FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 83 - Epsom College in Malaysia

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FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 83

Headmaster’s Review

The last fortnight has witnessed a number of social events held at the Headmaster’s House and it has been a real privilege to entertain both parents and pupils on these occasions. In addition to celebrating the endeavours of both College Prefects and Bank Negara Scholars at successive Wednesday lunches, the HM’s House also hosted a lively entourage of  Year 4-6 Prep School parents for a Friday Coffee Morning. It was a delightful atmosphere, with engaging and insightful conversation throughout, and I hope that the parents enjoyed seeing the Headmaster in relaxed mode and presenting a speech in his socks! We look forward to hosting many more such occasions, for Prep School and Senior School parents, and the dates of these will be circulated in due course.

Another recent highlight centred on our ‘Pink October Mufti Day’ on Tuesday 8th October, with the pupils and staff contributing RM5 each to don items of pink in their attire that day, and thus giving generously to the worthy cause of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It was marvellous to look out upon the College Assembly on that Tuesday morning, presented beautifully by two College Prefects, and see such a festival of colour in the Duke of York Theatre. As always at ECiM, the pupils deserve huge credit and respect for the manner in which they approach these important events.

As a concluding theme, as I write these words the Houses are in full throng preparing for the spectacle of the House Choral Competition. I wish all the pupils, across all year groups, the very best of luck for tonight’s musical feast and I hope all attending parents have a marvellous time. I have no doubt that all our pupils will rise to the occasion and feel thoroughly buoyed by the experience. As the Friday Flyer is a fortnightly publication, with half-term break starting on Saturday 19th October, can I also take this opportunity to thank all of the Epsom community for their contributions over this first half-term of the year. It has been a very busy few weeks but, I hope, also a remarkably enriching time period.

With thanks and best wishes to you all for the forthcoming half-term break,

Dr Tod
Headmaster


An Interview with the Housemaster of Holman: Mr Nichols

What does Holman House stand for?
Holman House stands for being a happy house and a productive one; a house at which the students support one another and try their best in whatever they do .

Although it is early days, is there anything you wish to change about the House?
Yes, I’d love to decorate all through the House with the decorations that the boys want to see in their House. So in order to achieve this, I have been holding House Council meetings with the boys to decide on how to carry this out according to their preferences. I am delighted with their ability to engage and give out their ideas.

What do you like about the House and do you feel any pressure taking on a new House?
I enjoy the challenge of developing a new House from scratch; you could say that at the start of term, it was like painting onto a blank canvas. As Holman is the newest House of the college, building up a culture and identity of the House is of vital importance for all pupils. I am well aware that it will take time to bring the house together, but I strongly believe that competitions such as the House Choral will play a huge part in doing so.

Where do you see Holman in 5 to 10 years?
I would like Holman to be the House of choice in the future. The House perceived by parents, and the whole College, as the House that provides younger students with the experience and skills for a smooth transition into the senior Houses. Equipping Holman boys for much success in their educational journey through Epsom College.

Ms Chanel Ng
Deputy Head of College


Boarding Trips

Ah, might as well jump
(Jump)
Might as well jump
Go ahead an’ jump (jump)
Go ahead and jump
Ow oh, hey you

Fans of ‘soft rock’ will recognise these lyrics from the American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Van Halen were known for their energetic live shows and “Jump” would be one of their most famous records.

What tenuous link does this have to boarding trips? The link is less tenuous than you may think. Firstly, the boarders recently visited Jump Street. So we have the first commonality – a name. Secondly, much like Van Halen on stage, those involved were very energetic and all forms of shapes and poses were thrown by students and staff. Commonality number two. Thirdly, much fun was had by all and a fun record is essentially what  Van Halen’s Jump is; one suspects it is still a leader in the world of air guitar in bedrooms around the world.

I would say there was one area where the venn diagram of similarity did not overlap. None of our pupils had bleach blond mullets, were wearing sparkly jumpsuits, or leather jackets – certainly not in this climate! I strongly suspect this will never be the case, unless House Choral throws up some major surprises!

