FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 106
Epsom Students, Epsom Values
As I have said on so many occasions, Epsom is a very special place in which to live and learn. I have had the great pleasure and privilege this week to interview our candidates for Head of College and every evening I have returned from work in awe of the maturity, humility and altruism of our students – your children. They are a credit to you as parents and an asset to our school community.
The candidates with whom I have spoken have made me reflect on our core values as a school, namely:
CARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
At Epsom, these values manifest themselves in every aspect of school life and as Headmaster I am immensely proud of this. I enjoy multiple interactions with students daily whether in the dining hall, in lessons or during CCA. These interactions are with students of all ages and it is clear our core values are embedded in our community.
One development that has particularly impressed me of late is the hard work and scholarship of our students – their enthusiasm for their learning and their eagerness to take this beyond the classroom. I am delighted to see our student led Academic Societies going from strength to strength and I would like to take this opportunity to share some details of these initiatives with you.
Our Medical Review committee is made up of students who have a passion for Medicine and related topics. They share this passion with our student body via a range of mediums including their journal, their instagram page (search for ‘medicalreviewsociety’ on Instagram), webinars, interviews and a rich set of resources that they upload to their society’s Google Classroom.
Front page of 1st edition of the Medical Review Journal
Recent activity includes:
‘The Pathway to Med School’ – a webinar with Dr Ricky Tavares
‘Immersing into Digital Medicine’ a webinar including an interview with CEO of DOC@2US
Similarly Epsom’s ScienZ Society is enjoying taking Science beyond the syllabus as you will see – visit: https://sites.google.com/view/scienzsociety/home
Epsom’s Compound KTH Society describes itself as ‘a society for students who love science and where [they] get to geek out!’
Visit: http://compoundkth.wordpress.com/ for more information and to see for yourself what these students have been ‘geeking out’ on!
Our Humanities Society (visit: https://epsomhumanitiessociety.wordpress.com/) gives students opportunities to speak and debate their ideas across the spectrum of Humanities. The members understand and accept that there may be no right or wrong answers to the big questions that they pose. Nevertheless it is important to share and test our opinions and compare them to research.
Previous key questions posed by the Humanities Society include: :
Is war ever good?
Could communism work in the future? – free market vs planned economy
Is it morally right to defend a criminal? – law and ethics
Why do we want more than we need? – Imperialism and colonialism
Coming soon: Should I be a conservative, a socialist or a libertarian? – political thinkers and theories
We are also very excited at the launch of some new societies. These include:
Econs Soc – which will explore how Economics and Business is changing our world
Violet Soc – where students will discuss human rights, feminism and equality.
MFL Soc – which will see students exploring and appreciating languages
ECIMES – where environmental Issues will be the topic under scrutiny.
While these Academic Societies represent an invaluable opportunity for students to broaden their knowledge and understanding, demonstrating à deep engagement with their learning (very attractive to elite university admissions tutors), they represent even more. Every student involved in one of these initiatives will learn invaluable skills such as communication, negotiation, time management and organisational skills to name but a few. Their hard work will pay dividends and as a staff body we want to commend our students on all they have achieved thus far – and this is despite the challenges of online learning! (Please note that some of the key members of these societies are studying and leading initiatives online as they wait for their visa to be processed). We look forward to seeing their future achievements in the coming months. Epsom is indeed a wonderful place to live and learn and this is in no small part thanks to the high calibre of our students!
I hope that this article has given you a flavour of the enthusiasm and energy that we enjoy at school and hope that you enjoy ‘geeking out’ as much as we do!
Mr Matthew Brown
In a normal school year, Term 3 usually brings the trials and tribulations of the end of year examinations. Our Year 11 and Year 13 students would be busy revising late into the night in preparation for their host of external exams, stress levels would be high but also the light at the end of the tunnel would also be within reach.
This year is different, as you know some external examinations are continuing as normal but other International and UK based examinations have been cancelled due to Covid-19. For those students completing Cambridge (CIE) courses, their exams will continue as normal with exams written in the Exam Hall. For all other boards, the grades for each subject will be created by teachers based on the evidence that the students have produced over the past 2 years. This evidence will include class tests, homeworks, and mock exams. So to help teachers create these grades we are holding a final set of trial exams in this half term.
