FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 109
It remains a great pleasure to have many of our students back in school, our boarders and our examination classes. We are experiencing the energy and enjoyment of living and learning together.
Indeed, in this week’s assembly we reflected on what makes school so special, so important and potentially life changing. We focused on the experience of Ian Wright, who for many years was the top goal scorer for Arsenal football club in the EPL. We listened to Ian describe the transformative impact that his teacher, Mr Pigden, had on his life (see HERE) and watched a short video of Ian meeting Mr Pigden again in later life (see HERE).
Ian’s experience reminds us that at the core of school life is the relationship between two human beings: the teacher and the student, and how the power of this relationship should not be underestimated.
As a boarding school the opportunities we have to build these meaningful relationships are even greater as we work to provide unconditional pastoral care, excellent academic learning as well as many inspirational experiences.
Similar to Ian Wright’s story at Epsom we aim
…to elicit the inner greatness of each and every child.
And so our assembly closed with the characteristics of our students and staff that make Epsom such a special place to live, learn and teach.
As the school breaks for Half Term I wish all our students and families a restful holiday and we are already looking forward to the activities in the next Half Term including the inter House ‘Battle of the Bands’, the return of our Annual Christmas Dinner and so much more…
Mr Matthew Brown
Updates from Deputy Head of College
It is truly wonderful to see students, who have waited patiently to resume physical lessons, back in their classrooms. Our College is slowly transitioning back to the hustle and bustle of real-life. Many of the pupils were excited to see their friends and to be able to socialise once again. We ourselves, as students of the college, were thrilled to see each other’s faces physically and not on the screen.
After many months of online yoga tutorials and activities limited to the virtual, students are now able to partake in some physical activities in the sports hall and on the fields – all while following the SOPs. It is great to finally sweat and frolic in the sun once again! Not to mention, to be able to benefit from the wide range of academic activities available.
A notable addition to the school is the wide range of societies led by the students. The school is now encouraging students to start new societies to increase their experience and skill set, as well as their knowledge. Students are now benefiting from the ability to conduct live sessions in school, with the option of joining online as well. The Sports Society, which was established by Nanako Dobashiin Year 11, had its first-ever session on Thursday. The society’s first discussion was regarding their aims and objectives and they are currently recruiting members, which will doubtless provide great opportunities for the students.
To add to students’ efforts, the school recently applied for the ‘Eco School Programme’, which is organised by the ‘WWF’. One of the first steps was to start an Eco Committee, therefore the Eco Committee was established and is currently being led by both the Deputy Heads of College. We plan to minimise the school’s ecological footprint by educating the students and community on environmental problems and how we can help to make a difference. The committee, both in an online and physical setting, has discussed and planned to analyse the school’s environmental footprint. This is essential for the next step of the committee which is to come up with an action plan to reduce consumption at the college.
Alongside the events organised by the school, we now have live talks, where a guest speaker is invited to talk about their past and ongoing experiences. The KS4 and KS5 students had the honour to attend a live talk by Mr Gareth Lim, who is part of the founding team at pioneering ASEAN start-ups, Tune Hotels and AirAsia X. Students were given the opportunity to ask questions regarding his studies at Cambridge, as well as to ask for advice. Overall, many students were enlightened by the talk and we look forward to welcoming future guest speakers.
In conclusion, the first week back to physical school has never been so refreshing for both the students and staff. Once empty, lifeless classrooms are now vibrant and dynamic where students are enjoying learning with smiles under their masks.
Bryan Lim and Taranie Shanker
Deputy Head of College
What a wonderful and busy week it has been! Looking at my register, I am able to see that we now have thirty boys in the boarding house with five more due to arrive in school later this month, and; looking at the happy faces around me, I am able to see what a difference it makes to these young men to be in the physical presence of their friends and house mates. Granville has been reborn!
Some of these faces look more nervous than others though – the recently matriculated pupils are not only finding their classrooms for the first time but also making new friends and settling into the routines of boarding school life. It is a challenging period, made all the more unnerving by the constant updating of operating procedures. However, all of our young men seem to be rising to meet these demands. Every day this week, I have seen pupils making the most of the excellent facilities on campus and engaging with the wide range of activities on offer.
This is not to forget the Granvillians currently studying off campus through our new system of ‘blended learning’.