Mr Ian Squires
Assistant Head (Boarding)


Crawfurd House

Last Friday saw what has now become an ECiM tradition of an evening Park Run. This time I challenged the girls to take part if they hadn’t before and it was amazing to see them rise to the challenge. I am always most proud of the girls when I see them pushing themselves out of their comfort zones and this was a great example of their bravery and willingness to attempt something new, even if it’s not something they would normally consider themselves good at.

The Park Run is also part of our in-house push on healthy lifestyles where we have been partaking in activities to improve our overall well-being. This includes learning about how the brain works best, using planners to organise our study time, having earlier bedtimes and device free nights. Improving healthy eating through learning to bake healthy snacks and aiming for 50% vegetables in our Dining Hall food choices is also beneficial.

Finally, we have been focusing on relaxation and social strategies to improve mental well-being. One particular highlight of this was our quality time with the Prep School. Our Head of House, Deputy Head of House, Head of College and Deputy Head of College had the privilege of being involved in the appointment of the prep school Head of Crawfurd for this year and then welcoming the prep school Crawfurd games for a breaktime treat of board games and candy at the boarding house. I’m not sure if the Seniors or Juniors enjoyed themselves more!

Mrs Sophie Hill
Crawfurd Housemistress


Propert House

Repetition, or repeating an action over and over, might be deemed boring. Of course, this depends on the action. Eating for instance, is one area the boys never tire of. Another such area would be looking in the mirror, this action never loses its allure, irrespective of how many times it is repeated.

However, repetition in areas of life that would be lower on the satisfaction ranking is another more delicate matter. Making one’s bed, or tidying a bedroom might be two such examples. Completion of homework, would be another relevant topic. Whilst the teachers try to develop purposeful tasks, sometimes overlearning is required and at these points repetition is vital. The boys are being taught that these ‘hard yards’ behind closed doors are very important and the foundations on which their academic success will be based. To their credit they generally respond positively and the academic focus during Prep is excellent.

Alongside this, there are other areas where the repetition can quickly become a bore. House Choral for instance. The general trend is this – initial excitement as we undertake singing trials. It is novel, often of a poor quality and generally due to the quality very funny. Next comes learning the Unison Song. Again this is novel and we have no great aspiration and can use the lyrics sheets to limit thinking capacity. However, and this is when it becomes difficult, after this repetition becomes an absolute must. Polishing the performance requires hard work and there simply is no shortcut. In this action, the realisation that perseverance is a quality worth demonstrating, we get to one of the real values of House Choral. To get 54 boys to sing together requires repeated hard work and this mirrors life. Behind every successful talent is often supported and maximised by a work ethic. We will have maximised our potential come the night of the performance of the Unison. That the talent ceiling might be middling is irrelevant as we would have ensured we have done everything possible to maximise our potential.

Of course there are times that we have an opportunity to undertake something more novel and it has been great to witness our Year 13 boys offer their time to talk to the student body in the Rubber Head talks in the Grayling Centre and in our own House assemblies. We have listened to talks on Hong Kong, Microphages, Economics, Malaysia and Indonesia’s football rivalry and toxic masculinity. The boys delivered their talks with confidence and what was pleasing was that we all know that behind the scenes some old fashioned hard work was undertaken to make the presentations look so effortless.

Talking of confidence we also had 3 boys in India representing the College at the annual Round Square conference; Daniel, You Cong and Manfred. It is great to see the Propert tie travelling so far and wide and passing the House motto, which roughly translates to perseverance, to others.

Mr Ian Squires
Assistant Head (Boarding)


Rosebery House

It’s the final count down…..  to House Choral, and we are super excited to showcase all of the hard work that the girls have put into preparing for this event. This is the first time that the junior and senior girls will perform together as one House. I have to admit I was unsure as to how this was going to turn out, however, upon reflection I really had very little to worry about as it has been such a natural process. The Year 13s have taken on leadership roles in encouraging, guiding and demonstrating to the younger girls the dance routines and singing skills. They have also, in a controlled and big sisterly way, encouraged the younger girls to take part, let loose and most importantly have a huge amount of fun performing together. Fingers crossed for a favourable outcome.