We understand that this change in procedure from the norm adds additional stresses and strains at this important time in our students’ school life. However, we will be implementing strategies to reduce student stress levels as much as possible. Such as, our trial exams will take place in normal timetabled lessons, in normal classrooms and will be supervised by the students’ regular class teachers. In addition, the school leadership team will be emailing pupils and parents with further information about the exam process so that everyone is fully informed and has the chance to ask questions if they arise.
Let us not forget Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 who will also have the opportunity to show what they have learned in this academic year with their end of year exams taking place after half term. More information will be forthcoming about these exams but in the meantime it is important that our students start to prepare for these exams and think about preparing a revision timetable.
I want to take this opportunity to wish all our students the very best of luck in their upcoming exams and assessments.
Mr James Brewer
Deputy Head (Academic)
It was good to see all the boys back in the house for the start of the new and final term of this difficult year. Some boys who had been online learning for a long time even made it back to the house and it was great to welcome them. Some boys haven’t left the house for most of the year and I was surprised at the level of positivity among all the boys despite their differing experiences this year.
Carr continues to buzz with excitement each morning as the boys gather for Tutor time, readying themselves for a day’s learning in the classroom. The day boys and boarders, making full use of the pool table, table tennis, air hockey and table football create a fun atmosphere every morning before school and during the breaks too.
We have continued our schedule in the tutor time of various kinds of learning. It includes tutor group assemblies and family assemblies, DEAR which is Drop Everything and Read, Current Affairs and a time of self reflection where the boys share good experiences that have happened to them over the week.
Also this term I have asked the tutors to get the boys to research some Malaysian charities which might benefit from all the toiletries we have collected over the year, that come free in hotel rooms. We have quite a sizable collection of soaps, shampoos, face creams, toothbrushes and toothpaste, sachets of coffee and tea and anything else you might find for free in a hotel room. Every other week, between tutor assemblies the ‘families’, led by a Y9 boy, will present their charity of choice, to whom we should donate. I’ll keep you posted.
We also continue to make the best of the weekends despite being unable to take the boys on trips. Last weekend we had a quiz night which was a fun evening. General knowledge questions sprinkled with questions supplied by their teachers on topics covered recently in the classroom, made for a Saturday evening full of laughter. This weekend it’s Zakri’s birthday so we are having a pizza movie night!
We are all set up for a good term.
Mr James Carson
Housemaster of Carr House
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver”
– Maya Angelou
This year has been full of personal struggle for our students as they have navigated lockdowns and online learning and disruptions to their examinations and university applications. We do know, however, that acts of service – looking outwards rather than inwards- and exercising empathy not only support others but also benefit our own sense of wellbeing. It was with this in mind that we embarked on a tutor group service competition last half term. Earlier in the school year, the girls had voted to select Mercy Malaysia as their chosen House charity and that process had involved them learning a lot about what the charity do and in particular about their Covid-19 relief fund. Each tutor group was challenged to come up with ideas on what they wanted to do to support the charity and told they would be judged on their fundraising, awareness raising and teamwork. Our Upper Sixth House Prefects acted as mentors to support the younger students which provided them with leadership opportunities.
Our Year 7 and 8 students decided on selling educational bookmarks. They each developed a design including the online members of the group and then those in school cut, laminated and decorated with ribbon before placing them for sale in various locations around the school. It was great to see them working together on this project.
Our Year 9 girls developed their idea for Secret Sunflowers and created a form for members of the school community to order sunflower deliveries to others. The logistical organisation and time spent wrapping sunflowers was seriously impressive!
Our Year 10 girls also created a form and this time people could order cupcakes or keyrings. Again they made a lot of people happy with these little deliveries and worked very effectively as a team.
Our Year 12 girls used the classic idea of guessing the number of sweets in a jar. This was efficiently implemented and made the joint student and staff winners very happy indeed!
