BSN Insight Magazine 2022

Page 6

Insight 2022

P3- CEO Editorial and Foreword

P4- Forewords

P5- Mr Mike Weston

P12- Maximilian Marston

P16- New Year 2022

P18- Happy Birthday BSN

P20- Growing with the BSN

P21- The BSN Character Profile

P22- What Makes You Proud?

P24- BSN in the Genes

P25- The Power in Partnership

P26- Pursuing our Goals in 2022

P30- 1931, Celebrating the Past - 2021, Creating the Future

P32- Looking Back with Pride, Moving Forward with Purpose

P34- The Family Association P35- Acknowledgements

2 WeSpeak — P 28
The BSN Artwork Challenge
P 14
90 Years of the BSN — P 6
Diversity & Equality at the BSN — P 27 The BSN’s New Mission — P 33
Cover artwork by SSV student

CEO Editorial and Foreword

It is an honour to be the CEO of the British School in The Netherlands (BSN) on this landmark 90th anniversary. The school has changed considerably over its 90 years; from a single room in a private house in 1931, to over 2,000 students (from nearly 90 different nationalities) spread over Junior and Senior campuses in 2022. It has been a pleasure to reflect on the many contributions that have been made by our community of staff, students, and families over the 90 years.

Showcasing all that is unique about our community (past and present), reflecting on how education has progressed over 90 years, and looking forward with positivity

to our centennial are the overarching themes of this commemorative edition of Insight magazine: Celebrating the Past, Creating the Future.

The past year has not been easy, but I am proud that the BSN community has pulled together to make the experience as positive as possible for our students. I do hope that 2022 will become easier. It will certainly continue to be a year of change (as well as opportunity), as we will amalgamate our three Junior Schools into two from September this year and welcome new Headteachers to the JSV and SSV campuses.

On behalf of the entire Board of Management, I would like to thank you for the role you play in shaping the BSN into what it is today. Here’s to the next 90 bright and successful years to come!

My best wishes to you all.

GLOSSARY BSN – The British School in The Netherlands JSD – Junior School Diamanthorst JSL – Junior School Leidschenveen JSV – Junior School Vlaskamp SSL – Senior School Leidschenveen SSV – Senior School Voorschoten ILA – International Leadership Academy EAL – English as an Additional Language CCA – Co-Curricular Activity


Happy 90th birthday to the British School in The Netherlands (BSN). They say that from small acorns mighty oak trees are grown and so it is with the BSN. If you think back to 90 years ago, when the school was founded in a small classroom with only a handful of children, it is wonderful to see what it has become today.

I am truly proud to have been associated with the school as a parent, Governor and Chair of Governors. I am equally proud of the work and dedication of my fellow Governors who give of their time and expertise on a regular basis, working closely with the members of the Association and Board of Management to the betterment of the school.

Of course, at the heart of everything we do are the students. Reading this special 90-year edition of Insight magazine has been a joy. The opportunities, be they academic or beyond the classroom, afforded to all our students is something in which we, the BSN community, can all share a collective pride.

I wish the BSN great success going forward and a wonderful future. ■

over 90 countries and, from its humble beginnings as a couple of rooms in 1931, has been an educational pillar in The Hague for 90 years.

As part of the 90th anniversary celebrations, I was delighted to be invited to join the inaugural BSN WeSpeak public speaking competition. The ability to influence, persuade or empathise remain as important today as it did in the days of Greek and Roman orators. I left the WeSpeak event feeling inspired, having watched the students confidently take to the stage and speak with such pride and passion on their chosen subject.

It has been a difficult couple of years for all at the BSN: staff, students, parents and guardians, peers and friends. I have heard how everyone has responded to the physical, mental and educational challenges posed by the pandemic with resilience, humanity and professionalism. I hope that this year will be easier for everyone. And I very much hope that I will be able to see more of the BSN in action in future.

Her Excellency

I am delighted to write the foreword for this latest edition of Insight, the magazine

of the British School in The Netherlands. I became Chair of the BSN Association when I took up my appointment as UK Ambassador in The Hague in September 2020 and have enjoyed being part of the large academic community here. This community brings together students from

My best wishes to all at the British School in The Netherlands. ■

the UK Ambassador to the Netherlands and Chair of the Association at the BSN.

Mr Mike Weston School archivist, storyteller, and detective

“Presently when the little Norwegians and Americans and Swedes will be returning to their own countries, and later when their paths become earnest as they go to and fro through another world, perhaps something will remain of that wonderful unity in The English School of The Hague.

It might happen that an ex-pupil, grown up in the diplomatic world, representative of a nation at loggerheads with another, will suddenly realise, “Why, that is Carl the Norwegian boy I once played with or Akio from Japan who gave me some of his sweets.” And that small memory may bring to pass that a seed of international friendship was sown at the English School of The Hague.”

-Nancy Macdona, ex-Principal, Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 4, 1952.

Mike Weston joined the English School at The Hague (the BSN) in 1972 as Head of German. Initially, he intended to stay with the school for a couple of years, but fast forward 50 years and he is still an integral part of our story.

Over the years, Mike has taught a range of subjects and has enjoyed hands-on involvement in many school activities, including the creation of an awardwinning Eco-Garden at Senior School Voorschoten.

Mike first started archiving around 1979, the year that the BSN moved from the old school in Scheveningen to the new building in Voorschoten. Starting a school archive from scratch and tracing the school’s history (about which we knew very little) is the activity that has given Mike the most pleasure over the years.

