FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 104
Welcome back to our students next week.
Epsom has missed the buzz of its pupils during the MCO and we are delighted that, from 8th March, we will be able to welcome many of our students back to school to enjoy physical lessons. Students we have missed you!
We understand that some of our international students are not able to return to school but rest assured that we will fully involve you in our lessons and we cannot wait to see you in person again.
Thank you all, parents and students, for your resilience, patience and determination with online learning. While it has been incredibly useful, indeed indispensable, we look forward to more face to face teaching.
Rest assured that we will continue to implement the required SoPs and that we will do all we can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff as we welcome many students back on site.
We are most excited to be able to offer a Fast Track A-level programme at Epsom College. This offers students who have completed their SPM / IGCSE / IB or other equivalents and who do not want to wait for August to begin their studies.
The main A-level teaching will commence on 19th April and we are excited at the prospect of welcoming our new students to the college then. In the meantime we are delighted to be working with 6 students who have joined us early for the Fast Track to be able to complete their EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) prior to embarking upon their A-level studies.
There is no doubt that these 6 – Bernie, Bernice, Wafi, Ben, David and Paul are a most impressive bunch. They have settled in incredibly well and have already made their mark. It is our pleasure and privilege to be working with them and their families.
At Epsom, we strongly believe in developing our interests and passions beyond the curriculum. It is this super curricular engagement that is so attractive to selective universities. This term has seen the launch of the Medical Review – which focuses on developing and fostering students’ interests in the medical & technology field. We are grateful to Paul Ong who is taking the lead on this in his role as President. We have the Humanities Society run by Catalina Pinna, Cazra Gaznavi, Manfred Wong and Naomi Khai Huey Khoo. This group is facilitating discussions and initiatives to get students thinking about big questions. Recent discussions have focused on the meaning of truth as well as the ethics of law. Our STEM society led by Taranie Shanker, Yi Chen Lee, Hinata Mabuchi , Raihana Remee, Bryan Lim and Chris Lai has created a blog Epsom STEM Soc and a site (this is Kirsten, Taranie and Hinata’s project – hence the name!) Compound KTH with articles on science related topics that have piqued their interest. As you can see there is so much enthusiasm for learning and scholarship within our College community – it really is a delight to work among this community of inquisitive, enthusiastic and talented students.
As some of you may know, March 1st is Saint David’s Day – the Day that Wales celebrates its Patron Saint. You may also know that Wales celebrates its culture and heritage via a competition called an Eisteddfod (pronounced: ai -steth – vod). It is therefore most fitting that Mr Schoeman chose to launch his Epsom Eisteddfod on this date! Mr Scheoman has some great ideas to take Epsom’s Performing Arts department to the next level and we cannot wait to experience the Eisteddfod which will be an online event and open to schools globally to collaborate and compete and foster students’ passion for and appreciation of the performing arts. Have a look at the details by following the link: Epsom Eisteddfod
Following on from this we are soon to launch Epsom FM – our very own radio station! We are hugely grateful to Mr Shashi and Mr Schoeman for their work on this fantastic idea that will allow students and staff to share their ideas, passions and interests over the Epsom airways!
R4G – be the change.
At Epsom we foster a community spirit and seek to instill in our pupils a sense of altruism and care for others… students are community spirited and care for others. At Epsom we understand that the world, although in some respects can appear deeply divided, is also equally interconnected. We are a part of a global community. With this in mind we are most excited to be competing for the first time in the Race4Good R4G. This initiative first caught our eye as its tagline is ‘be the change’ and this is something we say to our students on a regular basis.
Linda Cruise, a renowned humanitarian for over 20 years created this initiative in order to draw on the initiative and creativity of young minds to lift real families out of poverty. During the Race4Good, students work in teams to come up with innovative solutions to enable a community in Nepal, suffering from the consequences of the devastating 2015 earthquake, to lift themselves out of poverty and to improve their quality of life. The teams are given challenges such as how to improve the school, or how to enable the family allocated to them to generate sustainable revenue. Last year’s winners lifted their family out of poverty by creating a candle making business – their research showed that families, due to poor electricity supplies were having to buy candles and that by making their own they could avoid that cost while generating an income.
