Whilst most pupils and staff at Bethany enjoyed the two week half term break, I had the joy and privilege of spending it in East Asia.
On Friday 13th October I flew from Heathrow to Guangzhou in China and spent five days there. During this time I met some Chinese educational agents, attended a British Council Fair, where I extolled the virtues of a Bethany education. I travelled on their tube system and as well as the intercity rail network and met some existing Bethany parents. The railway stations in China are massive!
My visit coincided with the Annual Canton Trade Fair, which apparently is the biggest trade fair in the world. It has the largest assortment of products, the largest attendance and the largest number of business deals made at the fair. Every person I met who was not connected with education assumed I was there to see some manufacturing produce! It was interesting to note that the taxi drivers in Guangzhou only use their fare meters during the day time and night time fares are extortionate, particularly if you look European. The normal procedure is to barter, with the final price being roughly half of the original one!
I then travelled by train to Hong Kong. I stayed there for seven days and my wife Frances joined me there. Once again, I had a great time and I was treated well by everyone I met. I was delighted to meet so many Hong Kong parents as well as a good range of Hong Kong educational agents.
The last leg of the overseas venture was a two-day visit to Cambodia. Once again, we were treated like royalty, this time by the Ing family, parents of Seav Chhuon in Year 13. Mr and Mrs Ing could not have been more generous with their welcome and provided us with a car, a driver and a personal assistant for the duration of our stay. I got a glimpse of how the other half lives and must admit to quite enjoying it!
We returned to the UK on Saturday 28th October tired but exhilarated in equal measure. Before we knew it Frances and I were both back at work on Monday morning and our travel soon became a distant memory.
I would like to thank everyone we met on the trip for being such wonderful, kind and generous people. It is always humbling to hear the unbounded gratitude all of our overseas parents have for the superb care and attention we give to their children.