BIEA Early Years Chair’s visit to Xi'an

Chris Waterman, BIEA’s Early Years Chair, and his team accompanied by Jie Bai, General Manager of BIEA China and Yang Feng, BIEA Marketing Director China visited all the representative children’s nurseries in Xi’an on the 25th of February. There  they held meetings with the various directors and experts regarding the policy and development of early years education in the UK and China. They did  the same at the nurseries in Shaanxi Province.

On the morning of 26th February Chris and his team went to Xi'an Jiaotong University Sunshine Nursery. It is a provincial demonstration nursery in Xi'an. The director Xiaorong Gao warmly welcomed the team. They toured the nursery whilst Xiaorong explained the nursery’s philosophy and gave a brief history of its development. The team visited the classrooms and observed the children playing games. At the end of the tour, Xiaorong gave Chris a Chinese painting created by the children. Chris then presented the children with a collection of poetry dedicated to The Jiatong Sunshine Nursery.

Later the team visited the Xi'an High-tech International Nursery, which is a nursery of the China Montessori Association and the Women's Department of the Women's Federation of Shaanxi Province. The director of the nursery, Lan Zhang, showed them its indoor and outdoor environments. Lan also emphasised the importance of the school-parent education to the children to the team.

Then Chris and the team went to the Jidong Liao Nursery, which it is a high-end early years education international brand created by the Beijing Zhongyou Sunshine Education Group. The Chairman of the group Zhidong Jiao and Director Xia Huo invited the team to observe children having activities and to interacted with the them. Knowing the interest Chris has in Chinese culture Zhidong wrote the word "Fu" to him with a Chinese brush,  the word means “blessings” in English.

Chris and related experts, investors, early years teachers and directors in Shaanxi Province held a forum to discuss the policy and development of early years education in the UK and China. The meeting was hosted by Zhidong Jiao, Chairman of the China Youth Education Group. The Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary General of the Shaanxi Provincial Private Nursery Alliance, Mr. Kunshan Luo and Mr. Yunqi Jing also attended the forum.

Chris explained the establishment of BIEA and its abundant British educational resources to all the early years education experts and teachers in Shaanxi Province. At the same time they discussed  the policy and development direction of the early years education in the UK. The audience discussed the new policy of local education in China and learned from Chris how early years education in the UK responded to any policy requirement and adapted to it.

The forum focused on two areas, teacher development and featured courses. Kunshan conducted a detailed analysis of the current policy in China, and gave a brief explanation of the future developmental direction of the private nurseries as well as the current situation and problems they are facing. He concluded that there needs to be a steady development and an improvement in overall quality.

Chris also outlined the proportion of the UK's investment in education that goes to the early years sector. The UK invested more in early years education than in any other stage. It is not easy to start a nursery in the UK. The requirements are extremely strict. Chris believes that the combination of advanced educational concepts and excellent teachers can provide better help for children's growth. This is one of the important reasons why BIEA introduced the CPD training programme for early years teachers overseas. Chris also shared his thoughts after visiting a number of nurseries in China. He proposed two major differences between British and Chinese nurseries: Firstly, The size of the UK ones is generally smaller whereas Chinese ones have a size of 300 to 400 students; Secondly, Chinese nurseries are very clean and orderly whilst British ones are more disorderly, which Chris believes represents the traits of freedom, creativity and energy. In addition, he felt that Chinese nurseries had a bit of “over-investment”. Much wealth is spent on construction and equipment, but pay for teachers is low. In his view, children do not need such luxury facilities, and a good teacher, no matter in what circumstances, can have more benefit to a child. The forum was thought provoking and provided those present a platform to exchange educational ideas between the UK and China and on how to enable further international teaching in Chinese state nurseries.


BIEA Early Years Chairman visited Henan University

Chris Waterman, Early Years Chairman of the British International Education Association (BIEA) accompanied by Yang Feng (BIEA marketing director) and Qifeng Wu (BIEA advisor) visited Henan University on the 24th of February 2019. They were welcomed by Hengbing Wang (Secretary and chair of Henan University Asset Management), Lei Zhang it’s General Manager, Shangcheng Zhou (General Manager Henan University Industrial) and Jianhua Ge (Director Henan University Asset Committee). They then held in-depth talks on future co-operation between their respective offices in the UK and China.

