Meet Wayne Butterworth, Dean of Student Activities and Athletics Director at BASIS Bilingual School Shenzhen. Wayne began his teaching career in England before relocating to the Middle East, and later to China. At BASIS, he is developing an inclusive and vibrant enrichment program that promotes intellectual, physical, and personal growth for students from early childhood through high school. Wayne manages 20 athletic teams, including nine competing in the local international school league, and oversees 90 after-school clubs ranging from Model UN to game design to baking.  

What made you decide to pursue a career in education? 

As a student taking GCSE and A-level physical education, I was lucky to be taught by a dream team of physical education teachers who I looked up to. In a very rough part of West Yorkshire, these teachers went above and beyond for us, something I’ll never forget and the reason I wanted to pursue a career in education. 

What influenced you to teach in China?  

I worked in England for just short of a decade before getting married and deciding to move to the Middle East with my wife, who is also a teacher. We spent four years living in Qatar and Saudi Arabia before moving to Beijing after hearing it was a great place to live and work.   

What kind of support did BASIS provide to help with your relocation overseas and adaptation to BASIS culture and operations?  

My wife and I are forever grateful to BASIS for helping us move from Beijing to Shenzhen, including support with a road trip for our cat, Bonny. From deciding to join BASIS to landing in Shenzhen, communication with the school was outstanding. There was always someone available to talk to, and they always answered all of our questions — a great support package.  

How has BASIS supported your professional growth and development? 

BASIS has supported me with many internal and external professional development (PD) opportunities and encouraged me to lead sessions myself. Some of the internal PD experiences I participated in include assessment for learning, supportive assignment creation for ELL, and classroom behavior management. I’ve also taken external PD through TES EduCare and have personally led PD at my school, including a session on implementing the concepts of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).  

How do you pursue your interests and passions beyond the classroom? 

I currently coach the middle school girls’ netball team and support the middle school boys’ cricket outfit. Until recently, I was a football referee outside of school, and now I like to keep fit with road running. 

When you came to China, what was pleasantly surprising? 

I was pleased to find Houses of Parliament Sauce (HP sauce) and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies from England and Caykur Tea and Ekrem Coskun Doner Kebab from Türkiye. Taobao, an online shopping platform in China, is a real find. 

What advice would you give to teachers who are considering a position at an overseas school? 

I would say don’t hesitate to give international teaching a go. From my own experience, I felt in good stead after spending nine years teaching at a school in England, learning the trade in my own backyard before moving overseas. 

Wayne Butterworth
Dean of Student Activities, Athletics Director
BASIS Bilingual School Shenzhen

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