Communication from the Headteacher - BJAB - British Junior Academy of Brussels

Communication from the Headteacher

Headteacher’s Musings

September’s Value: Aspiration

Aspiration is our new Value with which we have kickstarted the new school year. I spoke about it in our first assembly of the term, talking about the need to make a good start, to set standards and manageable targets for oneself and to do one’s best. Regarding this last point I think it is key for children to realize that they cannot necessarily always ‘be the best’; the key is ‘doing one’s best’ at whichever one level one is. This will naturally mean different challenges and targets for different people – a strong sportsperson should be aiming to perform well in a strong team at a high level. For a less talented person at sport, it may mean learning a new skill in a sport. We went on to consider the life and achievements of Professor Stephen Hawking, looking at what we can learn from his ability to make the most of life, to set one’s sights high and to cope with the inevitable challenges and difficulties we encounter along the way. 

In class teachers have naturally dug further into the topic, eliciting many fabulous conversations with the pupils, which have in turn led to some amazing work at all levels. Aspirations expressed by Year Ones, for example, included the wish to become a mathematician, a politician and an environmentalist, as well as the memorable – ‘I’m not going to get older, I’m going to stay 5 forever!’ 

What has been lovely in conversations with staff, both returning and new, and with an increasing number of pupils and parents have been our own aspirations as a school, both over the coming months and of course further into the future – not least our growth into Year 9 next year and beyond. The prospect of having our first Upper Sixth leavers in July, 2028 is really exciting – a true aspiration for us all! Our aim – ‘Education for Life’ – will become ever more relevant for the BJAB community, in my view. We look forward to discussing our shared aspirations for BJAB 13+ over the coming months with you all.  

– Mr Retter

News from BJAB

 I was most impressed with the pupils and staff at BJAB when I visited in February. The family-like atmosphere and sense of purpose struck me immediately. I am very excited at the prospect of following in Mrs White’s footsteps and developing a senior section to add to what is a hugely successful, lovely school. I look forward to meeting you all in the coming months.

Mr Francis Retter


BJAB announces the appointment of a new Headteacher

BJAB is proud to announce that Mr Francis Retter has been appointed as Headteacher of BJAB from September 2022.  

The recruitment process was extensive and the school was fortunate in being able to select from a field of extremely high calibre applicants. Mr Retter impressed the panel with his educational experience, his passion for languages and his immediate empathy with BJAB’s ethos. His own academic record includes a prize winning dissertation for his Masters Degree from the University of Cambridge on the highly relevant topic of the transition from the primary to secondary phase of education. 

Mr Retter taught languages at Gresham’s school in Norfolk, UK for 20 years, serving as a Housemaster for one of the boarding houses before promotion to become the school’s Assistant Head in charge of its external relations. Mr Retter is currently joint Head of Klosterschule Roßleben in Germany where he has particular responsibility for the boarding pupils. In addition to his extensive background in the UK’s National Curriculum, Mr Retter is fully trained in the International Baccalauriate (IB) syllabus and is a qualified IB Examiner. In the wider school curriculum, Mr Retter has coached many school sports, is keen on watersports and has lead the Duke of Edinburgh programmes for all ages of pupils.  

With this appointment, we are confident that BJAB, and all it stands for, will go from strength to strength and will continue to be a leading international school in Europe. 

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