The meeting was chaired by Hengbing. Chis outlined the background to the establishment of BIEA. He spoke of the strong support from the UK Department of International Trade (DIT) and British Council for BIEA’s mission to promote British education internationally. Chris outlined that currently BIEA resources are concentrated on the up to eighteen year old educational needs comprising of Early Years Foundation System (EYFS) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. He also explained that BIEA holds a STEM conference and international Youth Innovation Competition, open to students from around the world, every year.

Hengbing briefly outlined the history and academic background of Henan University. He spoke of the University’s emphasis on pre-school education and the University’s influence on education in general in Henan Province and in China as a whole. Hengbing said that the preparatory school for entrance to the University had a strong emphasis on European and American studies which was a good foundation for future co-operation between the UK and China. He also spoke of the Henan University Asset Management Co. Ltd and its promotion of education and research as a result of it’s scientific and technological achievements. Henan University is expected to be the pilot university in China, in partnership with BIEA, to lead a nationwide international teacher training programme. Hengbing then explained the concept of the “1+X” model (one academic certificate + “x” professional certificate) that has been outlined in the latest work of the Ministry of Education for 2019. He then said that this was in line with the BIEA concept of Continual Professional Development (CPD) vocational training.

Yang then explained the BIEA CPD training programme and led a discussion of it’s training content, it’s duration, value and quality. Lei then had a general discussion with Chris and the rest of the team on BIEA’s training system and future development direction.

At the conclusion of the meeting it was agreed to set up working groups on both sides to facilitate further co-operation. Chris said that BEIA was very happy and keen to promote international education in China in partnership with Henan University.

After the meeting Hengbing invited Chris and the BIEA team to tour the University, see some of its cultural treasures and get a brief history of its development. Hengbing also shared some of his experiences of life as a student when he studied at Henan University.

Early Years Chairman of BIEA attended the opening ceremony of Shanghai ABNER International School in China

On February 23rd, Chris Waterman, Early Years Chairman of the British International Education Association (BIEA) was invited by Shanghai ABNER International School to its official opening ceremony.

Shanghai ABNER International School is an international school established by the British Thames Education Group. It will deliver a British curriculum with a key focus on developing' well-rounded individuals'. The school name ABNER hope to provide inspiration for the students and teachers:

A stands for “Academic”, which refers to a strong academic team;
B stands for “Brave”, which refers to cultivating the brave quality of students;
N stands for “Noble”, which means that students have noble character;
E stands for “Excellent”, which refers to outstanding teachers and students;
R stands for “Responsible”, that is, being responsible is a pre-requisite for teachers and students.

Mr Liu Gang, the executive president of ABNER International School, shared the school's vision and future plans with the guests at the event. Chris who has over 40 years of education expertise delivered a keynote speech on “How to quickly adapt to the British education culture”.

As a staunch supporter of quality education to enable each and every individual to fulfil their potential, Chris believes that students hold the future in their hands. By sharing his life experiences Chris teaches students how to adapt to the British education culture more quickly, and he hopes that his experiences will bring enlightenment to the students at Shanghai ABNER. In his speech, Chris also said that he hopes that international educational exchanges can break down the barriers between individuals, countries and cultures.

At the end of his speech, Chris took to the stage with Mr Liu and the school's president Jiang Yujie to cut the ribbon for the opening ceremony of Shanghai ABNER International School.

In recent years, the international school sector has seen exponential growth, the number of international schools in China, UAE, Singapore have been growing at double digits. The sector also faces increasing challenges in terms of finding experienced teaching staff and maintaining high standards in the quality of provision.

BIEA is a non-profit educational institution that is committed to integrating UK education resources and setting up a dedicated team to transform services to meet the needs of British education in the overseas education market. It will also adhere to the philosophy of “Bringing the best education to children”, “Bringing the best choices to parents” and “Bringing the best support to teachers”, by providing diverse British international educational programmes that serve the overseas international education market.

The future of the world belongs to young people

At the first STEM Conference of the British International Education Association (BIEA), Dr. Alex Holmes, the designer of the BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition and Head of STEM, gave a presentation entitled: “The Future is Theirs”. She raised some very thought-provoking questions on how we might stimulate and cultivate STEM enthusiasm among young people.

Alex pointed out that one of the potentially serious problems for the future of STEM professions is the aging of current STEM professionals; this along with declining numbers of young entrants means that potential numbers are not enough to meet needs of future markets; therefore, society needs to cultivate students' passion in STEM subjects. A further issue however is that for many students, the focus on theory and academic achievement in STEM subjects, and a perceived view that STEM subjects are ‘difficult’ or ‘elite’ subjects is also leading to a further decrease in numbers of students taking the subjects.

