The Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) is the voice of boarding schools globally. BSA is the major representative body of boarding schools. Founded in 1966 in London, UK, it now has nearly 600 member schools in 35 countries worldwide. It was quite an honor that WASCZ has been shortlisted for the Boarding Schools’ Association Awards 2022 in the category ‘Best International School’. As the only one nominated international school within China, we will definitely turn the heat up even more and keep up the good work. This has been the most unusual of years and one which has tested our resources, resilience, and responsibility towards the welfare of boarders within our schools. In ‘peacetime’, WASCZ is no ordinary school. With 12 boarding Houses, 5000 meals served each day, 7-day weeks, uninterrupted 12-week terms, and activities extending on land, water, air, and internet, we certainly deliver the full boarding model. We quickly established strong positive boarding routines, friendly competitions, House identities and loyalty, student leadership, mentoring, tutorials, and the special events that are the hallmark of the best boarding schools. We have earned a reputation for delivering outstanding pastoral care, leading the way in exemplifying the standards and expectations of outstanding boarding schools; Where everything foreign is new, and providing opportunities both within school and the wider community that allow students to develop a spirit of service, volunteering and contribution to the lives and wellbeing of others. This has been achieved by the selfless dedication of staff, most of whom have now, because of the global pandemic, been away from their own families and friends for over two years. They have risen to every challenge and been resolute in their dedication to building trusting relationships and supporting the health and vitality of the children in their care. A truly outstanding school is one which responds in the face of adversity by demonstrating the strength of their community. At WASCZ, with a hint of ‘lockdown’ approaching, staff volunteered to be ‘trapped’ on campus, to share small study rooms with three other unrelated adults and experienced the restrictions on movement and freedom alongside the 600 boarders, to provide them with a greater variety of activities and prioritise their welfare. Nurses, cooks, cleaners, teachers, and administrators volunteered to exchange their personal space and freedom to support the school community.
The spirit of volunteering is entrenched in the values of WASCZ and the greatest of our stated aims is ‘community’. It is the outward, unforced response in adversity that shows the principles of excellent pastoral care and student wellbeing are truly embedded in school culture.
I commend the staff and students of WASCZ to you for this award and hope that they will be able to see their own families in 2022.