A Busy Day at The Gold Apple School

Another busy day!

 Up at 6 for a 7 am breakfast and then out to the field for the flag raising ceremony. This is a gathering of the whole school at the start of the week, it is a solemn occasion as the flags are raised and the national anthems sung. We were guests of honour and God Save the Queen rang out as the Union flag was raised.  We were warmly welcomed by the new Principle of the School – Mr Zhou. I spoke to the gathered students to thank them and the school for how welcome they had made us feel, and how we were so proud of the partnership that is now in its 8th year with our 5th student exchange.

As the students marched from the field, we headed to lessons.  We saw a range of classes, all were in the newly built international centre, where the Cambridge International curriculum is delivered from KS3  through to IGCSE and A level. Jack Hunt played a significant role in helping the Gold Apple school to set up this curriculum, and it is the only school in Shanghai that offers this model right through  KS 3, 4 and 5. The lessons that students saw were all delivered in English and students will be planning to attend universities across the world, a good number each year head to the UK. English, Economics and PE lessons were seen. Lessons are short, 40 minutes each and unlike the UK the students stay in their class base and the teachers come to them. There is a very high level of motivation and work ethic, the level of English was very impressive.  The Chinese students are keen to develop and practise their conversational English and it was great to see that as soon as the Jack Hunt Students threw themselves into this and were soon chatting away with students. Despite recovering from his ruptured Achilles, Mr Smith could not resist the lure of the badminton court!

We have met lots of students who have been  to Jack Hunt and they are excitedly talking about the time they spent with us and their plans now, going to university and further study.

 Mrs Taylor had the chance to observe some primary school English lessons today,a great opportunity to see how the younger students are developing their English, through some traditional methods, call repeat etc. Mrs Taylor teaches at Thorpe school, and it is great that for the third year running we have been able to have a member of staff from Thorpe School join us on the trip.



Lunch was early, and rather colossal! Traditional Chinese school fate, with some chips placed on top to make us feel at home! Then the afternoon was spent planning for the English teaching and Sports festival. This was the first opportunity for students to work with Chinese student leaders and also get to know some of the students that they will be going on homestay with. This was led by Mr Smith. Mrs Taylor and I met with representatives from the 7 Shanghai schools that are joining our new project. We have received funding from the British Council  to develop this partnership, I led an initial training session on student assessment, as this is a key focus of the project.

 Students had time for a brief relax and then we were taken out to a dinner at a restaurant to welcome us to Shanghai. We were expecting it to be in one of the many local eateries around the school, and were quite amazed to pull up outside the 5* Crown Plaza on Century Avenue, the school minibus looked a little out of place between the Maserati’s, Mercedes and BMW’s but we managed to fit in as we were shown to a private dining room. We were joined at the meal by the principal of the school and the Board Lady. She is the equivalent of the Chair of Governors at the school, and is the wife of the owner of Ha Long Group, the company that, amongst other things, owns the school. It was certainly the most impressive Chinese meal we have eaten as dish after dish was placed on the spinning table. The student were  impeccable and there were a few of us who had to finish the meal with a rennie!

We left the hotel and returned to school for a chance to relax and then the students headed to bed. They are all tired as we have had busy days, but sleeping well, all slept through last night so jet leg is not an issue (for them at least!)

This evening Eileen Shang visited us, she has been central to the success and the growth of this programme, but has recently left the school to work at another international school in the city. It was great to see her and she is going to try and join us on our trip to Nanjing.

Tomorrow we are going to Pu Xing school, we will have pottery lessons and also be teaching dodgeball, putting into practise all our student leadership skills.

A few photols attached again for you, and a chance to play ‘spot what’s on the dish’ – a bag of chicken feet for the winner!

Best wishes

Martin Barwise