On reaching retirement age, Mike asked if he could stay on as the school archivist. In this capacity, he regularly dives into the archives and uncovers some remarkable

stories from our past, even managing to locate the granddaughter of the school’s founder all the way in Australia.

It is thanks to Mike’s hard work and meticulous records that we have been able to piece together the BSN’s 90-year timeline and delve into the backgrounds of so many of our #MyBSN stories. Mike’s archives truly are a celebration of our past, present, and future and it is a privilege to showcase so much of his work in this issue of Insight.■



1930s: HOW IT ALL BEGAN A handful of students


The school was founded in 1931 by Gwen Brunton-Jones, a New Zealander living in The Hague. It was initially a kindergarten for the children of English-speaking diplomats and businessmen but soon other nationalities started to join.


By 1939 it was clear that the school was under threat as the war took hold and many families left.


The numbers grew and it was formalised with a committee, a treasurer and the backing of the British and American ambassadors. It was named The English School at The Hague.

1940s: A SECOND 0 - 26 students


In May 1940, with the invasion of the Netherlands, the school ceased to exist.

Van Diepenburchstraat 1, The Dutch school where we started in two rented rooms.

The last pre-war photo, probably the left is Margaret Davies, the left is Clare Macgillivray, the daughter of the Canadian Government Commissioner.


1950s: THE START OF SOMETHING BIG 26 - 130 students


In 1955 the Dutch authorities created an International School for the Americans, British, French and Germans to work side by side. A great idea in theory, but difficult in practice, with three different systems and philosophies under one roof. The English School withdrew from the project after one year and moved into the Anglo-American Church Hall in the Riouwstraat for the next four years.




After the war, one of the teachers from the 1930s, Nancy Macdona, returned to the Netherlands with the intention of re-starting the school. Initially, during that time of austerity and national reorganisation, she received no support and almost gave up. Finally, with the financial help of a wealthy Dutch family (the Weise family), she was able to rent a couple of rooms in a Dutch school at Jan van Nassaustraat in The Hague.

During the 1950s, student numbers grew from around 26 to over 130. The school had to move several times to accommodate growth.


A great boost to morale occurred in 1958 when Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Juliana visited the school. Student numbers grew considerably and in 1959, at last (after 11 years of moving), the school was able to buy its own premises – a fine old house called Duynrose on the Tapijtweg.

By Christmas 1948 the school had 26 students. from early 1940. On the Vice-Principal. Yolande van Beek feeding Caspar the dog, who attended most lessons with the children. Nancy Macdona and Class in 1946. Erna Siegel (staff), students and the embassy Rolls Royce at the end of the school day, 1956. Parkweg 19, The International School, in 1955-1956. The 1955 Students playing in the sand that surrounded the recently acquired school buildings (Duynrose) 1959.

1960s: A NEW ERA 130 - 500 students


By now there were quite a number of teenagers attending the school but it became increasingly clear that having all ages, Reception through to A Levels, crowded together in the same building was not satisfactory.


A school uniform was introduced and a school badge was designed. Houses were established (Leiden, Gouda,


In 1966 a second house was purchased at 17 Parkweg to accommodate a separate Senior Division. Duynrose became the Junior Division and the school’s administrative centre (and was to remain as such until 1997 when the Vlaskamp school was built).

1970s: A TIME OF ACTION 500 - 1,000+ students


With numbers still rising, a third building was purchased on the van Stolklaan for a so-called Middle Division. It is then that regular school plays and musicals began, two particularly notable successes being The Jungle Book and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Technicolor

which was staged in the Congresgebouw (World Forum Centre) in 1976.

The English School of The Hague became The British School in The Netherlands in 1976.

After a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1961 the students bid farewell to Nancy Macdona who had re-started the school after the war.

Dreamcoat Delft and Amsterdam). The first Advanced Level class with teacher (and later author) Glen Petrie – in 1963. Students meeting H.R.H. Princess Beatrix at Soestdijk Palace on the occasion of her engagement to German diplomat Claus von Amsberg in February 1966. Van Stolklaan 1-3 The new Middle Division purchased in 1970. (now THIMUN) held in Leiden in 1969. One of the BSN’s first ever ‘pop groups’ –The Three Lazy People 1967. About to be photographed for the cover of the first school magazine in 1974. S. Kongsamut, D. Ajanoviċ, F. Ahmadu Suka, S. Crane, R. Morris.


This was the decade of most rapid expansion. Examination results improved considerably (a major factor in marketing which boosted numbers in the Senior Division), sport and extra-curricular activities were developed, field trips got underway to Luxemburg, Switzerland, Germany and France as well as inside the Netherlands; a ‘dépendance’ was opened at Assen (where there were a lot of Shell families), the Infants moved to separate accommodation and in 1977, after lengthy negotiations with the local gemeente, the foundation stone for a completely new school was laid at Voorschoten.

1980s: SETTLING DOWN 1,000 - 1,200 students

1982 - 1985

New subjects were added to the curriculum, new facilities became available and the first computers arrived. There were particularly exciting developments on the musical front with the production of a string of glamorous musicals such as Oklahoma, Carousel, West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof (which even went on tour to Germany).



In 1989 an additional four hectares and the Boerderij were purchased, tripling the SSV footprint; and at the same time the Infants and Nursery Division moved to Granaathorst, Mariahoeve.