One of the main focuses this year from a House perspective is to build better links with the Prep school. To kickstart this I was honoured to be invited to attend the Prep School assembly to announce the House Captain of Rosebery House. Shiho was chosen as the Rosebery House Captain and I was delighted to meet her and hand over her certificate. The next day our Head of House, Venesse, Deputy Head of House, Miina, accompanied by Rosebery House Prefects brought the Prep school Rosebarians to the House for a meet and greet session. During this time the girls enjoyed some cupcake decorating followed by devouring their hard labour much to their enjoyment. The girls were given the chance to ask questions about what life as a senior Rosebarian was like as well as finding out a little more about what boarding is like. All had a great time and we look forward to our next big event which will be for Halloween, where we hope to get the girls involved in some spooooooky activities, we can’t wait!

After a pretty tough September, it was time to award the girls who have excelled in the classroom and in the House. Rosebarians are renowned for their academic success and this year is proving to be no different. We awarded certificates to the highest Merit scorers in each Year group, these girls have been given Merits for hard work, excellent effort, achieving excellent test scores, showing great values in the House to name but a few. It gave me great pleasure to present certificates to Ryoko in Year 8, Pei Wen and Yi En in Year 9, Elizabeth in Year 10, Kirsten and Yi Chen Year 11, Cyn Thea and Tia in Year 12 and Venesse and Yasmine in Year 13. I also awarded the Rosebery House Award and there were two worthy winners this month; Jenny was awarded the certificate for integrating so well into the House and for going out of her way to make the other girls feel looked after, happy and loved. I fail to recall a time when Jenny has not had a big smile on her face this half term. The second certificate was awarded to Sora, she has amazed me with her maturity in the House this half term, she has pushed herself out of her comfort zone on so many occasions by taking on the KS3 House College rep position and to top it all she took part in a College Assembly with Mr Brown which is a huge achievement for Sora. Well done to all our deserved winners for the Month of September. Let us see who shines in the Month of October.

Ms Jenny Mitchell
Rosebery Housemistress


Prep School Review

One of our focus foundations this year is ‘Power’. We intend to develop student power through increasing the role of student voice and choice within lessons, as well as expanding the roles of Head of School, Vice Head of School, House Captains and Student Council members.

Following a rigorous interview process, Juny has been appointed Head of School and Yunn Xynn is Vice Head of School. Qaid, Jun Hong, Shiho and Adrianna were appointed House Captains. Juny and Yunn Xynn will play an increasing role within Prep assemblies, give speeches, take part in committees and liaise with teachers. The House Captains will lead House meetings and help to instil a greater sense of house spirit and competition.

Within lessons, student voice and choice is integral to the success of Project-Based Learning (PBL). Epsom Prep has adopted the PBL approach to its teaching of Science, History and Geography. The children now have greater ownership over their own learning. This may involve choosing how to solve the driving question, how to present their ideas or the development of assessment materials. We strongly believe that children become more engaged in their learning when they play an active part, and this has already been evident in the first half-term of PBL lessons.

We will also look to develop ‘Gratitude’ this year by assigning a local charity or NGO to each Prep class. Their causes include protecting Malaysian animal species, preventing deforestation and supporting refugees. During the year, each class will complete a project that will support their charity. This may involve fundraising or raising awareness of the cause.

Although ‘Connection’ was one of last year’s focus foundations, we will endeavour to maintain the links developed previously. On Friday 20th September, we held the first ‘Coffee with the Head of Prep’ event, where parents had the opportunity to meet Mr Ottewell, the Deputy Head (Academic), and Mrs Chhoa, the Mandarin liaison. Shortly afterwards, the first Open Morning took place on Tuesday 24th September. Many parents took up the opportunity to observe and take part in their children’s lessons.

