve if we extend our network and build our connections? Just imagine what is possible. And this is where we need your help. To be our connections, to build our networks.

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‘One World: Many Stories’ BOOK WEEK 2010

Every two years BSB enters a book frenzy, with novelists, poets and illustrators from all round the world congregating to share their talents and stories. Two students, ALICE BELFIELD and SAM THOMAS, share their personal experiences of Book Week 2010, while Year 6 show-off their poetic talents.


Alice Belfield, Year 13 ‘One World: Many Stories' was the theme for this year’s book week, and there were indeed many stories: from Yorkshire to Canada; from China to a Nigerian living in Antwerp, they came from all around the globe but each with their own tales to tell. It was my final book week and it certainly was a memorable one. Many remarkable authors performed to students throughout the school and I was fortunate to see a selection of them. Canadian Deborah Ellis, meets with people who have survived calamities and who are on the receiving end of politicians’ decisions. She is interested in how the world works and the search for dignity in the world and she believes that the biggest lie any politician has ever told is that war is over. For her fascinating book Children of War, Ellis travelled to Jordan to meet with Iraqi refugees and interviewed the children she met there. She told us a story that a boy had told her, about how, one night, during a military raid on his house, he had been playing a Metallica song and an American soldier had joined in with him. It showed Ellis that people can still come together despite conflict and that there is some hope for humanity after all. Another of her books, No Safe Place tells of the plight of three children without official documents, stuck in Calais trying to get into the UK, who are from Iraq, Russia and the Roma community. Chika Unigwe, originally from Nigeria but now living in Antwerp, is interested in women’s stories. She read an extract from a story of hers about the Nigerian tradition of cutting a woman’s hair when their father or husband dies. The woman in the story

The week illustrated to me the diversity of literature from around the globe but with a common thread of storytelling; there may be many stories but we are all living in the same world. has to have her hair cut to show her grief because her husband dies. However, towards the end of the story, it is made clear that she was in an inescapable and abusive marriage. Her novel ‘On Black Sister’s Street’ is a fictional work on African prostitutes living and working in Belgium, telling the story of four African women: Sisi, Efe, Ama and Joyce. When she first saw the girls behind their windows she had a culture shock because in Nigeria prostitution is very much underground. As soon as she found out that a large number

of the African prostitutes in Antwerp were Nigerian she knew she wanted to write about it. She said that writing the book changed her perceptions, made her more tolerant and less judgmental and it moved her that many of the prostitutes move to give their families back home a better life. Chika, along with Ian McMillan, Adisa and Paul Cookson were all at the Wednesday evening performance. They each did individual readings: Unigwe read a powerful and moving short story about

PAGE 44➜45

One of the most memorable moments, for me, of this Book Week was speaking to Guo Yue when he gave a lunchtime talk about his personal history and childhood during the Cultural Revolution in China and of his views on China’s policies today... his talk was truly insightful and I learned much from it. a woman who had lost her son yet still bought him presents, Adisa recited some of his fabulous poems, Cookson played his ukulele and McMillan made us all laugh with his witty verse. At the end Ian McMillan, Adisa and Paul Cookson performed together with audience participation and we all made up a poem together. It was an extremely enjoyable evening. The week illustrated to me the diversity of literature from around the globe but with a common thread of storytelling; there may be many stories but we are all living in the

same world. These authors displayed the power of words, the importance of sharing the stories of those without a voice and a real sense of humanity. Book week 2010 was a week to remember. Sam Thomas, Year 11 Book Week 2010, and what a week it was. With a slew of fantastic poets and authors this will remain an unforgettable week. Year 11, like all years, saw different poets during our English lessons. The first we had was Adisa, ‘The Verbalizer’. Back again, but still as great as ever. It was our

job to “poke” him by asking questions to which his answer would often be a poem. Ian McMillan was absolutely stunning. I saw him both in a lesson and at the Wednesday night evening. Both times he managed to make the audience laugh and laugh. His superb poetry, quick replies and jokes made him a great entertainer. One of the most memorable moments, for me, of this Book Week was speaking to Guo Yue when he gave a lunchtime talk to History and Politics students about his personal history and childhood during the


Cultural Revolution in China and of his views on China’s policies today. His name means ‘little leap forward’, with Guo meaning ‘leap forward’ because the Revolution was called a great leap forward for China. Yue told us how Mao burnt books and killed people who had money and knowledge, in order to keep power. He told of how schools were closed for 10 years because they were too dangerous and how children were brainwashed. Yue’s mother was taken and tortured because she was educated and spoke English, but despite this he still looked up to Mao, the leader of the Communist Party of China. He told us that when he was a boy he cried when he wasn’t able to see him in Tiananmen Square. When I asked him at what age he first had doubts about Mao, he replied that only when Mao died did he begin to question his beliefs, at the age of 17. Yue left China in 1982 as he had a scholarship to study flute and he has now been living in London for 28 years. He told us of the feeling of freedom and joy when he got a visa to leave China for the first time and study music abroad. He also gave his views that he believed China would eventually be a democracy. His talk was truly insightful and I learned much from it.