The winning group in the end were our Year 11s who developed two plans. For their first plan they persuaded Mr Ottewell and the kitchen staff to let them take over the Container Cafe to sell cookies accompanied by a leaflet about the charity. This involved learning about how to serve food safely in that space and work with our SOPs. For their second event they worked closely with Mr Ottewell to develop a safe way to hold a charity run in a carefully staggered way to ensure the safety of this event during the pandemic.
Myself and the girls tutors have been incredibly impressed by what the girls have achieved in this project and we are very much looking forward to being able to announce a final total that they have raised after more events this term. It was lovely to be able to celebrate the end of this successful and eventful half term with a safely spaces outdoor dinner for the whole House.
Ms Sophie Hill
Housemistress of Crawfurd House
Last weekend in our House assembly I went over the idea of accountability with the young men of Granville. We are always looking to develop ‘character’ and make them conscious of a range of important personal traits. With upcoming exams, assessments and also all the day to day basic responsibilities we spent some time looking at being accountable.
Day to day we have a lot of responsibilities we have to consider such as arriving on time to lessons, bringing the right equipment, through to putting our best effort into our work and ensuring our rooms are clean and tidy.
Life can often throw a spanner in the works and attempt to derail our regular actions that ensure we meet the basic responsibilities. When something unexpected happens, we need to still meet our responsibilities as best we can by being accountable. This shows adaptability, initiative and a positive mindset by avoiding excuses.
We discussed how the Covid pandemic has thrown up many obstacles to our lives, but that we still need to make the most of our opportunities and not allow any blame to develop for any missed opportunities. The Year 11s & 13s are now the second year group with exams either cancelled or heavily impacted. We are developing a culture of accountability in Granville and making sure we do what we can to overcome these challenges, big and small, to still get the most out of our time in school but also the best grades that we can achieve.
In the boarding house the boys have been trying to ‘control the controllables’ and ensure their preparation and revision is still a priority, sticking to revision plans, using others for shared revision and benefiting from being on site to gain some extra support from teachers and other students.
There have also been a lot of other things going on around College with a broader range of CCAs on offer this term and also a variety of activities at the weekend, including some new experiences such as street dancing. Keeping aware of our wellbeing is so important and it was great to see so many boys signing up for activities to help keep active.
The Year 12 students have been offered the opportunity to apply for the prefect positions in the school for next year and it has been great to speak with a number of them about their aspirations. I look forward to seeing many of them gain from this application process and hopefully have a few Granvillians as prefects next year.
Mr John Foden
Housemaster of Granville House
It has been a great first week back after the holiday. There has been a great buzz around the College and Propert House. The boys seem to very much like being in school, which is brilliant to write!
One element of this is the opportunity to spend time with their peers. Research suggests that teenagers’ peers become increasingly significant as they progress through their schooling. With this is mind the College, and the House, allow the boys to mix with their peers and, as we have such a positive set of young men, that mutual influence adds much to their lives.
Already since we have been back we had boys out using the new garden, watching sport together, running, in the gym, playing badminton and basketball, preparing for Prefect interviews, swimming, touring prospective parents around the College, holding a social, presenting to Carr and their peers, learning to dance with a visiting instructor, playing in our House Music band, studying together, eating together and helping the boys from Carr put their band together. There has also been much laughter and this is always a great sign. A busy and productive life also very much helps with their sleep and study; their brains are much more alert and ready to store all the new learning that comes their way.
We look forward to keeping these energy levels up as we move through the final term of the academic year and very much expect this positive lifestyle to support the upcoming examinations.
Mr Ian Squires
Housemaster of Propert House
The “New Crew” and the “Old Crew” united as one
Rosebery has been fortunate to have welcomed more girls to the house in Term 3. Two brave Year 8 girls and five wonderful Year 12 girls apprehensively walked into the house with their parents to help them unpack. Since they bid their farewell to their parents they have blossomed into independent, organised and confident young ladies. We also welcomed one Year 9 girl who has been doing so well starting her classes online. The Rosebery girls, true to character, have welcomed all the girls with open arms and have helped them adjust and settle into their daily routines forming wonderful strong friendships along the way. It warms my heart to see the girls have empathy and compassion for one another. It is through boarding that these values are learnt and I am certain they will stay with them for life, benefiting them when they move to university or just deal with changes that occur throughout their lifetime.
