In most parts of the world there are organisations which help international schools collaborate and enhance the offer for students. For BIS Abu Dhabi, our main benefits in this area come from being part of Nord Anglia Education and the educational opportunities we can develop from working directly with 42 other schools across the world. In a more local context we are also part of BSME: British Schools in the Middle East.

There are over 100 schools registered as part of BSME, and throughout the year various events are held to help bring these schools together. The most obvious ones are the BSME Games, for which we had the honour of hosting the Under 11 event this year, and there are also collaborations in academics and the arts. There are also a number of strategies for teachers which help develop professional links. Mr Wolfe and Mr Irving are in Bahrain this week at the BSME Annual Conference in order to discuss and put into place the next round of student and teacher connections.

Having briefly outlined the big picture of BSME, we should also focus on the particular event that has been so visible in our school. I know lots of parents will have been very closely involved, but for others I hope you were able to follow via our social media pages which carried some great photos and really conveyed the scale of the event.

During the past week, BIS Abu Dhabi hosted 11 schools from across the region, bringing together over 300 young athletes to compete in football, athletics, netball, basketball and swimming. Adding in coaches, visitors and parent supporters, there were about a thousand people on site every day helping to create a truly memorable experience for these students.

I’d like to highlight a few aspects which helped contribute to making the event so special. A large number of our Secondary students helped out across 3 days in their roles as Sports Ambassadors or as news crew reporters. Our Primary classes each picked one of the visiting schools to support so when those athletes walked out they saw they already had their own fan club; so many people have commented on what a special thing this was! They also commented on how positive it was that a school could hold such a significant event using its own facilities without having to travel to other sports venues. Also a particular mention to our PTA and other parents who did so much by arranging activities, sponsorships and helping to look after the visitors: this was really appreciated and gave a great example of our welcoming, family environment.

Finally, a note about the BIS Abu Dhabi staff and the wonderful commitment and support they provide for everything that we do. Running an event like this required so many members of staff to come in at the weekend and help out, be it to measure a long-jump or care for the cuts, bruises and occasional tears. Under the expert leadership and planning of Mr Johnston and the whole PE team the 3 days ran extremely smoothly. I also know how pleased the staff were with the behaviour and commitment of our own athletes, as recognised by them winning 3 of the 6 Fair Play Awards.

BSME exists to offer wider opportunities for schools and without doubt this is what took place this weekend. It is something for us all to be proud of that our BIS Abu Dhabi community can provide something so memorable, not only for our students and their families, but also for so many other students and families from right across our region.