Language Centre moved from the British Council to The British School in The Netherlands.

The first computers in February 1985. The laying of the foundation stone for the new Senior School at Voorschoten, October 15 1977. At the Open Air Museum in Arnhem The school’s first football team 1973-74. Ahrweiler Field Trip in 1982. The BSN girls' basketball team in 1985.

1990s: A NEW SITE 1,200 - 1,600 students


In 1992, after a move to more suitable premises on the Lottingstraat, the Junior School at Assen was renamed The Helen Sharman British School in honour of the British astronaut who became a regular visitor.

In the same year, at Voorschoten, a beautiful new Music and Technology building was opened by Princess Margriet.



In 1997 there was a major development when the old Junior School on the Tapijtweg (the first premises the school had purchased back in 1959) was sold and the Junior and Infant Divisions moved into the new, prize-winning building at Vlaskamp. The Vlaskamp building was officially opened on 27 November 1997 by


1,600 - 2,000 students


A second Junior School at Diamanthorst opened in 2003 and a third, Junior School Leidschenveen, was opened by Princess Máxima in 2010.


The first decade of the new millennium saw continued expansion of BSN premises on an unprecedented scale.

Prins Willem Alexander. Astronaut Helen Sharman talking to the students at ESTEC Expo Centre in January 1992. Prince Willem Alexander and Headteacher Ann Shaw at the opening of the new Junior School at Vlaskamp on 27 October 1997. The new Science, Technology and Music Building in 1992. Berlin trip in 1999. The new Junior School at Vlaskamp in 1997. Sports Day at SSV July 1997. BSN First XV rugby team competing in the ISST (International Schools Sports Tournament) in Geneva in March 2001. Junior School Diamanthorst in 2003. BSN delegation at THIMUN (The Hague International Model United Nations) in January 2002.

2010s: BEYOND THE CLASSROOM 2,000 - 2,200 students


Launched in 2017, the objective of the newly founded International Leadership Academy (ILA) was to recruit, maintain, develop and retain a world-class workforce that would in turn deliver the very best outcomes for our students.


Day Care and After School Care facilities were also expanded and with eco-gardens now at both Vlaskamp and Voorschoten, the school was awarded the International Eco-Schools Green Flag.


This decade saw the BSN rapidly expand its digital footprint, with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as a dedicated YouTube channel.

The end of the decade heralded the launch of a brand-new external website, as well as an internal staff and parent intranet, Compass. Due to the pandemic, it was also the period that saw the BSN move to remote and hybrid learning for the first time in its history.

2010 2021

Senior School Leidschenveen (SSL) opened with its first cohort of Year 7 students and two form groups in 2018, moving to a brand new, state of the art facility in 2019.

Offering top-class education and activities, the BSN was now spread across five campuses, three Junior Schools (Junior School Diamanthorst, Leidschenveen and Vlaskamp) and two Senior Schools (Senior School Leidschenveen and


Beyond the classroom the BSN continued to thrive, hosting its very own whole school TEDxYouth@BSN in 2017 and 2019.

Voorschoten). Victorian Day at JSD, 2014. TEDxYouth@BSN, 2017 and 2019. Queen Beatrix visiting the Food Technology Department during the official opening of the new Senior School, 1 October 2003. Family Association Summer Fair in 2006. The audience at an annual Care2Rock concert at SSV in June 2006. Senior School Students’ visit to USA in 2009. The BSN celebrates its 90 year anniversary! Princess Máxima on the inauguration of Junior School Leidschenveen, 2010.

Maximilian Marston – BSN

academically or in sports – but I knew that I felt at home on stage, and that was where my talents shone through.”

Being cast as Joseph in SSV’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat particularly stands out for him. “Ms Ball gave me the opportunity to do that part, and that was the first time that I felt I came into my own.”

theatre company from the UK, for the fifth time. However, this year Max was one of the seven cast members of the company. It’s hard not to see the poetry of returning to perform the same play he watched nearly a decade ago as a Year 12 student.

Shortly after joining JSV as a Year 6 student, Max performed his first bit of Shakespeare when cast as Ferdinand in the children’s version of The Tempest. He still remembers many of the songs and lines from the production 13 years later. “The school did a good job of making me feel welcome and involved. My teachers saw that I had a penchant for Drama, and they really allowed me to delve into that right from the start.”

As he describes it, there was never a eureka moment; Max has always wanted to be an actor. “I wasn’t the strongest

“The school did a good job of making me feel welcome and involved. My teachers saw that I had a penchant for Drama, and they really allowed me to delve into that right from the start.”

In September this year, the BSN community had the privilege of hosting The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the critically-acclaimed open-air touring


BSN Alumni, Class of 2013

“Out of all the people I’ve met since [the BSN], my closest friends are from the BSN... My memories of the BSN are overwhelmingly positive, especially

the later years – GCSEs and A Levels. I remember those years as some of the best years of my life thus far.” ■

“I remember seeing [The Lord Chamberlain’s Men], being absolutely blown away by their performance, and thinking they were incredible”. Seven years later, Max jumped at the opportunity to audition and was then cast in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the company. Nine years later, he was cast and returned to perform Macbeth.

Following the performance, Max spoke about how meaningful it was to return to his alma mater.