On Friday we had a workshop from Adisa. The session kicked off with us trying to remember similes and metaphors from the poem he read out. Adisa then put each of them into categories, for example food, transport and so on. Our task was then to think of what we considered home (a country) and to write our own words in these categories. Then we had to make a poem about our home country imagining it was a person and incorporate the different categories. Finally the session closed with different people reading them out. Overall a great workshop and a fitting end to Book Week 2010. Year 6 Year 6 had the opportunity to take part in a poetry workshop with the poet Paul Cookson. Here is the result... When the teacher isn’t there... Pencil fight Have a disco Stand on the tables When the teacher isn’t there

Alice snoops in the teacher’s desk Alice cheats on the test She is better than the rest When the teacher isn’t there

We don’t mind We don’t care When the teacher isn’t there We don’t mind We don’t care When the teacher isn’t there

We don’t mind We don’t care When the teacher isn’t there We don’t mind We don’t care When the teacher isn’t there

Throw paper planes Through the air Throw things around When the teacher isn’t there We don’t mind We don’t care When the teacher isn’t there We don’t mind We don’t care When the teacher isn’t there

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Secondary: Counting on the

Maths Department

This year BSB hosted the International Schools Mathematics Foundation Competition as well as taking part in a number of other competitions. Head of the Secondary Maths Department DAVID ALBISTON gives us a numerical run-down.

the approximate number of students participating in the UK Mathematics Trust Challenge in 2011.

students participating from BSB.

BSB students taking part in the International Schools Mathematics Foundation competition hosted by BSB over two days.

International Schools visited us.

awards given to BSB students including 21 Gold Awards.

students in total invited to sit the following round of UK Olympiad papers.

BSB families hosted the students. (A big 'thank you' to you!) BSB students invited to sit the UK Olympiad papers. place overall for BSB.


achieving merits (Imogen Brooks, Yonghee Jung and Alex Ashley).

place for Andrei Ionescu.

(Ayako Fujihara and Andrei Ionescu) ranked in the top 50 students in their year group.

BSB students participating in the Olympiade Mathématique Belge.

Students competed in the semi-final in Brussels.

competed in the national final in Namur.

student (Yonwoo Choi) receiving recognition as one of the youngest high scoring finalists.

place for Ayako Fujihara.

highest score ever achieved by a BSB student (Ayako) who was then invited to participate in the UK Maths Olympiad team summer school.

PAGE 48➜49


The Importance of

Languages at BSB Vice Principal and Head of Primary, CAROLE DENNY explains the expanding opportunities for learning languages at BSB.

Vive les Langues de la Belgique! Leve de Talen van BelgiĂŤ! The learning of modern languages has been a highly valued part of the curriculum at BSB since the establishment of the school, and staff members over the years have taken every opportunity to enhance these language learning experiences whenever possible. In most international schools the learning of the host language is what helps to define its international-mindedness and its acknowledgement of and respect for the local community.


French was the most obvious modern language to introduce to the children as BSB began as a school for British expatriates who would be returning to the UK where French was the main (if not only) language taught in schools and Britain was also the source for new teaching staff who were trained in the teaching of French as a foreign language. As French was one of the languages of the host country it was easy to resource materials locally and opportunities for the children to practise the language in context were plentiful. Dutch was later introduced to BSB for children in Year 7 who were beginners to the language. As the language of the local commune and one of the host country languages, it became a popular choice. Language classes for staff were offered to enable the teachers to integrate in the local community where they were living and working.

We are now trying to ensure that we can give as many of our students as possible the advantage of leaving school bilingual with the opportunity to study in a language other than English. The first step towards this has been to make available the IB Bilingual Diploma in Dutch and English as well as in French and English. This should prove to be a great advantage to those who wish to remain in Europe to pursue their studies. To facilitate this option, mother tongue Dutch speakers will be supported with language classes from a much younger age in both primary and secondary school. From September 2011 Dutch is to become a compulsory subject from Year 3 onwards.