Taking these issues into account, it makes sense that educational institutions and organizations work together towards breaking down stereotypes of STEM subjects and stimulate an enthusiasm and passion, which might lead to an increase in uptake. Giving students the opportunity to think critically, consider novel solutions to problems, and accept new challenges are good ways to inspire young people's STEM enthusiasm. Alex has pointed out that these form the fundamental rationale of the BIEA 2019 International STEM Youth Innovation Competition.

The 2019 BIEA STEM Competition invites young people (between 9 to 17 years old) from all over the world to form teams and work together to conceptualize how drone technology could be used to save endangered animals. The competition combines the application of STEM skills to help deepen innovative thinking in young people, whilst cultivating their ethical and environment outlook toward our planet. The entire competition process not only encourages young people to think about STEM and related careers, but also develops their transferable skills: problem-solving, communication and team-working. These capabilities are considered essential skills for positively engaging with the industrial, academic and employment market as the young people progress from school.


Help create a future we want to visit

How can technology innovations help protect animals? In the past century alone, over 90 known species of animal have become extinct and the numbers rise every day that passes. The numbers of animal species in the wild are now only half of what they were 30 years ago and many species are now highly endangered. This collapse of fragile ecosystems is now one of the top ten threats facing humanity.

We know that the advancement of science and technology can improve the quality of life for humans, but technological innovation can also play an critical role in protecting the environment. This was the focus of the 2019 BIEA STEM Conference and is the rationale behind our 2019 International STEM Youth Innovation Competition.

How can technological innovation work towards protecting animals? We had the pleasure of listening to Joshua Veitch- Sharing, Researcher in the Liverpool John Moore University at our conference. In his presentation 'Astro-ecology: astrophysics meets conservation biology' he explained how the current crisis of wild animal populations comes not only from the deterioration of their natural environments, but also the malicious hunting done by people. He pointed out that although important work is done by anti-poaching rangers, there are limits to what a few people in the field can achieve. Joshua explained how using drones can assist people in the battle against poachers.

Drones can be used for identification of animal species and give meaningful insights into their population numbers and movements, especially using the high-altitude, infrared imaging function which provides data for counting animals both during the day and at night. He also described how the impressive infrared sensors on a drone can help anti-poaching rangers by detecting and pinpointing the position of hunters at night, allowing the rangers to .target their resources to the appropriate areas.

Joshua's work gave us insight of how the diverse use of drones can support the work of animal protection officers and researchers. With the launch of our 2019 International STEM Youth Innovation Competition, 'Fighting Extinction via Drone Technology,' young people from all over the world now also have the chance to design and develop their own creative ideas for using drones to help protect endangered animals. Register now at and spread the word!

BIEA E-League second EYFS training will begin in Shanghai

Following the successful completion of the first BIEA E-League EYFS training in Shenzhen, the second EYFS training is currently in full preparation, which is expected to be held on 24 - 27 March 2019 in Shanghai. The theme is “EYFS Teaching, Principles into Practice”, and it is tailored around solving the practical difficulties teachers may face when applying the EYFS Framework. It will help teachers to understand the principles of the EYFS and how they can practically apply these on a day to day basis in their nursery.

There will be a 3-day compulsory course plus a 1-day elective course. The compulsory courses are focused on the EYFS observation, assessment and planning cycle. The elective courses cover two of the Prime areas of Learning and development with in the EYFS Framework, CLD (communication and language, development) and PD (physical development). Participants in this training will learn how to observe children and how to use observational assessments to inform planning for children’s learning. There will also be the opportunity to explore a range of systems to collect and record observations and assessment data with many examples provided. Participants will be provided with a set of EYFS practice guidance manuals to support them implement the practical elements in their nursery.

The training instructor is Sharron Fogarty, Head of E-League of BIEA, who is an EYFS expert with vast experience working at senior level both in the UK and oversea. She is a former UK early years Ofsted inspector and has recently been responsible for introducing the first unified early childhood inspection framework in the United Arab Emirates. Sharron brings a wealth of practical knowledge to the training, having worked as an EYFS teacher, Manager and Principle. She is responsible for the content and training materials and there will be many examples linked to British nurseries.

Since the launch in September 2019, E-League that aims to provide professional EYFS training has gained huge support from early years education practitioners’ in China. In the first phase, BIEA E-League brought the underlying knowledge of the UK EYFS education system to the teachers. The second phase of the EYFS course training will be around EYFS implementation.