“Drama and the arts are a vital part of our education; we need imagination and creativity to go anywhere in this world. Our students gain so much from working with other professionals to see what the possibilities are for life beyond the classroom.”
-Hazel Ball, Head of Drama, SSV
Max with his former BSN Drama teacher, Ms Ball


In October, CEO Heath Monk set all students (from Foundation Stage 1 through to Year 13) the same challenge - to create and submit a piece of original artwork to mark the BSN’s 90th birthday!

Over 70 entries were received across all campuses, from which Heath, Juan Arias (Graphic Designer) and Tina Campbell (Internal Communications Manager) selected an overall winner.

Congratulations to SSV student, Eleanor, for her winning entry, which complemented the theme of the anniversary perfectly: Celebrating the Past, Creating the Future. Eleanor has been a student at the school for almost ten years, starting her journey at Junior School Vlaskamp in Foundation Stage 2.

Whole School Representation

A winner, runner-up and (at times) honourable mentions were selected per campus and every entrant received a personalised certificate, signed by Heath and Juan. Thank you and well done to everybody who took part. What a celebration of BSN talent!

Aniek, Year 2, JSL Thomas, Year 4, JSD Zunqi, Year 2, JSL Noura, Year 5, JSV Baudouin, Year 10, SSL Ella, Year 4, JSV Ariadne, Year 2, JSV Jiwon, Year 4, JSV Sam, Year 2, JSD Jessie, Year 8, SSL

“My inspiration for my artwork was thinking about my journey through the BSN and how this experience has helped me achieve my goals. I wanted to show the theme of past, present, and future through my art. Each section of the painting depicts a stage in a student’s life in which a love of space is nurtured and eventually becomes a career.”

Bonnie, Year 8, Akari, Year 12, SSV Eleanor, Year 9, SSV Sara, Year 2, JSL Tasbch, Year 10, SSV Vera, Year 6, JSV - Eleanor, Year 9, SSV

New Year 2022 Looking to the Future with our Chinese Community


Yangyang and his family moved to the Netherlands four years ago and have been part of the BSN community ever since. Lynn, Yangyang’s mum, shared some reflections about their New Year (which this year runs between 31 January and 15 February) and how her family celebrates it.

On New Year’s Eve, we make special dumplings together. Though we eat dumplings at other times during the year, this recipe is particular and uses Chinese chives, prawns and meat. Making them together is just as important as eating them, and it’s something that Yangyang enjoys doing.

We will have many dishes (according to tradition, there should be many dishes and always an even number); we will prepare fish because fish is important for luck. Also, a type of seafood soup involving many ingredients which are meant to bring the whole family good fortune.

We have traditional decorations on our door, specifically for the New Year, and of course, lots of red. Yangyang always gets his red envelope with some money in it.■

“Every year, I get much grateful feedback from parents. Their children want to make dumplings at home, go to Chinatown, have Chinese pizza on pizza night and check the zodiac sign for every family member. Most importantly, my children are extremely proud about their Chinese roots.” -

“New Year is a joyful moment! It is all about looking forward and letting the past go. It’s a chance to start fresh, and so I feel a sense of optimism and positivity for the New Year to come.”
周瑛 Ying Zhou-Rameseder, JSV Parent
“The Chinese Speaking Community has been very active on all our campuses and staff and students have enjoyed learning about their New Year. At JSL, the library has received wonderful donations of books in Mandarin from parents.”
-Deborah Perrin, EAL Senior Leader and International Team Staff Representative
Yangyang, Year 4, making dumplings
Ying and her family (Johnny, Leo, Sisi and Nini) enjoy sharing their traditions with school friends

Growing with the BSN

Shortly after finishing university in the UK in 1992, my husband and I moved to the Netherlands. All five of our daughters were born here, and the eldest three went to Dutch school before starting at the BSN in 2004. Eventually, all of our girls would have many delightful years at JSD before moving on to Senior School Voorschoten, where our youngest, Emily, is currently in her final year. This summer will definitely mark the end of an era when (for the first time in eighteen years) we will no longer have children at school!

I have been a Teaching Assistant at JSD since 2010 and I’m delighted to now be working alongside my eldest daughter, Hannah, who has returned to the BSN as a Class Teacher (also at JSD)! We are all proud to be long-standing members of the BSN community, and JSD especially will always be close to our hearts.” ■

“ “ #MyBSN
We are all proud to be longstanding members of the BSN community, and JSD especially will always be close to our hearts.”


The BSN Character Profile identifies eight attributes that are considered key values for every student to develop. Courage, Perseverance, Creativity, Curiosity, Digital Responsibility, Compassion, Collaboration and Environmental Integrity are all characteristics embedded throughout our curriculum irrespective of age, year group or campus. Our Character Profile is a powerful tool that not only binds us together as a community but equips us with invaluable life skills. We are proud that our staff and students demonstrate these qualities.

Meet the Characters

To help our youngest students understand and embrace the BSN Character Profile, the eight attributes were personified by Juan Arias, BSN Graphic Designer, and Jonathan Clarke, Character Profile Lead, with support from the Project Team.


In keeping with the theme of our 90th anniversary, we wanted to use the start of the New Year as an opportunity to look back on 2021, as well as forward to the rest of the academic year. Thank you to all the BSN students who answered the call and got in touch to tell us what they are proud of, as well as looking forward to in 2022.