In my opinion, there is no substitute for face-to-face lessons with a qualified, capable and enthusiastic teacher. I have been very impressed with my large, airy and well-appointed classroom in the English department and also with the feeling of community and belonging that you find in an institution like Epsom. However, given the disadvantages of distance learning, it seems that everyday I encounter a new technology that better enables online teaching (my colleagues also all seem to enthusiastically promote one piece of software or another). Even a pedagogic dinosaur like myself may have developed an enduring affection for the Google suite of applications and our online students certainly still have benefits.
Mr Dean Jones
Bonjour et bienvenue! ¡Hola y bienvenidos!
It has been my pleasure to welcome pupils back to their language lessons at Epsom, and, as a new member of staff myself, feel very welcomed in turn.
The Modern Languages Department began the academic year by celebrating European Day of Languages. Throughout the week of September 26th – October 2nd, staff and students learned useful phrases in each others’ languages, reflected on words of wisdom from different cultures around the world, and enjoyed some delicious international dishes prepared by Epsom’s stellar catering team. Personally, I look forward to putting “Eki wa dokodesu ka?”, “annyeong”, and “xiè xiè” into practice in the not-too-distant future.
That said, something I look forward to even more than experiencing the wonders of Asia, is meeting our Epsom pupils in-person. I have been so impressed over the last six weeks by their consistent effort and active participation in lessons. Speaking, listening, reading and writing – they have done it all to a high standard online. On this basis, I am sure the merit boards (beautifully designed by Rish, Y8) will rapidly fill up from the very first day of lessons next half-term. For this half-term, a special mention must go to Rish (Y8), Millie (Y8), Sora (Y11), and Ted (Y5) for their early physical contributions to the languages department – it is great to see pupils taking ownership of their environment and seeking ways to creatively enhance the learning experience for themselves and others.
This year in Modern Foreign Languages, Epsom pupils will expand their vocabulary and develop their skills for communication and understanding in their chosen language(s). They will also have the opportunity to connect meaningfully with the cultures of their chosen language(s) through the use of authentic materials in lessons, and by participating in whole-school language-focused events. This week, Ms Seti (Bahasa Melayu), Ms Peng (Mandarin) and myself (French and Spanish) met to discuss a number of key dates across the year which we plan to celebrate as a school. Next up is Mexico’s Day of the Dead (a three-day festival to honour those who have gone before us) in November, followed by the Winter Solstice Festival in December.
Ms Anna Macleod
Head of Modern Languages
The return of students to our College site earlier this month meant that we finally could resume some (socially distanced) Physical Education (PE) lessons – this is a most welcome development! There is no doubt that being able to work out, take in the fresh air and have fun with friends is vital for young people’s development and we have really missed our face to face sessions with our students. Our beautiful, 80 acre site was too empty and quiet during the MCO – it is great to see it coming back to life!
We welcomed a new Prep PE teacher, Mr Wooler, to Epsom this year and he has settled in very well, leading the prep classes in online dance and movement sessions, supported by our fabulous team: Mr Wedz, Mr Mohamed, Ms Ivana and Ms Dayang.
This term, Key Stage Three (Years 7-9) PE lessons have incorporated an online practical element of yoga, stretching or circuit training along with a theory element to track personal fitness progress, different components of fitness and the impact of exercise on parts of the body.
We were delighted that so many students took the opportunity to represent Epsom in the AIMS’ (Association of International Malaysian Schools) virtual Olympics. This competition runs until the 15th of October and so far we have Aisha at the top of the leaderboard in her age group for jump rope with a total of 174 jumps in one minute, and Sotaro, who is third in his category for speed bounce.We congratulate them on these achievements!
We are proud to see students competing in various MSSN (Majlis Sukan Sekolah Negeri) competitions over the last few months. Adrianna Sim in Year 7 performed incredibly well in the online competition, exhibiting her chipping, putting, driving and juggling, and through this, has been selected to represent Negeri Sembilan in golf at the MSSM (Majlis Sukan Sekolah Malaysia) . Nur Atiqah Mohd Haaziq Pillay also took part in an online gymnastic competition for the Johore Amature Gymnastics Assosication and performed a very intricate routine. Congratulations to all – you are a credit to your families and to Epsom!
Mr Robert de Wet
Head of PE
Prep School Student Leadership Team 2021/22
Congratulations to the Prep School Student Leadership Team who were appointed recently after interviews with the Senior School Prefects and Student Heads of School. We had a lot of candidates putting themselves forward for the roles and we would like to thank all of them for the time and effort they put into applying. It was an impressive selection.
