Our daily routine starts early and often even before the bustle of buses and pupils have arrived. Early morning can mean the swimming squad practising in the pool or our basketball players in the Sports Hall receiving some extra coaching ready for their latest tournament. For most pupils though, the day starts with their arrival on one of our many school buses. Our bus routes having been all tailor made to meet family needs, with pick-ups direct from every child’s apartment or compound.
With often just a short journey from home, thanks to our centrally located premises, Britannica pupils do not have to spend the hours on a bus that Shanghai students are often expected to manage. Younger pupils are frequently dropped off by mum or ayi, who pop into the classroom to quickly pass on a message to the class teacher or exchange pleasantries at the start of the day. Our family atmosphere encourages this daily parent -teacher interaction at the beginning and end of each day.
Older pupils congregate in the playground prior to the bell at 8.20am, happy to kick a ball around or just chat with friends. A characteristic of Britannica is the healthy and happy relationships that exists between children both within and between their year groups.
Teaching staff greet pupils in the playground and then in well ordered routine pupils line up and then go to their respective Form Rooms for Registration with their Form Teacher. The Form Teacher is the person responsible for the overall pastoral care of all pupils in their registration group and are often the best point of call for parent inquiries about their child. The close nurturing environment at Britannica means that all pupils have the care and support that they need to be effective and happy learners and that good communication between home and school is always maintained.
Lessons start at 8.30am and will vary depending on the year group. Good solid learning often takes place in the first hour or so, when pupils are fresh and alert and pupils will often be seen focusing on the important core subjects of Literacy and Numeracy in these periods.
Break at around 10.00am means a short snack and drink in the canteen, then a chance to go outside with friends for supervised play. If its raining or polluted it does not matter, as there are plenty of areas inside the school to occupy and entertain the pupils; with the Secondary pupils having their own Common Room on the top floor, along with sofas, bean bags, board games and with areas to work if they want to, while the younger pupils have a specially designed large indoor play area.
Further lessons after break are often with the Form Teacher for the younger children or with specialist teaching staff for others, who use their subject knowledge and skills in PE, Music, Art, Drama, Science and ICT to teach the children, from Nursery upwards.
Some children will be involved in individual music instrumental lessons, and these will take place on a rolling timetable on certain days. Others will be receiving extra support to help them speedily develop their English language skills. All Primary pupils will be supported in the classroom with our fully qualified and experienced Teaching Assistants. Pupils with particular needs will be working their way through an individualised teaching programme to help them build up confidence and skills in the areas that they need to then fully access the core curriculum alongside their peers. Recognising though that each child is an individual, class teachers will be largely catering for these individual needs within their lesson planning and as they design and allocate pupils to various class activities, as should be expected in quality British Education.
A staggered lunch period means that year groups take it in turns to use the cafeteria or play outside or in one of the specialist play areas around the school. At all times pupils are monitored and supervised in these less structured times, which are themselves all part of the daily learning experience of the child. These times are important for pupils to practice their newly acquired English skills, or join in with an ad-hoc netball game or develop the social skills that are important as socially interacting humans.
After lunch, a further couple of lessons completes the formal timetable for the day, which then ends at 2.50pm. All pupils from Nursery upwards then look forward to joining one of our many After School Activities. These change termly, providing a huge range of opportunities over the course of the year to extend and broaden the timetabled curriculum, thereby giving all pupils plenty of opportunity to discover and develop new talents and interests or just simply to enhance their overall educational experience.
After a busy, exciting and challenging day, pupils are then ready to catch the bus again at 4.00pm to travel home, taking with them a sensible workload of homework that supports and helps them review the day’s learning, ready for the same challenges and exciting Britannica experience the following day.