To help unite both ‘day’ and ‘boarding’ girls of all ages within Rosebery we rely on family time to bring the girls together to get to know one another, learn from each other and have fun together. The family group system embeds the little sister, big sister and auntie model and is made up of girls from all year groups. Each girl has had the opportunity to lead family time throughout this year helping to promote their leadership skills where possible. Encouraging leadership skills from a young age helps to develop strong, independent young women who are not afraid to stand up and voice their opinion on issues and to lead others through various tasks. This week we had a show and tell session led by the Year 7 and 8 students and overseen by the Heads of Family. As you can see from the photos we had a range of items being shown, demonstrated and explained to one another as to why they mean so much to them. The sound of laughter, music and excitement filled the House and the girls had a great time.
We have a busy Term 3 ahead whilst the focus will remain on academic achievement Rosebery girls will ensure they always remain grounded and rounded in the community they live in.
Ms Jenny Mitchell
Housemistress of Rosebery House
Prep and Senior School – Live Music Concerts
At the end of Term 2, we were lucky enough to experience some great musical talent from our Senior and Prep school musicians. On 25 March 2021, our Senior School students started the afternoon off with their Lunch time Live music concert. This featured Year 7-13 students performing a fantastic array of songs and performances.
Our music students, supported by their music teachers, were able to showcase a range of talent on the piano, violin, saxophone, and guitar – to name a few! We were also treated to three amazing vocal performances and band pieces from some highly accomplished singers and performers. Congratulations must also be shared with the students who also took part online. Two students, Issa and Yuka, were able to share their musical performances with us which were shown (and streamed) to all who were watching.
Later in the afternoon, it was the Prep School students’ chance to perform their concert to their friends and the staff. Again, the students were able to entertain us with fantastic performances from all the year groups with a variety of both solo and group performances. Our music teachers were able to support those students who were online as well and we enjoyed some pre-recorded performances from our Early Years students as well!
With all the musical talent we are so blessed to have, we really do look forward to being able to welcome parents, families, and friends back to the campus in the future, so that we can all share in the art of music-making and joy that it brings!
Thank you to our music teachers who have put in a lot of hard work and dedication in supporting the students. We are lucky to have a dedicated team of teachers behind them!
Mr Ian Schoeman
Head of Performing Arts
Ms Star Kim Byul, “I just want to help”
Ms Star was born in Seoul, Korea and came to Malaysia in 2017 as a part of the Air Asia cabin crew. After flying for 10 years, COVID-19 sadly put a hold on that. However, luckily for us, this meant that Ms Star could join our staff team as our new Korean Liaison Officer. After graduating from University in Korea then moving from Singapore Airlines to Qatar Airlines to Air Asia, Ms Star has certainly had so many opportunities to travel the world and in the process has also learnt bits of Chinese, Japanese, Malay and Arabic. She perfectly represents how international Epsom is.
Ms Star is in charge of translating PTCs (Parent-Teacher Conferences), letters, helping Korean parents translate any questions or comments during open days and so much more! She is vital to making sure that all students and parents are able to express their thoughts; she helps carry out one of Epsom’s values of international inclusivity.
Although this job is different to being a part of the Cabin Crew, she is excited about this new challenge. Her aspirations for this year are to help Korean parents translate their questions as well as listening to the pupils. Ms Star “just wants to help”, whether it is something big or simply being there for the students to talk to. Her favourite thing about Epsom so far is seeing the utmost amount of care displayed for the pupils. This is especially seen from Mr Brown, our Headmaster, who talks to each and every student and creates a really good sense of incorporation within our Epsom community – this I certainly agree with.
It was such a pleasure to meet Ms Star. Personally, I think her name perfectly suits her as she is such a positive and approachable person who shines in her new position. I wish her all the best this year, but I am sure she will be great!
Head of College