The launch of the race was 1st March and our team is working on its first challenge right now as I write this article. We will keep you updated!
As you can see there is so much going on and we are so excited to be able to share these initiatives and experiences with you. Many thanks to all of the students and staff who make all these activities happen.
Epsom is indeed a vibrant community with so much to be proud of…
Mr Matthew Brown
Carr House Update
In the last few weeks communication has picked up with the resumption of Tweets on Twitter, so what follows is an update of rather more than 280 characters.
The boys have been keeping busy with online lessons and on the whole they have been engaging well. Soon we will be returning to the classrooms so the fabric of the boarding house can have a breather from being occupied 24/7. We are all looking forward to that.
We continue to have Y12 boys from Propert come up to Carr and practise their presentations on the younger members of our community. The topics are diverse but always interest the boarders in Carr. We can judge this on how many questions are asked.
Activities undertaken have changed again this week with the relaxing of some of the rules around playing sport. The swimming pool was opened after a long hiatus and the boys dived into this activity with gusto. Also, they have been playing badminton, squash and table tennis among others. We have also just taken delivery of 5 scooters and helmets for the boys to zoom around the place.
Music lessons continue and those musicians in the house are plotting to start a band of some sort. We’ll see if that comes to fruition; hopefully, with some encouragement, it will. Talking of music, some of the boarders had their favourite playlists on during an alfresco supper by the Container Cafe. Whilst junior boys don’t do much sitting around nursing a nice glass of Milo and chatting about life and politics, they did a good job, for a short time, of relaxing into their friendship groups with a bit of banter. Shortly afterwards the Saturday Popcorn/Movie Night started and they are presently enjoying the Back to the Future trilogy, which was made in the 1980s! Usually anything before 2015 is old and rubbish.
Gastronomically the boys excel. Last week Masako came over from Rosebery and helped the boys cook Gyoza which are Japanese dumplings. They were very enthusiastic about this, especially the last part – eating them.
Now that things are slowly getting back to normal, I should remind you of the Carr House service offering. We are collecting those free soaps and toothbrushes and other toiletries, which are usually in hotel rooms and that we often don’t use. If you visit any hotels over the next few months please remember to collect these and send them into Carr. The boys will sort them next term and research who we can give them to, beit orphanages, care homes or homeless shelters.
Mr James Carson
Housemaster of Carr House
Work that is real in Crawfurd
During the pandemic, we have used an online form for a daily check-in for Crawfurd. This has served as a way to check-in on how students are doing during the regular changes, uncertainty and challenges that this year has thrown at them. As I write this, we have nearly 2,000 responses on this form from the girls now. As you might expect, words like tired, uncertain, confused do appear but what is striking is that in 35% of the responses the girls consider they are doing ‘Great!” and 62% are ‘Mostly Positive’. This is a testament to the impressive resilience the Crawfurdians continue to demonstrate, whether they are in the boarding house and have had restrictions on how regularly they can see family or at home with restrictions on how regularly they can see friends. With this knowledge, I am certain they will continue to cope amazingly as we move into another change next week with many students returning for face to face lessons whilst some remain online either in Malaysia or abroad. I know that the girls will step up to this challenge supported by their tutors and House team and for this I am incredibly proud of them.
Online learning has not been allowed to prevent progress over the last few weeks. However, Anisa, our Head of House, and her team of year group representatives have organised a Happy Week this week which sees us leaving messages, images and more for our allocated ‘Secret Friend’ each morning to brighten their day. Simultaneously, our House Service Committee is preparing a recycling project for their return next week and our Upper Sixth are coaching the younger girls through a tutor group competition to raise awareness and funds for our chosen House Charity: Mercy Malaysia.
The hive of productivity and determination both online and offline is very much inline with our House Poem: To be of use by Marge Piercy.
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.
Ms Sophie Hill
Housemistress of Crawfurd House
Noun – a person’s ability to persevere with something, sticking power, ‘the secret of success is stickability’
We have nearly spent six weeks online in 2021 and it is a good feeling to be welcoming more of the Granville family back next week and also other students around the school..
