FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 100 - Epsom College in Malaysia

SOPs for Covid-19

Please follow this link for the College Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) for Covid-19 as well as related Q & A information.
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FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 100

Headmaster’s Review

In the last Friday Flyer I noted the optimistic medical developments occurring in the battle against Covid-19 and, in this atmosphere of positivity, we hope that the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) will be shortly eased by the respective authorities. This would be most welcome news and would allow Epsom, and other international schools, to return for Term 2 in early January 2021, on the published date. I will, of course, formalise this point in writing to all our parents in due course.

Furthermore, I must praise the College community for their efforts to retain a sense of festive cheer, even in these challenging times. The Secret Santa extravaganza, expertly marshalled by Ms Townsend, is to be fully commended and we also hope to bring a touch of light-hearted Christmas spirit to the final week of Term 1, with the Christmas lunch on the last day and also an online rendition of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ as the final act of an online Term on Friday 11th December. We all hope, of course, that there will be a full resumption in one year’s time of all the customary fare traditionally involved at this juncture of the year; certainly, recent scientific and medical pronouncements would appear to indicate that we have reached a pivotal turning point in the travails against the virus.

A distinct feature of this Term 1 has been the overriding sense of all the community, pupils/parents and colleagues, striving to maintain the concept of ‘business as usual’. Despite the return to fully online lessons after half-term, and the challenges posed by the continued protracted border controls of the RMCO, the collective endeavours to switch all pursuits online has been most impressive. This has been illustrated throughout all the key drivers of the school, permeating the academic, pastoral and total curriculum arenas, and it is a great credit to all involved. Even with the overt challenges faced by us all in recent weeks, there is much to commend and be proud of. I look forward to touching upon some of these features in school life in the final Assembly of Term 1 and my end of Term newsletter.

I would like to end by thanking you all for your support in these turbulent times and to wish you a wonderful festive break.

Here’s to a better year ahead in 2021!

 

With very best wishes,
Dr Murray Tod
Headmaster


Farewell 2020

I’m sure we will all be looking forward to seeing out 2020 and hoping that 2021 will see some form of normality returning. It has been a truly different and challenging year in many ways. However, we can’t and shouldn’t write it off as there have been lots of successes and the students across the College, and definitely in Granville, haven’t stopped or allowed it to prevent their progress.

With the move to whole school online learning new phrases like ‘physical distancing’ have quickly been replaced with ‘cameras on, mics off’, ‘Sir, you’re muted’ etc. These lessons have, on the whole, been well attended and the boys have been supporting each other with the challenge of increased screen time and a more sedentary lifestyle based around one’s desk without the natural movements around College. The natural breaks and movements around College between lessons will be really appreciated when we return to physical schooling. Looking after oneself has become really important and we have been encouraging all to keep active, reduce non-essential screen time and stay connected with friends.

We recently had a Movember assembly to raise awareness for Men’s health. The boys learned about being ‘Man enough to look after yourself’. However, this isn’t in the stereotypical way of going it alone, but by taking care of yourself, seeking help early and using our support networks of family and friends. Mr Hose, Mr De Wet and myself put down the razors and grew a moustache or beard for the month. The screen shot shows awareness is still needed, many thought it was just about general health and were less aware of mental health and staying physically active. In the current circumstances this has all become more important and we need to be consciously aware of signs and to look out for each other.

For Year 11 and Year 13 their attention is turning towards the mock exams or full modular exams. This will give the boys a real focus for the break as they should be in full preparation mode. With tutors they will be focusing on how best to prepare and manage time effectively over the break and the run up to the exams.

As the last week wraps up, we will still organise a House event to round off the year. Unfortunately we won’t have the usual Christmas concert and whole school Christmas.

All of us at Granville wish everyone a safe and happy break and we look forward to the New Year.