Mr Stephen McElhinney
Head of Prep School


Sunset Serenade

The first Sunset Serenade of the year took place on Thursday 26th September and was attended by an audience of parents, teachers and students. The first of the year’s musical events featured past and present GCSE Music students showcasing some of the best of the College’s musical talent.

Held on the first floor mezzanine level as the sun set, the concert started with former GCSE student You Cong Lim playing Flight of the BumbleBee by Rimsky Korsakov. You Cong achieved 100% in the performance part of his Music GCSE last year, on the way to achieving a grade 9 overall, and his flamboyant performance of this virtuosic piece was a great way to set the mood for the evening.

Next up was Ashley Lim from Year 10 who performed the first movement of Vivaldi’s Concerto for Violin in A minor. Ashley co-led the Carr – Wilson Orchestra last year and has continued her excellent violin playing in Year 10.

The main feature of the concert were the performances by the Year 11 GCSE class. This year’s class will soon be recording their coursework and this was an opportunity to show friends and family the pieces that they will record. From the sounds of their performances, there should be more students achieving 100% this year.

The Year 11s were Mikael Darhim Hashim, Enjee Jeon, Taranie Shanker and Wee Tze Lai on Piano; Yi Chen Lee on Violin, and Shiva Raveenderen and Hirotsugu Takami on Saxophone. New Director of Music, Mr Russell Crann, accompanied the students on the piano.

Thank you to everyone who attended and well done to all of the performers for a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable evening.

Mr Russell Crann
Director of Music


CCA

This term, CCA has kicked off with over 85 activities on offer each week. These broad and varied activities are based in four key activity areas: Sport, Performing Arts, Community Service and Extended Curriculum. More than ever, students are encouraged to experience the breadth of opportunity on offer at the College – students with the most varied CCA record at the end of Term Two will be taken on an exciting reward trip! It’s fantastic to see so many students embracing the ‘Epsom Way’: well-rounded and balanced students, exploring new areas of interest and challenging themselves to step outside of their comfort zone.

Some exciting new CCAs have been added to an already busy schedule; such as Archery, Ten-Pin Bowling and Model Making with Cardboard. Meanwhile, some previously existing CCAs have been taken up enthusiastically by some of our new staff including Chess Club, Rock Climbing and the F1 in Schools Competition. There is truly something on offer for every student at Epsom this term!

Despite some unfortunate disruption due to the haze and seasonal rainfall, once given the ‘green light’, CCAs have been widely enjoyed by students across the school. Each Friday, a different boarding House has written ‘Shout Outs’ to their CCA staff to thank them for their hard work. Here are some student testimonials:

Ms Olivia Archibald
Head of Co-curricular Activities


Sports Academy Programme

At ECiM, we run a Sports Academy Programme for our pupils that either compete at a high level outside of the College or are excellent all round athletes that represent the College in a number of different sports. Pupils selected are grouped with one of our five high performance coaches, many of whom currently represent their state and/or Malaysia. Pupils receive personal training programmes as well as advice and tips on how to improve performance, maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve fitness levels specific to their sport/event. The coaches will be on hand to help pupils remain motivated and give them the guidance that is so important for young people in sport performance.

Coaches meet with pupils at least once every two weeks and discuss how their training is progressing, what events they have in the future, review specific goals and discuss recent achievements. Pupils are issued with a Sports Academy booklet which is used to document all meetings and fitness testing results, as well as a performer profile specific to individuals and a review which will take place at the end of every term to ensure progression.

Coaches also deliver a number of sports specific seminars throughout the year, focusing on many different areas such as nutrition, goal setting, interest in sport etc. These seminars are fantastic ways for our athletes to gain advice from National athletes and pick up helpful tips that can give them the edge in future competition.

Not only does the Sports Academy Programme improve pupil performance, it also helps to improve organisational skills and create a growth mindset which can make all the difference in sporting competition.

If you wish to find out more or enquire about the Sports Academy Programme, please do not hesitate to contact ECiM’s Director of Sports, Daniel Jeffries, for further details.

Mr Daniel Jeffries
Director of Sport