We consider student leadership extremely important at Epsom and it is our great pleasure and privilege to work with the new team below.
They have made a start and Dana, Student Head of Prep School addressed the Prep School Community with a focus on the importance of teamwork and aiming high. Angela, her Deputy Head of School, focused on staying safe and following SOP’s. We will hear from the Heads of Houses in this week’s assembly.
We wish them all every success!
Head of Granville
Head of Rosebery
Head of Crawfurd
Head of Propert
Student Head of Prep School
Student Deputy Head of Prep School
Mrs Alice Stokes
Head of Prep School
Head of Higher Education
I have worked as Guidance Counsellor for over 15 years to date and it is a role that I continue to find deeply rewarding. I consider it a great privilege to support students as they make important decisions relating to the next steps in their educational journey. It is incredibly rewarding to receive messages from students who have achieved their goal with the offer of a place at their dream university or from alumni who have gone on to secure their dream job! I am extremely grateful for the support of colleagues, parents, alumni and the ECM Libra Board who provide countless opportunities for Epsom students to stretch and challenge themselves, enrich their learning experience and prepare for interview and admissions tests at elite universities.
Of course not every student will be targeting an elite university and some will experience challenges in their learning, especially given the impact of the pandemic and sustained periods of online learning. Some students may have additional learning needs or encounter difficulties. We are here to help – our students benefit from a dedicated, specialist Inclusion Department. Furthermore many of our staff, me included, are parents thus we can genuinely appreciate and relate to the challenges that our students face. Rest assured that we are here to help in any way we can and want to reassure you – our students – that there is an undergraduate place waiting for you! We will help you get there! Some of the most successful people experienced challenges in their learning – so do not let your challenges hold you back – instead reflect on them and turn them into an opportunity to strengthen your application!
At Epsom we celebrate the individuality of every single student – every learner has their own personal skills and attributes and it is our job as educators to help them identify their passion and provide opportunities to develop their particular talents to the maximum. There is no one size fits all and no two students are the same! Thus we seek to give students opportunities to take the lead in what they want in terms of enrichment activities and to pursue their particular interests. This is especially evident in our vibrant and established super curricular programme – notably our Academic Societies.
At Epsom, we seek to develop the whole child – education is so much more than just exams and to gain admission into the top universities, students will need to set themselves apart and demonstrate that they have taken their learning further. In addition, notably for the USA, students will be required to demonstrate their impact on their community – such as through voluntary work or altruistic initiatives. This process needs to start as early as possible. As our sister school Epsom College UK says, seize every opportunity and the rest will follow. We offer our students the Epsom Advantage. The wealth of opportunities available at our school is second to none and is largely student led – please contact us if you would like to learn more. We are most fortunate that we benefit from the support of ECM Libra who provide opportunities such as internships, work experience and mentoring for those students who aspire to put their learning into context.
Epsom students gain entry to universities worldwide. While most of our students opt to continue to university in the UK, every year students make successful applications to destinations including USA, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and of course Malaysia.
Epsom boasts a highly qualified, experienced and specialist teaching body and they play an active role in providing interview practice to our students. Furthermore, Ms Aishah has joined us as resident elite university tutor this year. As an Oxford graduate herself she is well placed to support students with their applications and can draw on her network to provide mock interviews in a range of subjects. Ms Aishah resides on site and is therefore able to provide support outside normal school hours to students such as after class and at weekends. Mr Jordan Brown, our Year 5 teacher, a Cambridge graduate in Natural Science, has helped with university interview practice this year as we have a candidate applying for his exact course! We benefit from a panel of experts who have been working with our Oxbridge hopefuls since January to develop their ability and confidence to apply their prior learning to new contexts and to develop their confidence at interview. Our Medical students will soon have submitted their applications and we will begin preparing mock interviews for students including MMI (multiple Mini Interviews).
We strive to meet the needs of every one of our students, providing bespoke support for their particular pathway. We value parental involvement and understand that making applications to universities abroad can be fraught with stress and anxiety – we seek to demystify the process and work with families to enable them to make applications with confidence.This year we are launching our AAP – American Admissions Pathway where we seek to explain the US admissions process, and encourage students to find their own, unequivocally unique voice and story with unparalleled support and guidance.