 

Mr John Foden
Housemaster of Granville House


Is It Not Just Propert House

It is that time of the Year where Mariah Carey is one of the happiest beings on the planet. It is the time that “All I want for Christmas” starts to get some serious play time. As I put my finger to the keyboard (the story of 2020) she had 730,542,808 million plays on Spotify alone and over 600 million views on YouTube. Her career earnings in royalties top 60 million dollars. This is quite an achievement and I do believe I have touched on this in previous years for this article. However, as 2020 has been so unique I will repeat myself and, using the lyrics for a guide, this is what Propert want for Christmas.

We don’t want a lot for Christmas
There are a few things we need
We don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

All Propert want for Christmas is the opportunity to be with our friends in person. 2020 has certainly taught us that the simple pleasure of actually being with peers still has value. As such we have been diligently building away in the garden to create a social space for 2021.

We don’t want a lot for Christmas
There are a few things we need
We don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

All Propert want for Christmas is the opportunity to run around as we now realise that we took this for granted and that was one of our great joys in life. Having won House Badminton and the ParkRun we look forward to defending our title in 2021.

We don’t want a lot for Christmas
There are a few things we need
We don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

All Propert want for Christmas is a chance to stay in the classroom. Some boys never thought they would say this, but they miss being in class with their teachers and peers. Whilst online learning has been as good as it can be we hope for some normality in 2021.

 

Mr Ian Squires
Housemaster of Propert House


Crawfurd Kindness

I am incredibly proud of the resilience that Crawfurd students have shown during this challenging term and their outstanding kindness is a mark of just what I believe it should mean to be a Crawfurd Girl. Throughout the period of online learning, the girls have continued to reach out to one another with kindness and as part of their self-designed CCA activities, some of them have done acts of kindness for parents, relatives, siblings and their wider communities. I have been really impressed by their inventiveness with their choices for activities to get them up and moving after lessons and their careful consideration of trying to embrace balance through the Round Square IDEALS (Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service). Here are some examples of the activities they have been participating in:

The small number of international students who have needed to remain in the Boarding House, and access online lessons from the House, have exercised a particular level of kindness towards each other as they have had to act as a family unit. Together they have decorated the House for Diwali and then again for Christmas and have spent many hours completing jigsaws, going for walks and generally keeping each other company.

In particular, they created a beautiful message for our House matron, Miss Carol, on Thanksgiving because they know she is missing her daughter in the US very much. Their beautiful messages brought tears to our eyes.

At a time when many are struggling, it is with great pride that I can celebrate the thoughtful responses of our young ladies and I know these values will take them far in their lives.

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
Emily Dickinson

 

Ms Sophie Hill
Housemistress of Crawfurd House


Rosebery Festive Fun

As we approach the end of Term 1 it is safe to say we have, yet again, been on another rollercoaster of events with blended learning being the new norm. I have to say that staff, as well as students, are starting to perfect this form of learning. The Rosebery girls are no exception to this, in fact, I am so proud of how the girls have supported one another and how they have impressed their teachers with the work they have been producing. Year 11 and Year 13 will know all too well of the importance of making the most of learning whether it be face to face or online as they approach their Mock examinations in January. For many of the girls, Mocks are a time to shine and really show how hard they have been working over the past year and a half in their respective courses. For others, it is a stressful experience and it fills them with dread and anxiety; my advice is to relax and try to enjoy the experience. Mocks are all about mentally and physically preparing students for the final examinations and so it is important to make the most of it. Use the holidays as a time to reflect, revise but, most importantly, recover from a very long and stressful term. I have every faith the girls will do just fine.

Elsewhere in the House, Roseberians have been planning for the festive season. We would usually have had a creative session in the Art Room to hand make something to contribute to the Christmas tree, gone into KLCC to do our Christmas shopping and see all the lights and decorations. However, it just was not meant to be this year. Instead, the girls have been busy making some Christmas Festive Cheer videos in their form groups to show everyone in the last week of Term and we have a ‘CrawBery’ advent calendar activity organised to start on the 3rd to the 11th December. Rosebery Year 13s will also host an online Festive House Quiz followed by the much anticipated Rosebery Annual Awards ceremony. So, even though we cannot be together in person, we are ensuring old traditions are still kept alive virtually. While we have not been able to decorate our Rosebery tree this year, I have included one from last year.