All children will have one lesson per week initially to ensure they have the basics of the language of the school’s commune to enable them to communicate effectively in the local environment. They will also be taught about the culture including local festivals and events. Their class teachers will be learning alongside them so that they can extend the use of the language beyond the taught lesson where applicable. For Dutch and Flemish children, two lessons per week of literacy and language will be offered at mother tongue level to enable them to maintain and

Nowadays the two main languages of the host country have become increasingly important as a medium of instruction in further and higher education. When the International Baccalaureate Programme was introduced in 2005, more opportunities presented themselves as the idea of a bilingual diploma became a possibility for those students who were already fluent in French and English. Our students leaving Year 13 are increasingly interested in pursuing courses at Dutch and French speaking Universities and Colleges in Belgium, the Netherlands and France as well as other parts of Europe. We are now trying to ensure that we can give as many of our students as possible the advantage of leaving school bilingual with the opportunity to study in a language other than English.

PAGE 50➜51

develop their first language skills within our school environment. This is a starting point – we hope to extend the teaching of Dutch to the younger children in the future.

The end goals are for the children to become bilingual, bi-literate and bicultural.

To facilitate the bilingual option of French and English, we are opening three bilingual classes in the Primary School in September 2011 – in Reception, Year 1 and Year 3. It is being staffed by BSB teachers who have all been working in the school for some time either as a mainstream class teacher or within the Primary French Department. Each class will have a French mother tongue teacher and an English mother tongue teacher who will share the week equally between them enabling the children to be taught all subjects of the curriculum in both languages. The end goals are for the children to become bilingual, bi-literate and bicultural. Our overall goals for the introduction of the

bilingual stream are as follows: • To raise the profile and status of language learning

• To capitalise on the language learning abilities of young children

• To capitalise on our geographical location in the heart of Europe in a tri-lingual environment • To encourage more local families to become part of the BSB community

• To build on the current success of the mainstream French programme in general and the extension programme in particular

• To further cross-cultural interaction between anglophone and francophone communities

• To raise standards and to equip our students to take an active role in an increasingly multi-lingual world

• To give students an edge when applying for university/ the world of work


From September 2012, a bilingual tutor group will be established in Year 7 so that children entering the Secondary School can also have access to this option, with up to 40% of the timetable being offered in French. It will also provide a natural progression for the children who will be coming through the bilingual stream in the Primary School in the years to come. These students will be able to enter for public examinations in French earlier than their counterparts in mainstream French groups and the bilingual IB Diploma will be a natural choice for them should they wish to take it. French will now be taught from Kindergarten through to Year 11 as a core subject. The earlier we can introduce children to other languages the better. Whilst teaching will be in mixed ability groups in Kindergarten and Reception, in Year 1 and Year 2 the children will now be broad banded by

Perhaps in the future we can look forward to the introduction of what one might consider world languages such as Mandarin or Arabic. But for now we have a great opportunity to enhance the learning of the host country languages and we are seizing it with both hands. ability in the language and then from Year 3 onwards they will continue to be grouped into four or five sets to ensure they learn at an appropriate pace according to their current level of proficiency and their past language learning experiences. Many of our families are multi-lingual and really understand the importance of having access to more than one language. As has been said before – mono-lingualism is a curable disease and we are determined that all students leaving the BSB will be

able to access more than one language successfully. Perhaps in the future we can look forward to the introduction of what one might consider world languages such as Mandarin or Arabic. But for now we have a great opportunity to enhance the learning of the host country languages and we are seizing it with both hands. BSB truly is trying to provide a world of language learning opportunities for all ages of learners.

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Sagar (second from right) celebrates his excellent results, which confirmed his place at Oxford, with some fellow Year 13 students (from left to right) Sean Markowicz (PPE, Warwick Univeristy, UK); Shonit Shah (Chemical Engineering, Cambridge University, UK); Camille Henrot (Engineering, Smith College, USA); Jack Howsham (Chemical Engineering, University College London, UK)

Student Profile E X A M I N AT I O N S

Tapestry talked to SAGAR SHAH, a Year 13 student following the International Baccalaureate Programme, who succeeded in securing a place at St. Catherine’s College Oxford to read Engineering this year.

Sagar, when did you start at BSB? I’ve been at BSB for 7 years now, since Year 7. I’ve enjoyed my time here. Before I came here I was at the Antwerp British School. It was quite a big change coming here. Over there it was quite a tight-knit community – there was one building, only 200 students, and moving to such a large school was a change but it was at a good time because I was ready for the transition to secondary school, and even the people who were at this school before found it different, because they didn’t use the whole campus.