I’m proud that I have become better at raising my hand more often in class, and I’m being a bit more grown-up. Also, I’m doing more exercise.

- Giuliano, Year 4

Something that challenged me last term was swimming with full clothes for my A diploma. I felt like a thousand spiderwebs plus the water was cold! I am excited about Easter because my 2 best friends and I are going to get our library helper badges and that means we get to read to little students in F1 and F2.

- Tilisa, Year 3

I enjoy going to the BSN, spending time with my friends and learning new things. I’m proud of me learning the front flip and writing in paragraphs. This year my goal is to learn a new type of swimming!

- Anna, Year 3

I enjoyed writing our own Tuffy the killer cat story in English. We could make it as funny as we wanted and entertain the reader by using sarcasm. I also loved making pasta in Design Technology. The second time we made it, it tasted much better. In PE I enjoyed parkour because I cleared all the obstacles! This term, I am excited about completing the cliffhanging book Macbeth to learn more about the untimely, dramatic death of King Duncan!

- Rhesa, Year 5

I’m proud of myself because I made three books in a row and the teacher was proud of me. I’m also happy because I made a paper hot chocolate, wrote a poem with it, and put some candy canes on it. I’m really proud that my teacher was happy with me for doing all of that at school.

- Giorgia, Year 1


I was proud of my group’s work in the Drama project. We were asked to plan our own play inspired by Frankenstein, make a presentation of our work and film a trailer. I was the scriptwriter, and I designed the presentation. I realised that I am more confident when collaborating with others. This year I hope to work harder at school and win more House Points for Gouda.

- Edith, Year 8

I enjoyed Comic Club the most this term because my favourite teacher was the head of the club. We made up our own comics, drew our characters and even showed our own comics! This year I am excited to make the best Greek vase ever and am looking forward to being the best foot-dodge baller!

- Arina, Year 3

I am proud of myself for winning the SSV Courageous Award in Autumn 2021. I never thought of myself as being brave. Knowing that my teachers and peers saw me as being strong and brave has made me start thinking of myself this way too.

When you take a moment to look back over the years, you really appreciate how far you’ve come.

- Nikolai, Year 12

- Anya, Year 9
and now: Nikolai, in Year 6 at JSV and now Year 12

BSN in the Genes


When Nicola (Nicki) Welch and her siblings, Steven and Caroline, started at the BSN in 1978, little did Nicki know that this would be the beginning of a long connection with the school. Nicki’s mother, Delia, joined the teaching staff as a Biology Teacher and continued working at the BSN until the Welch family left the Netherlands in 1986.

and Nicki re-joined the BSN as a Biology Teacher in 2002. Nicki was welcomed to the department by the then Head of Biology, Patric Hudman, who was coincidentally, the same department Head when Nicki’s mother taught at the school all those years ago.

Although there are several examples of BSN alumni who work, or have worked at the BSN, the mother and daughter Biologists have the unique distinction of being the only example of two generations teaching in the same department!

Nicki seen here, back row third from left.

Impressively, all three Welch children went on to win places at Oxford. The Netherlands was clearly still in her blood

During her years as a BSN member of staff, Nicki has held the position of Examinations Officer, was promoted to Head of Biology in 2014 and has been one of three interim Deputy Headteachers at Senior School Voorschoten this academic year. ■

I had a great time as a student at the BSN. I have so many fond memories of playing hockey, school plays and making great friends. Although the BSN is different and much bigger now, it is still a place which values education and education outside the classroom. ”

Working in Partnership for the Betterment of the Community

We joined the BSN seven years ago when both kids were students at JSD. It was a lovely, small school, and my kids had some amazing teachers who really knew them.”

Before moving to the Netherlands, Jyothi and her husband Vikram lived in various parts of the United States, India, Shanghai, and Singapore and brought significant international perspectives and experiences to the BSN community.

Jyothi was very involved with her children’s previous school and decided that this was the best way to have a voice at the BSN. “Initially, I got involved with the Family Association (FA) so that I could have a channel of communication with the school.” At the BSN, she is the Leader of the Secondhand Uniform Team for the FA and a member of the Diversity & Equality Parents’ Reference Group.

I have enjoyed being the Secondhand Uniform Team Lead, learned a lot, and I think it’s exciting to get the students involved. Through my involvement, I am working with the school in a different way that feels constructive. It’s been lovely to build that trust and think about a partnership on multiple levels. It’s been good for me, but the work with the uniforms has also been good for the school. ”

While the Diversity and Equality work that the school is doing will be ongoing, Jyothi reflects on the progress that she sees at the BSN, “I think that there has been a shift in the last few years, there’s been an effort to do better.

I think Mr Monk’s leadership has been positive in a lot of different ways. I also think that as parents, you have to be involved in your child’s school. I know we are all busy, and we all have other commitments, but at the end of the day, being engaged with the school and getting involved leads to the betterment and wellbeing of the wider school community.” ■

#MyBSN “ “

Pursuing our Goals for 2022

I am reminded of an African American folk tale, the story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby. You see, Brer Fox was sick and tired of Brer Rabbit’s arrogance and cunningness. So, he decided to trick Brer Rabbit, to teach him a lesson. He made a doll out of tar and set it at the edge of the briar patch where Brer Rabbit was sure to pass. He then hid to see what would happen. As expected, Brer Rabbit walked by, saw the little person, and greeted the person as one is supposed to do. The person (who was not a real person) did not answer, so Brer Rabbit got upset and the story takes on from there. You see, in the traditional African American (and hence African) culture, one of the worst offences is to not acknowledge the spirit of another, to “diss” somebody (so to speak.)