Recently in Granville we have been talking about being committed, sticking to our goals and staying in things for their entirety. The boys have most certainly faced many challenges recently with the long screen time, reduced options for CCAs and keeping in touch with their family and friends either socially distanced or online. It has tested their grit and commitment as times are certainly challenging. The need to adapt and deal with changing situations will truly benefit them in the long run, although it may be difficult to see at the moment.
Recently we have seen Leon and Timothy complete their EPQ presentation at the end of a long road of research, planning, developing and being committed to see it through to its end. Both gave excellent presentations, although these were to a reduced physical audience due to strict SOPs, but both drew a good turn out online.
The Year 12s have all committed to giving presentations to the house on Saturday mornings. So far we have seen Yazarn, Scott, Naoki and Hanjoon. It is great to see them all selecting a topic of their choice and sharing their knowledge with the boys. The idea is to help develop confidence, show some leadership and fine tune their presentation skills outside of the constraints within subjects of specific topics and assessment criteria.
With a restriction on sports and CCA an excellent keeping active programme was offered to students. We have challenged them all to commit to being active several times a week. Without the lure of some of the more popular team games, it has still been great to see them all getting into the Gym, the Sport hall for badminton, walking or running around the site and also playing squash or table tennis.
Lastly it has been great to see the commitment in the house to the community through the weekly family responsibilities. The boys work together to help the smooth running of the house from day to day and stepping up to do their chores.
They have a long and exciting life journey ahead, there will be obstacles thrown in their path, (other than Covid), so it is awesome to see them developing the skills of stickability and seeing things through.
Mr John Foden
Housemaster of Granville House
Propert Housemaster’s Conundrum!
Is a House a home? Or is a House an extension of school? In Propert, we believe that the building is more than somewhere to study; though this is a part of the role it offers. The building makes up the bricks and mortar of what is a home. As such we all work hard to ensure the House is decorated well, is maintained and treated respectfully. We have pride in our House and when we do have visitors they alway seem a little taken aback by the fact the House smells great, is tidy and is so warm. I assume, and perhaps rightly so, that a large group of teenage boys and pleasant smells do not go hand in hand. We are always happy to prove that this is not necessarily the case. We continue to make renovations and our latest project, which adds to our new garden and social space, if a planter framing our House sign. The foliage adds warmth to the House, brings in nature and when the boys socialise in the outdoor areas make the evening a far more pleasant experience.
Moving forward a House needs boys to fill it and turn it from physical bricks and mortar to a home. We have 32 boys in at the moment and very much hope to see the other boys return shortly now that physical lessons are on the horizon. We are trying our best to create social opportunities as this is very much the basis of any ‘home’. It was great, therefore, to make use of the great weather, the Container Cafe and social spaces for pizzas & burgers on Saturday evening. With no travel at the moment, having these events has given the boys a few of those home comforts they may be missing and a chance to relax with their peers. We very much hope to expand on these types of events in the near future as we move towards a new ‘normal’.
Finally, we continue to have weekly academic talks presented by our boys to Carr House and the Prep School. Well done to Young Mok who delivered a presentation to Year 5 and 6 on National Service. Whilst Chris visited Carr and discussed games and how they are designed; it was beyond me, but not for the Carr boys who were engaged as always.
Mr Ian Squires
Housemaster of Propert House
Rosebery rolling with the times
Many of our routines are altered as our lives are upheaved by the changes brought by COVID-19; the same goes for my role as the Head of House. Due to the current situation, I have not been able to lead Rosebery in many of the inter-house competitions that the school previously held before the pandemic. Nevertheless, I am still eminently grateful to be able to return back to the boarding House and support the girls whenever they are in need of help.