What is your first memory of BSB? I remember the first day – well it wasn’t really the first day it was a try out day and I did a spelling test and I did really badly. How did you do in your GCSE’s after that kind of a start? I got 10 A*s and an A! I think all the departments here are very experienced in teaching GCSE. They know how to do it, so that really helped. When did you first consider applying to Oxford? Obviously a lot of people aspire to go to Oxford but it wasn’t a huge ambition of mine. At the start of Year 12 I was debating over Oxford and Cambridge; Cambridge is more known for its engineering, but then I saw Oxford and I talked to a few people and they spoke highly of it. I visited and it seemed a little more lively with a few more things going on socially, so I think that’s what swung it in the end. Did you have any difficult moments in your interview? They were really nice; they didn’t try to catch me out at all. Everything was based on my academic ability, and interest in the subject. They asked me my name, where I was from, whether I had a good journey and after that it was just Maths and Science. The questions were hard; they make you use everything you’ve learnt at school and the things you haven’t they tell you. The trickiest question was this: they gave me an aluminium rod, about half a metre long and they made me look up into the sky. When you do that you can see a pattern, an interference pattern, and they asked me to explain this. It’s to do with the

reflection of waves. I didn’t get it at first, but I worked it out in the end. Why did you apply to St Catherine’s College? I wanted to go somewhere that wasn’t too traditional - I know it sounds silly because I’m going to Oxford and that’s quite a traditional place, but it’s one of the more modern colleges and also one of the largest, so that appealed to me. What do you hope to get out of studying at Oxford? Well you can get a degree anywhere, so mostly I’m excited about meeting lots of new people who are really good at their chosen subjects and just being around those people.

What would have studied if you hadn’t opted for Engineering? Probably Chemistry – I’m fascinated by all the sciences to be honest although I find pure Maths a bit too much, but Chemistry I really like. Are you looking forward to living away from home for the first time? Yes and no. I mean people were really happy when school ended but it’s also really sad that after 13 years something is coming to an end. I think I might have the same mixed emotions moving away from home. I can be independent, and I see my friends who are already at university who are enjoying it a lot and I want that, but I know I’ll miss home as well. At least Oxford’s not too far, and I hear you get a lot of holidays at university – but also a lot of work to do in them.

I got 10 A*s and an A! I think all the departments here are very experienced in teaching GCSE. They know how to do it, so that really helped. Do you have any idea of what you would like to do after University? I’d like to do a Masters, preferably somewhere outside the UK as I’d like to learn from as diverse a range of sources as possible. Different traditions and cultures have different ways of looking at things and I think it’s important to experience as much diversity as possible. Ultimately I like the idea of being my own boss, so although I don’t have a firm idea of any specifics, running some kind of engineering firm or working on my own engineering product would be my ultimate goal.

Finally then, do you have a particularly cherished memory of BSB to leave us with? I think it was our last week of IB – that was a lot of fun. We all dressed up as a different thing on each day; the last day was nerd day which fulfils our IB stereotype, but we also had a saying on the IB: I be a nerd now; I be your boss later! We wish Sagar and all of the departing Year 13’s the best of luck in their careers after BSB.

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TA P E S T RY M A G A Z I N E I N º 1 I 2 0 1 1

2011 once again saw some outstanding exam results in A level, IB and GCSE. Well done to all the students who took exams and received results this summer and best of luck to all the students heading off to continue their education in the wider world. The year also saw excellent results in The Primary School as well as in other exams in Music and Drama.

Results Summary E X A M I N AT I O N S

‘As ever the students have inspired and encouraged me and I never cease to be full of admiration for their commitment to all that BSB has to offer, on the School campus and beyond its gates.’ Sue Woodroofe

of students taking the AQA Baccalaureate achieved an A* for their extended project. of the graduating class of Year 13 are now embarking upon a course of their choice.

of Year 6 students achieved a Level 4 or above in Maths. of students taking their Rock School examination passed with Distinction

of students achieved A*-C at GCSE; UK National Average 69.8%. of students taking LAMDA Drama passed exams with Distinction of Year 6 students achieved a Level 4 or above in English. of students taking AB Music exams passed with Merit or Distinction

of students achieved an A*-B* at A level; UK National average of 52%.


of students achieved a score of 40 or more at IB; Worldwide average of 5.3%

w w w. b r i t i s h s c h o o l . b e

The British School of Brussels s 1200 students - 65 nationalities s National Curriculum for England up to the age of 16 years s Post-16: A Levels and International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma (French & Dutch options) s Curriculum adapted to reflect multinational nature of the School s Crèche for children from 1 - 3 years s Excellent sports and extra-curricular facilities s Outstanding academic results s New in September 2011 a French/ English bilingual programme in Primary to complement our current English-medium teaching

The British School of Brussels vzw Leuvensesteenweg 19, 3080 Tervuren, Belgium Tel: +32 (0)2 766 04 30 - Fax: +32 (0)2 767 80 70 -

Tapestry (1st edition - 2011)  

News and reviews from in and around the BSB campus.