Dr Aminata Cairo was appointed by the BSN at the end of the last academic year to provide specialist support in our ongoing work on Diversity and Equality.

2022, the year where the British School in The Netherlands community is going to be dedicated to making some changes regarding diversity and inclusion.

What does that mean? To me, it is about us, about who we want to be as a community. I start with that statement, because ultimately that’s what this commitment to diversity and inclusion is all about. It is not about them or those, or about what’s wrong, difficult, or impossible.

It is about us. It is also about digging deep into the strength of who we are, of being honest and vulnerable, being able to admit where we fall short, and celebratory about when we do well. In the short time I have gotten to know the British School in The Netherlands community I have seen firsthand an attitude of honest self-reflection and a commitment to move forward. That’s where it all starts.

“I am because we are,” goes the Ubuntu philosophy of South Africa. Which brings me back to my opening statement. The Covid pandemic and recent social and environmental justice movements have given us the opportunity to take

a closer look at who we are, and how interconnected and interdependent we are. That confrontation has not always been pleasant, to say the least, but I use the word “opportunity” here on purpose. Diversity and inclusion work is about taking a hard look at how we interact and relate to each other, to recognise that certain patterns have developed, and to be brave enough to address them. As hard as that work can be, there must always be a spirit of optimism and hope.

Diversity and inclusion work is not easy, but it is not impossible. In addition to wishing you all the best for 2022, I also wish for you to get excited and think about “opportunity” when thinking about this upcoming communal journey. I am honoured to be part of this journey and look forward to supporting you.


Diversity & Equality at the BSN

Throughout its history, the BSN has enrolled students of many different nationalities and advocated international understanding. Indeed, one of the school’s early leaders, Nancy Macdona, often referred to the school with pride as ‘a miniature United Nations.’

guidance, Dr Aminata Cairo was engaged to support us on this journey. A cross-school staff working group of volunteers, including leadership and Governor representation, was formed and work began on action plans covering the broad categories of curriculum, pastoral support, staff recruitment and development, and policy.

“Of course, working groups and policies only have an impact if they become embedded into the very fabric of our school – a process that takes time and effort on all our parts.”

the staff and parent-working groups to be solely responsible for driving the change we all want to see. This work will be ongoing, and it will involve all of us, but there is something incredibly powerful in that realisation.

Fast-forward to the present and the BSN is more diverse than ever with over 90 nationalities represented among our staff and student body; however, simply counting the number of different nationalities does not tell us anything about the experiences of our students. Being a diverse organisation is about more than having a diverse student body and saying we value diversity. Recent allegations of racism within the BSN shared on social media highlighted that very point.

Our CEO chose to listen, and act, instigating a broad, long-term, school-wide approach to tackling issues of diversity within our school culture. We were going to do this right! Realising that we needed expert

A Parental Reference Group was appointed in parallel to provide the checks and balances to the work of the staff group. The student perspective will be the next critical voice to add to make sure that our work truly does represent our community.

All of us have our unique role to play to bring about real, lasting, and ongoing change for the betterment of the BSN community, as well as society at large.

“In the short time that I have gotten to know the British School in The Netherlands community, I have seen first hand the attitude of honest selfreflection and a commitment to move forward. That’s where is all starts.”

Diversity and Equality is a huge topic (both in size and importance). There will never be a point where we can score it off the agenda and consider our work ‘finished’; nor can we expect

- Dr Aminata Cairo A cultural celebration; students proudly wearing their national dress, 1940s.

Our 90 Year anniversary celebrations got off to an exciting start with the first-ever BSN WeSpeak event held at Junior School Leidschenveen. Represented by students from every campus, it was a celebration of oracy and performance.

Let’s Hear it for the Students!

Eight students shared their vision for the world in ten years (when the BSN turns 100) and the role that education could play in making these visions a reality. Each student prepared a speech and spoke about a topic or issue that mattered to them.

The audience first heard from three Junior School students: Chloé spoke about her love of gardening and the benefits of cultivating homegrown fruit and vegetables; Olivia gave a passionate speech on the need for equal rights for everyone regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation; Nelly, an avid reader, spoke about the impact of climate change on the availability of printed books in the future.

Five Senior School students then presented their speeches: Arnav, a keen follower of trend forecasting, presented his predictions of the world in ten years that covered climate change, healthcare, expansion of artificial intelligence, and the future of work and education; Lily and Yi Ling gave a joint speech on the need for gender equality, along with practical solutions and actions to achieve a more gender-equitable future; Reese’s speech examined the shortcomings of utilitarianism in today’s society, and the need to teach morals and ethical

fundamentals to ensure an improved version of utilitarianism in the future; Franziska spoke about the evolution of technology and what that might mean for the world, and specifically, learning and education, in the next ten years.


Let’s Hear it for the Performing Arts!

There were also performances by some budding BSN musicians. The JSL School Choir opened the event with an original song, ‘Welcome’, sung in two languages. Senior School Leidschenveen students showcased their musical skills: Devika and Miren, Year 9 students, played Shostakovich, Waltz No. 2, from Suite for Variety Orchestra, a duet on piano and violin, and later, Laute, a Year 8 student, performed Schubert, Impromptu No.2, Op. 90 on piano.