 

I wish you all a wonderful holiday together and look forward to hopefully seeing you in person in January.

 

Ms Jenny Mitchell
Housemistress of Rosebery House


A Poem for 2020

T’was a month before Christmas,
And all through the town,
People wore masks,
That covered their frown.

The frown had begun
Way back in the Spring,
When a global pandemic
Changed everything.

Contagious and deadly,
This virus spread fast,
Like a wildfire that starts
When fueled by gas.

Airplanes were grounded,
Travel was banned.
Borders were closed
Across air, sea and land.

As the world entered lockdown
To flatten the curve,
The economy halted,
And folks lost their verve.

From March to July
We rode the first wave,
People stayed home,
They tried to behave.

When summer emerged
The lockdown was lifted.
But away from caution,
Many folks drifted.

Now it’s December
And cases are spiking,
Wave two has arrived,
Much to our disliking.

Frontline workers,
Doctors and nurses,
Try to save people,
From riding in hearses.

This virus is awful,
This COVID-19.
There isn’t a cure.
There is no vaccine.

It’s true that this year
Has had sadness a plenty,
We’ll never forget
The year 2020.

And just ‘round the corner –
The holiday season,
But why be merry?
Is there even one reason?

To decorate the house
And put up the tree,
When no one will see it,
No-one but me.

But outside my window
The snow gently falls,
And I think to myself,
Let’s deck the halls!

So, I gather the ribbon,
The garland and bows,
As I play those old carols,
My happiness grows.

Christmas ain’t cancelled
And neither is hope.
If we lean on each other,
I know we can cope.

OK so the snow doesn’t fall in Malaysia but this modern take on an old, traditional Christmas poem neatly sums up 2020 for many of us. If we look at the last stanza; if we lean on each other, I know we can cope; it neatly sums up how the boys have been with each other during the lockdown. I have been very impressed with the way they have coped with online learning, restrictions on travel and trips, SOPs and more online learning. The strength of character they have all shown is a testament to their fortitude in the midst of a global pandemic. They have smiled and laughed, learned and practised their way online in their lessons recently, helping each other when they can. It has been wonderful to watch the boys dealing with a new normal. I think they are ready for a break now and, hopefully, 2021 will bring more cheer and success to you, the parents and the boys of Carr House.

 

Mr James Carson
Housemaster of Carr House


Path to Success with the Extended Project Qualification

‘We welcome the Extended Project (EPQ) and would encourage applicants to undertake one as it will help to develop independent study and research skills valuable for higher education.’ – Cambridge University

The EPQ or Extended Project Qualification is a highly valued A-Level qualification recognised by top universities in the UK and throughout the world as a course that will develop and improve many aspects of your education and prepare you for the rigours of university. The EPQ provides you with the opportunity to engage thoroughly with an interest of your choice and focus on important skills such as independent research, academic writing, critically engaging with your chosen topic, writing an essay or creating an artefact, preparing and presenting your work and time management.

Last year, Epsom alumnus Yugendran Rajaendran achieved an A* on his EPQ entitled ‘Can Euthanasia Ever Be Justified?’ His 5000-word essay helped to develop essential skills that led to many successful university applications including the prestigious Stanford University where he is now pursuing his undergraduate studies.

This year our Year 12 students are commencing their EPQs with great ideas in areas including Science and Economics. All students are in contact with university tutors and are utilising academic resources to explore diverse areas that will help them develop and manage their study skills.