At the time of writing this article, 2 applications have been submitted to Cambridge and I am delighted to be able to tell you that they have both been invited to interview later this month. More applications are due to be submitted by the initial deadline of 15th October and there will be many more coming in soon- it is a very busy and exciting time! I am excited knowing that the intelligent, moral, principled and resilient young people with whom I work will go on to take up positions of responsibility as business leaders, lawyers, doctors, engineers and politicians. They have a vision of how they want the future to be and it is a bright one.
I would like to close by reiterating what I said at the start – it is a genuine pleasure and privilege to be the Guidance Counsellor and I am here to help you – students, parents, guardians – in any way that I can. Never hesitate to reach out.
Mrs Kate Carden-Brown
Director of Admissions and Head of Higher Education
Kirsten Immerse Education Essay
As part of our Academic Enrichment Programme, we encourage our students to get involved in academic discourse and to write articles and participate in competitions . Here is our Head of College’s entry into the Immerse Essay Competition this year for which she was awarded a scholarship to their summer school:
We are the Violet Society, a student-led society which advocates for gender equality with the objective of spreading awareness on this world issue which still—to this day—continues to affect our development and progress as a society. Indirectly, we also reduce the stigma and shame surrounding feminism and what it stands for. Together, our aim is to place both sexes on a podium where they are seen as equals, where one sex isn’t considered inferior or superior to the other.
Whether you are currently on-site or online, I’d just like to say welcome back for a new academic year, dear Epsomian! That being said, there is a large majority of you who are new, fresh-faced students joining us for the first time. The idea of having new attendees come to our session excited us! To say we are absolutely ecstatic is an understatement.
Thus, this last Monday, we decided to hold a session introducing the Epsom community to feminism… from the eyes of an anti-feminist. You’re probably thinking: “That’s slightly peculiar.” Some of you may even find the concept a bit confusing, I know. But think of it this way: picture yourself going on an expedition – it’s just that you’d be taking the long way ‘round!
Hosted by Maya (that’s me!) of Year 10, there were three main objectives of this presentation: debunking stereotypes of feminists set by prominent anti-feminists, breaking down the misconceptions that fuel the anti-feminist argument, alongside answering your queries on the feminist movement and what it stands for.
To start off the session, we looked at three quotes which were inherently anti-feminist; to name the quotees, the list included Phyllis Schlafly, Sigmund Freud, and Golda Meir. From facial expressions of bewilderment to intriguing anecdotes from teachers, this session was one filled with productive, thought-provoking discussion and participants being open to perspective-taking.
Taking this opportunity to (shamelessly) promote our society, we would like to extend our invitation for you to attend our first session upon returning from half-term break! We will be talking about Internalized Misogyny, and the session will be hosted by Pei Wen from Year 11.
This time around last year, neither of us would have ever thought that we would be involved in an academic society, let alone leading one. It is still something that is difficult to fathom. During our search for projects beyond the classroom, we were recommended to start the ScienZ society. This was an amazing idea, reading about your favourite scientific phenomena is great, but discussing them with other people is on another level. It was a great way to channel our passion for science whilst learning essential soft skills from new experiences along the way.
Ultimately, the ScienZ society’s main purpose is to provide a space to discuss open-ended questions related to science. Our sessions usually consist of an informative presentation relevant to the topic, followed by a discussion and questions. The topics range from what dreams are to the hidden meaning behind ‘kills 99% germs’. Being a student-led academic society, we are free to discuss and learn more about each other’s favourite scientific phenomena.
Bringing forth thought-provoking questions and looking at things from a different perspective are highly valued in the ScienZ society sessions and this makes us enjoy these activities immensely. Recently, for the last session as the founding Core members (Kirsten, Taranie, Hinata, Bryan and Chris), we talked about marine life. Inquisitive discourse on the impact of zoos and aquariums brought light to the question of whether or not humans have the right to expect entertainment from animals. Along with that, we discussed the impacts of collecting shells from beaches. We truly enjoy running the ScienZ society.
With that said, we are handing the society down to the new, very capable and promising, core members. Although we are sad to let the society go, we are excited for the amazing experiences that the new core members will gain from their roles, and will continue to cheer them on from the sidelines. Thankfully, we are still able to attend the discussions. We cannot wait for what they have in store and hope that they enjoy running the ScienZ society as much as we have.