A Judging Panel of Honoured Guests

A formal judging panel was also appointed, adding to the overall prestige of the event. The judges were: Heath Monk, BSN CEO, whose CV includes working as a speechwriter; Karen Hennessy-Massaro, a lawyer by profession, a BSN alumna and the Governor of Parental Interests; Billy Allwood, Editor of The Hague Online, Founder and Head of the ‘Feel at Home in The Hague’ Fair. The event was attended by Her Excellency Joanna Roper CMG, the UK Ambassador to the Netherlands, as well as Peter Bayliff OBE, Chair of Governors. ■

“Great public speaking starts with a simple premise, delivered in a way that captures the audience’s imagination and leaves them thinking after you’ve finished. It’s one of the most powerful skills we can have.”
– Her Excellency
Joanna Roper CMG, the UK Ambassador to the Netherlands

1931, Celebrating the Past

Dressed in costumes from the period and adopting new names typical of the era (such as Sonny and Margaret), students and teachers got into character to experience what a typical classroom would have been like.

Junior School Students journey back in time to 1931

It is often said that to know where you are going you must first understand where you have come from. This was exactly the opportunity given to some of our Junior School students who took a journey back in time to when the BSN opened its doors for the very first time back in 1931.

I was excited to join the 1930s classroom because I had never acted as if it was a long time ago before. It was exciting to know what it was like for children in the 1930s. They had special equipment like the abacus in Maths and, in Art, they sat on the floor to paint. I enjoyed making new friends from JSD and JSV.”

Much of the BSN of today is unrecognisable to the small school opened by Gwen Brunton-Jones (a New Zealander living in The Hague) in 1931. The school began in a rented single room of a private house on van Diepenburchstraat. Conditions in the classroom were basic in comparison with today, but what it lacked in resources, it made up for in commitment to its students - a principle that remains at the heart of the BSN today. ■


2021, Creating the Future

The Student Experience

As I write this short article at the end of 2021, it is an opportunity to reflect on what has been another character-building year for all of us. With strict guidelines still in place and a mix of in-person and distance learning, it has been challenging for everyone; not only from an academic perspective but also from a social and personal one.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have exchanged our pens and paper for Teams and virtual Q & As due to the new nature of learning. Online learning tests both your work ethic and resilience. I had to remain driven and motivated to complete work set independently, which is not always easy but good practice for when I start university. Even after returning to campus, technology remained a prominent part of our daily school routines. Many students agree that this is a long-term change for the better; not only are school

resources and teachers only a mouse click away, but we are using less paper, which is much more sustainable towards the

environment. I am proud of how my peers and I have adapted to and overcome the challenges that have come our way.

On a more personal note, I have experienced what it means to grow up with the BSN. I started school in 2007 in Foundation Stage 1 at JSD, before moving to JSL in Year 1, then on to Senior School Voorschoten. I have seen first-hand how learning has changed throughout that time, especially now that I am in the Sixth Form and my study is increasingly more independent. One thing that has been constant throughout are my friends. I deeply appreciate growing up in such an international school where I’ve met friends from so many different backgrounds and cultures. I see this experience helping me to contribute positively to the interlinked world we live. ■



The end of this academic year will mark a significant landmark in the BSN’s history when we move from three Junior School campuses to two from September 2022. This will be a time of mixed emotions as we reflect on shared memories built together over the years. On the one hand, it will mark the end of an era, as Headteachers Chris Wathern (Junior School Diamanthorst, JSD) and Sue Aspinall (Junior School Vlaskamp, JSV) will leave the BSN.

On the other hand, it will be the start of a new chapter, as Claire Waller begins her post as Headteacher of the newly amalgamated Junior School Vlaskamp, working alongside Karren van Zoest (Junior School Leidschenveen) to deliver our Junior School vision. ■

I am honoured to have been appointed the first Headteacher of the amalgamated Junior School. September 2022 will be an exciting time of new beginnings.”
-Claire Waller
Incoming Headteacher, JSV
On behalf of the entire BSN, I would like to thank Sue, Chris and Karren for their commitment, dedication, and leadership over the years, as well as the staff, students, and families (past and present) who have made all our Junior School campuses vibrant and happy community hubs.”
-Heath Monk CEO


The culture of a school is something that runs deeper than bricks and mortar. As we look back with pride, we can also look forward with purpose to the exciting times that lie ahead, including the appointment of Patrick Heuff, who will take over the reins as Headteacher, Senior School Voorschoten , and Claire Waller, who will lead our new amalgamated campus at Junior School Vlaskamp, both from September.

The Junior School amalgamation has provided an opportunity for us to come together and reconsider where the BSN

is going as an organisation, as well as what sets us apart.

After extensive consultation with parents and staff across all our campuses, a new mission has been approved by the Board of Governors.

This brand-new whole school mission, which fittingly is launched during our 90-year celebrations, puts the student firmly at its core. What is most important is the experience that every child will have during their time at the BSN – both inside and outside the classroom.


The BSN’s mission is to prepare young people with the knowledge, skills and characteristics that they need to become successful global citizens who can make an impact and help to build a better world.

We will do this in three ways:

We meet each student’s individual needs and maximise their love of learning, progress and achievement across a range of subjects.