Our Year 13 cohort are currently finalising their projects and we look forward to seeing the results of their hard work. Year 13 student Leon is working on an innovative design and technology computational project and has been exploring the challenges of creating a first-person video game while Anisa has completed extensive research and writing on the modern cultural phenomena of Third Culture Kids and is now preparing a presentation of her work for Term 2.

We hope that students entering Sixth Form will use the opportunity of the EPQ as a way to develop skills that will ensure future success at university and look forward to all the projects that are soon to be completed and those that will come to fruition in years to come.

 

Mr Phil Pedro
Head of EPQ, BSE and MFL


Epsom Staff to Student Secret Santa

Santa with sack of xmas gifts asking for silence

As we near the end of 2020, many of us are reflecting on what an extraordinary year it has been. Here at Epsom College in Malaysia, we have been very lucky to have a positive and supportive community to help us through this difficult time. This has included our Epsom boarding students, who, in particular, have shown great resilience and have pulled together with boarding House staff and their friends to stay “Merry and Bright”.

Some of these students will be remaining on campus during the Christmas holidays. Most, if not all of them will have not seen their families since August. So, to keep their Christmas spirit high and show them our goodwill, Epsom Staff and their families will be donating gifts and Christmas cards to a Staff to Student Secret Santa. With the help of Santa’s elves, these gifts will be distributed to students on the final day of term, after our Epsom College Christmas Lunch.

 

Ms Charlotte Townsend
French Teacher


Charity Fundraising

Since the start of Term 1 this academic year, I have been overseeing the charity fundraising co-curricular activity. Of course, when it comes to organising events, I leave that up to our talented students as it is a prime opportunity for them to demonstrate teamwork, cooperation, planning, enterprise and leadership, which are essential skills for life after school. Normally, I would be thanking students for raising a substantial amount of money for their chosen charity through a non-uniform day in November, but sadly, like so many other events, it has had to be put on hold until the Malaysian Government allows students to return to school. Of course, I have every bit of faith that our students in the charity fundraising group will pick up where they left off when they return. Furthermore, I cannot thank the charity fundraisers enough for their efforts to date and I would like to express further gratitude in advance for the future contributions of the charity fundraising team.

Happy holidays and keep safe!

 

Mr Liam Moulton
Economics / Business Studies Teacher


Mr Ian Schoeman. “Everyone can get involved”

From teaching in South Africa in a boys’ boarding school, to Taylor’s International School in Puchong, then to Epsom College in Malaysia, Mr Schoeman has definitely experienced many aspects of teaching. He has taught Drama, DT, and even Afrikaans, when he was in South Africa, but certainly enjoys teaching Drama the most. Mr Schoeman also enjoys directing more than being under the spotlight: with the pleasure of taking something from the book, interpreting it and finally putting it on the stage for many people to enjoy. This is his 16th year of teaching, and learning all about his past and aspirations for the future, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him this week.

Even though I have no doubt that teaching in a boys’ boarding school was as fulfilling as any co-ed school, Mr Schoeman admitted that the main challenge was finding girls to be in the productions…and he even had to go to the length of ‘borrowing’ some girls from neighbouring schools! His desire to produce the best plays possible and the drive for perfection comes through with Mr Schoeman’s plans for this school year. They range from Senior and Prep productions and Epsom Edge, to the brand new radio station. He is planning a full programme for this year, and as soon as Covid-19 restrictions allows for it, he will begin rolling this new initiative out. This programme creates opportunities in dancing, singing, acting, technical, radio and even internships, therefore creating the best environment possible where everyone can get involved.

My favourite part of meeting Mr Schoeman was talking to him about his biggest accomplishment in the performing arts. He described seeing a Peter Pan play in 2011 when he was still in South Africa and after wanting to do it and working on it and tweaking it, he finally saw it come alive with the amazing spectacle of kids flying, 8 years later. I personally think we can all learn a lot from this dedication and drive to seeing dreams come through. I believe that we can all get there with faith, trust, and of course, a little pixie dust.

 

Tia Siddle
Head of College