I ask the girls how they found boarding and online learning during the most recent MCO. Here is what they had to say. The returning Rosebery boarders who are currently doing their lessons at home expressed that they would miss spending time with their family while also continuing to receive an education. With having to deal with uncertainty during the Coronavirus pandemic, they are glad that they still had the opportunity to expand their knowledge. Throughout the period of online learning, a lot of the girls had received praise from their teachers for things like engaging in class discussions and being attentive towards their learning despite having to stare at the screen for long hours. Luckily, they do not need to do this any longer as we will soon return back to our normal lesson structure. One of the things that the girls are looking forward to is getting back face-to-face lessons when they begin on the 8th of March. The girls find that they are able to focus much better when they are in the normal school environment and they can not wait to see all their friends again. As stated by a Roseberian, it is useful to have people who can support them during this difficult time, be it academically or mentally.
Everyone in Rosebery always welcomes each and every single new pupil in the house. This time, I would like to introduce you to Bernice Huey Shen Tan. Bernice joined Epsom earlier this February as part of the fast-track programme. Initially, she was attracted to the facilities that the school provides, specifically the swimming pool but as she made further research, she discovered the scholarship offered by the college which is mainly the reason why she applied. As Bernice is interested in taking a medical degree once she graduates, her subjects consist of Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics, along with Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). I am also really proud of my Rosebery girls, as I had expected when Bernice mentioned that the girls have been very welcoming since the day she came. She hopes that her experience in this boarding House, as well as the College, will be one of the things that she can reminisce about when she gets older.
Head of Rosebery
As we approach term 3, students at Epsom are currently pondering over which activities they will sign up for as CCAs. Epsom is blessed with facilities and a staff body that’s able to offer a huge range of options, ranging from basketball and football all the way through to working on our new radio station or monthly newsletter.
Throughout the week, our students have the choice of over 80 co curricular activities. Click here to view our interactive menu of CCAs.
Mr Philip Harwood
Over the past fortnight, Years 7, 8, and 9 have been looking at what constitutes a healthy lifestyle in their PSHE “Life Skills” lessons on Saturday mornings. We held a series of interactive assemblies where students enthusiastically participated by sharing their ideas on what it means to be healthy.
The key umbrella theme of the sessions was about finding balance. We considered what would be “too much” and “not enough” in four areas: food, drink, exercise, and rest, and discussed how these four aspects of our lifestyles are interconnected. Firstly, we identified what are healthier choices for food and drinks.
Then we discussed exercise and rest, and shared some ideas about how to rest from a screen during this period of online learning!To end the sessions, we broke up into tutor groups to design a healthy day for Shrek (we all agreed that Shrek’s lifestyle probably isn’t the healthiest!). Tutor groups put together a detailed daily diary to help Shrek achieve a healthier, balanced lifestyle.
Well done to all students who participated!
Mr Samuel Parker
Mr Arafath Ali, “I like everything about Maths”
Mr Arafath has always loved Maths. After starting his teaching journey a lot earlier than many, by helping his peers in Maths in Year 8 and 9, he made his way up to a Teaching Assistant in his second year at University (despite studying to be an Aerospace Engineer); to officially working as a part-time teacher, teaching Maths to Year 10s and 11s; to currently teaching here, at Epsom College in Malaysia.
Teaching part-time while studying for his Masters was really when he developed his passion for teaching. Mr Arafath never intended to be a teacher, but soon realised that he was born to be one. His love for teaching, “a noble profession”, continued to grow when he could see his students growing and learning together.
He then progressed to teaching full-time in Putrajaya for four years, where he was the Head of Department for both Maths and ICT. Most of Mr Arafath’s greatest accomplishments as a teacher came then, when, with his help, the students’ productivity increased by 50%. They participated in international competitions where they won many awards, and received top IGCSE results. Not only did he help high achievers reach their full potential, but he also planned and executed several programmes for below average students to excel too.
Following on from that, he moved to Kuching where he taught for a year and a half, before joining us here. With this, Mr Arafath’s main goal and aspiration for this year is to simply achieve “ultimate success”:Success in every aspect of one’s life and in this case, being the best teacher that he can be and to always teach with sincerity.
It was my utmost pleasure meeting Mr Arafath this week. He has a passion for Mathematics and in striving to be the best teacher that he can be, I personally admire that a lot. I wish him all the best in his teaching career here at Epsom and I am sure he will continue to inspire his students with his love for his subject and phenomenal teaching skills.
Head of College