We provide every student with opportunities to participate in activities and experiences, both within and outside the classroom, so that they can discover and develop their unique talents, creativity and interests


We celebrate our diverse international community, helping students to develop a sense of pride, confidence and compassion, and encouraging them to challenge themselves, build their resilience and play their part in improving society.


Meet Laszlo, The New Chair of the BSN Family Association

Hello, my name is Laszlo Matyas. I am Hungarian. I moved to the Netherlands in August 2021 with my wife and two children. My daughter is in Foundation Stage 1 at the Vlaskamp campus, and I work as a Risk Manager for an Insurance company.

I took over as Chair of the Family Association in October last year. Moving countries during a pandemic, it has definitely felt more difficult to feel connected to our new home and this seemed a wonderful opportunity to give back, as well as become more actively involved in the community.

have been persistent in finding solutions to bring the community together. It has not been easy, and it is a real reflection of the team that we have managed to keep going.

As a relative newcomer to the BSN, I am also enjoying meeting different people and seeing perspectives from parts of the organisation I would not have had contact with otherwise; staff, parents and students from all the campuses coming together with the same positive goal at heart.

It doesn’t matter how much time you have, there’s always something you can do to get involved in the Family Association.

Looking to the future, many experienced Board members will leave this summer when their children finish Year 13, taking with them their knowledge and experience. Keeping positive, I am trying to see this as an opportunity for new parents to get involved, bringing their fresh ideas, and building on successes.

It’s Easy to Get Involved

Whether you have a few hours to give or are looking for something more professional/ambitious, there’s a role for you!

The BSN Family Association is currently looking for:

• Volunteers (the more the merrier)

• Secretary (immediately)

• International Lead (immediately)

• Vice-Chair, Senior School Voorschoten (from July 2022)

• Secondhand Uniform Team (inmediate support required)

• Fair Lead (from July 2022 )

My first impressions are positive! The friends I have made on the Board, as well as the parent volunteers I have met all have a genuine passion and commitment to the school... There is a real ‘get-up-andgo’ attitude, with everyone playing their part with energy, and importantly, having fun! Even during Covid, the Welcome, Social and Secondhand Uniform Teams

All BSN parents and staff are automatically members of the Family Association, and it is easy to get involved! It does not matter how much time you have, there is always something you can do, be that on an ad-hoc basis or more regularly as a permanent Board member. Fingers crossed our Summer Fair will go ahead as planned this June, so why not come along and see for yourself?! ■

Get involved now and benefit from a comprehensive (and fun) handover with our Team!

• Visit the Family Association Compass page or email for more information.

• Save the Date for the Family Association’s International Summer Fair, Saturday 25 June 2022.

B r i t ishSchool in the Netherlan d s Family Association #MyBSN

Celebrating the Past, Creating the Future Dedication & Acknowledgements

There is something quite magical about the concept of a time capsule. Filling a box with your most treasured memories so that future generations can feel part of and understand your story. In today’s world where everything is instant, stored in an invisible cloud in the sky, it has been delightful to create a tangible record of our past and present as we celebrate 90 years of the British School in The Netherlands. This edition of Insight is a dedication to every student, every staff member and every family who has ever been part of our story. Thank you for the unique role you have played in shaping the school into what it is today.

And a very special thank you to Mr Mike Weston, our school archivist, without whom so much of our story would remain unknown and untold to the BSN of tomorrow.

Editorial & Creative Team

Juan Arias, Graphic Designer

Kimberley Bosman, Photographer

Tina Campbell

Rebecca Hazlett

Stacey Vickers

Caitlin Watson Photographer

CEO Editorial and Foreword

Heath Monk, CEO


Peter Bayliff OBE, Chair of Governors

Her Excellency Joanna Roper CMG, the UK Ambassador to the Netherlands and Chair of the Association at the British School in The Netherlands.

#MyBSN Mr Mike


Tina Campbell

Mike Weston

90 Years of the BSN

Juan Arias

Tina Campbell

Rebecca Hazlett

Mike Weston

#MyBSN Maximilian Marston

Hazel Ball

Elizabeth de Libero

Maximilian Marston

The BSN Artwork Challenge

Tina Campbell

New Year 2022

Elizabeth de Libero

Jing Lin / Lynn 林小涵

Ying Zhou-Rameseder


Happy Birthday BSN

Juan Arias

Caitlin Watson

#MyBSN Growing with the BSN

The Berry Family

Lucy Murray

The BSN Character Profile

Juan Arias

What Makes You Proud?

Tina Campbell

#MyBSN BSN in the Genes

Tina Campbell

Nicola Welch

Mike Weston

#MyBSN The Power in Partnership

Elizabeth de Libero

Jyothi Thrivikraman

Pursuing our Goals in 2022

Dr Aminata Cairo

Diversity & Equality at the BSN

Rebecca Hazlett

BSN WeSpeak

Juan Arias

Tina Campbell

Elizabeth de Libero

Celebrating the Past, Creating the Future

Tina Campbell

Magdalena Godzina

Looking Back with Pride, Moving Forward with Purpose

Tina Campbell

Students at the Heart – the BSN’s New Mission

Stacey Vickers

#MyBSN The Family Association

Tina Campbell

Laszlo Matyas

The BSN Language Centre offers Dutch and English Language Classes to parents and staff. With in-person and online classes ranging from Beginner to Advanced, we’re sure we have the solution for your language needs. To find out more, please contact the team who will be happy to help!


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