At the start of this new academic year, The British School in Tokyo (BST) can look back on 12 very successful months.
In September 2014, the school welcomed more students than ever before; at the 2014 British Business Awards in November, hosted in Tokyo by the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, we were honoured to be named Company of the Year; in March, the UK’s Independent Schools Inspectorate rated the school Excellent—the highest grade—in all eight standards; and, in July, the graduating class of 2015 achieved record-breaking A Level results, with graduates going on to win places at some of the world’s most prestigious universities.
It was a very good year but, at BST, we tend not to spend too much time dwelling on past success. It is what happens next that counts. The year ahead promises to be one of similar progress and achievement. Once again, we have more students than ever before, with our pre-university A Level programme and the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum for 14–16 year-olds proving to be particularly attractive to young people of all nationalities.
We are delighted to welcome Brian Platts as our new head of the secondary. With a far-reaching vision for this rapidly growing sector of the school, he is an experienced international educator who has already made it clear that his focus will be on the development of the highest standards of teaching and learning.
While academic excellence is always a priority—and our results are consistently far above the UK national averages—it is also clear that our care for each student as an individual, our focus on character development, and our offer of a rounded education extending well beyond the four walls of the classroom, have all struck a chord with the many parents who share our values. Opportunities to practise teamwork and leadership; to explore and build confidence; as well as to exhibit and perform are every bit as important as exam preparation.
Underpinning all that we do at BST is our simple model of the young learner we aim to nurture here. This template guides us as we seek to encourage in our students the skills and attributes that we believe will help them meet the exciting challenges they will face in what has become a demanding and rapidly changing world beyond school.
There is no doubt that good schools are built on the vision, commitment and talent of good people. Almost without exception, our teachers are recruited from the best schools in the UK or from other highly rated British international schools around the world. We are also distinctive, I think, because we know that finding the right people is crucial to our future—and to that of our students—and thus insist on seeing each one of them teach in their own schools before any appointment is confirmed. Only the best will do.
BST and the community it supports can be proud of the progress of the past 25 years, and of the achievements of the last 12 months. Yet, it is the future that counts: the goals for the next academic year, the journey towards the next milestone anniversary. Perhaps it is this ambition, this rejection of complacency that has resulted in the school’s nomination as British International School of the Year for 2015. Or perhaps it is simply because we have the right people in the right place, all playing in tune with each other. Why not come to see us and judge for yourself?