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Where we are on our journey

In the hands of the best teachers pupils can both enjoy themselves and work hard.

——Robert Holroyd


How time flies!We said goodbye to 2017, and here is a brand new year in front of us.


The Year 2017 meant a lot to myself. For the past few years, I wrote up New Year’s notes to Repton School community. That is the cultural context that I am familiar with, for that is where I am from. Back then I had never thought someday I would come to this ancient oriental country, live and work in Ningbo, a city with a long history but looks modern in its shape.


In 35 years of teaching I have never come across such a delightful, supportive and friendly group of young people as those it has been my pleasure to work with over these past four months here in Ningbo. Congratulations on all you are doing as parents!


This warmth has come through too in the way your children have looked after one another this term: they have consistently shown good judgement and a maturity which is both a credit to them and the mark of a strengthening school.


At the beginning of term I asked the pupils to show concern for one another, creativity and steel in all they did. This creativity has come through in so many areas: in the pupils’ games, their music, their art, the boarding programme and in the broader range of extra curricular activities that make up a School such as ours. In all these aspects of school life both our pupils and their dedicated teachers deserve warm praise for their superb efforts this term.


HD Ningbo will have first graduates in the end of Academic Year 2017, it is truly a milestone of the history of HD schools. I am pleased to be able to report that our Year 12 pupils have already begin to receive offers to study at some of the finest international universities, including University College, London, King’s College, London, Durham, Edinburgh, Warwick and Melbourne. This is a testimony to their own hard work and the planning of Ms Tilly Zou, our own University Counsellor. Elsewhere Ms Flynn and Ms Yu, have, with the support of our Chinese Headmaster Mr Li Qingming and wider colleagues, introduced a range of measures to instil a greater sense of purpose and coordination in the School’s academic life. We are already beginning to see strong improvements in these areas.


Year 12 pupils have made a good model for younger students. The model reveals that any pupil should make every effort to make their dream come true. The level of competition for university places at the top institutions is intense, pupils must be aware of this. Therefore the more senior they become the more effort they should make towards academic rigor. As Ms Flynn and Ms Yu will work harder to get the foundations right in the second semester. Teachers will from now on be observing a Teaching and Learning and Homework Policy that will ensure that pupils are stretched and that regular data is fed into our assessment system.


Primary schoolers of HD start their journey in bilingual education at a lot earlier age than current secondary students. I was so impressed when I learned about the results of ISA that primary students participated in earlier 2017. HD pupils’ mathematics testing score was ranked top among all the schools tested, which is a testimony of the Chinese mathematics program worldwide. In the English proficiency assessment, the results of the English reading and writing tests demonstrated that HD pupils’ language skills are comparable with  much more established international schools who have a greater English speaking student cohorts. These remarkable achievements only took primary students less than three years. Without any doubt these pupils will keep up with the good work and be a valuable addition to secondary school eventually.


I always request all the pupils must:

1.Present themselves for lessons in a tidy, ordered and punctual fashion.

2.Respond conscientiously and with self-discipline in lessons.

3.Note down fully all homework assignments.

4.Complete all homework fully (in many cases in much greater detail and with much more imagination than is currently the norm) and on time.


A parent asked me recently about the balance between fun and rigour in lessons here at HD Ningbo School. My answer was simple: in the hands of the best teachers pupils can both enjoy themselves and work hard. The two are not mutually exclusive – on the contrary, they go together. As command of the detail increases so does self-confidence and therefore the capacity to derive enjoyment from academic work.


It is my job to ensure that I appoint the highest quality staff to work alongside the very best we have here at HD Ningbo to ensure your children’s future.


It is your children’s job to ask more demanding questions of themselves in the classroom and in their homework.


The support of parents along this road is key. However, we should all note that it is not an instant process, but an incremental journey on which step by step we will grow stronger together.


I wish you and all your family a refreshing and restorative winter break and trust that your sons and daughters will return ready for all the challenges and opportunities that 2018 will bring.


Yours sincerely,

Robert Holroyd

Robert Holroyd

Chief Academic Director of HD Schools


Robert Holroyd is a graduate of Oxford University and an internationalist with over 25 years' management experience in schools in the UK and abroad. Prior to joining the Elite K12 Education Group, Robert was Headmaster of Repton School, UK, and during his thirteen-year tenure of this post was privileged to internationalize the Repton brand in multiple locations across the world in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jordan and India.