FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 84 - Epsom College in Malaysia

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FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 84

Headmaster’s Review

Dear Parents,

I hope that all the pupils enjoyed a restful half-term break, following a very busy few weeks at the start of term. Although it has been unusual to resume term in mid-week, it is always wonderful to witness the return of pupils to school after a holiday period and see them enjoying all that Epsom has to offer. This was especially the case in the Prep School, with ‘high spirits’ in force for Thursday’s Halloween celebrations.

The half-term break was preceded by the magnificent extravaganza of the House Choral Competition and it was a delightful spectacle, composed of splendid musical innovation and exceptional pupil endeavour. Well done to all who participated and thank you to all parents, and guardians, for their attendance at this event. The excellence of the Choral Competition is referenced in several of this Flyer’s articles.

As is customary, the latter half of this term will feature numerous exciting events, for pupils and parents alike: sporting tournaments, musical and drama productions (for Prep and Senior Schools), insightful academic talks (highlighting topical discourse on issues pertaining to A-level study), House Social occasions and all rounded off, of course, with the fanfare of celebratory events at the end of term. Within this rich canopy of stimulating calendar highlights, please rest assured that our pervasive priority remains the academic and pastoral welfare of your children. As Headmaster, I applaud the undoubted progression of our pupils this term, as inquisitive young learners, and I am very much looking forward to commending this scale of achievement in our end of term Assemblies.

On a further calendar point to end: Monday 11th November will mark our annual College Remembrance Assembly to commemorate Armistice Day and the events of both World Wars (and subsequent conflicts). This is scheduled to start in the Duke of York Theatre at 10.30am and parents are most welcome to attend. Further details will be available through the Head of Prep School or respective Boarding Housemasters/Mistresses.

I hope you enjoy reading the articles in this Friday Flyer.

With best wishes,

Dr Tod
Headmaster


Key Stage 3 (KS3) Assembly

Is technology the bane of modern life? This was a question that was asked of the pupils in KS3 at a recent assembly. The answer is complex and it certainly has an impact on how we run the College and Boarding Houses. Certainly technology, as it developed through the decades, has given us the potential of regaining ‘time’. The humble vacuum cleaner and washing machine has made day to day life simpler and with this has come an increase in the time we have for leisure and recreation.

The additional ‘time’ children of a bygone era gained from technology was put to excellent use: climbing, cycling and using their imagination. Whilst some of the activities may seem old and outdated, the value of such activities remains relevant.

However, as technology has become omnipresent, there has been a worrying trend. The time it initially gave the population is now being clawed back to such an extent that technology is potentially taking up too much of our time; the social media trawl, the inevitable email checks and a lack of downtime are some examples of the impingement of technology on our free time. In fact evidence suggests children are reading less and missing all important sleep targets and there is a direct correlation to screen time.

Mr Ian Squires
Assistant Head (Boarding)


Meet the New Head of English –  Russell Smith

Upon his arrival in Epsom, the new Head of English quickly established a name as the local fashionista, with an impressive collection of over 30 suits! I was fortunate enough to exchange a few words with Mr Smith and gain insight of his experience at Epsom College in Malaysia so far.

Mr Smith has plenty of teaching experience as a Head of Department and Head of Year. He is no stranger to Malaysia, having taught in Taylor’s International School prior to joining Epsom. He was first drawn to Epsom by its stellar reputation as a British boarding school, especially with regards to the high standard of education upheld by the College. The myriad of activities offered, whether academic or extra-curricular, is another main aspect of Epsom’s attraction. “The College represents all that I hoped to find in education whilst I was studying and it offers me the opportunity to be a part of that for the future leaders of tomorrow,” says Mr Smith.

There is no doubt that Mr Smith exudes an unmistakable passion for his job. He strongly believes that a teacher’s responsibility is to adapt and cater to each student’s needs in order for them to learn effectively. He is endlessly devoted to the English department and makes sure that there is variety in his teaching methods so that students continue to find learning exciting and inspiring. In fact, Mr Smith has the privilege of teaching his favourite novel at A-level, which is ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

A closing word of advice from Mr Smith: “Live your life for yourselves and no one else”. I am confident that the English department will continue to flourish under Mr Smith’s excellent leadership.

Ms Alea Yang Ni
Head of College


Carr House

On Friday October 11th we took our seats in the Duke of York Theatre full of nervous anticipation for the night ahead. For the three rounds we would be performing the James Bond Theme (instrumental), an acapella version of Viva La Vida by Coldplay (part song) and Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen (unison song). Many hours of preparation had gone into all three performances and our final rehearsals showed that we were ready. The whole night was a fantastic success with so many brilliant performances from all of the Houses. Whilst the Carr House boys may have been disappointed not to have reached the ‘top spots’, everyone threw themselves into their performances and had a wonderfully fun evening. It was also a fantastically galvanising experience that helped to bring the whole House together. Special mention must go to Duchan, our “Freddie of Freddie“, for his brave solo introduction at the beginning of the the unison and to Faizi, Lucas and Youngmok who took part in all three performances. Well done everyone!

Pupil voice is very important in Carr House. Family groups and House Council meetings provide opportunities for the pupils to have their say on improvements that could be made to the house. Based on their feedback we have acquired new games for the PlayStation, made some small adjustments to the daily routine, bought new ping pong bats to replace the old tired ones, and made some improvements to the decor of the house. With a new carpet in the main common area and plants for the Carr House entrance there is definitely a more homely vibe. The boys have requested more ‘chill out spaces’ in the house so we have already begun to identify areas where this can happen.

We want our pupils to feel part of a tight knit community here in Carr House. After all ‘no man is an island’ and the sense of wellbeing that results from belonging to a strong community is an absolute prerequisite for academic success. There are many ways that this happens in Carr. One example is on a pupil’s birthday. The birthday boy’s Carr House family will get together to bake a cake for him and then share in the celebration. Here you can see Reo and Imran with their birthday cakes:

Carr boys have continued to impress with their achievements. Here are some of the highlights from the past few weeks

Duchan ~ Soi Chiong ~ Faizi ~ Koutatsu

Mohamed Asheer ~ Jaeam

Congratulations to the following pupils for an excellent haul of merits:

Nik Imran 34 ~ Zakri 37 ~ Youngmok 53

Vash Aezley 39 ~ Lucas 27 ~ Faizi 27 ~ Soi Chiong 26

Jayden 33 ~ Duchan 27

On Thursday 17th October Imran and Lucas were commended in the Key Stage 3 awards assembly for their fantastic attitude to learning and achievement as seen in their end of term reports. Keep up the good work boys!

Mr Mark Loveday
Carr Housemaster


Granville House

At Granville we have welcomed the beginning of a new half term with a review of the first half term and some goal setting for the half term ahead.

August to October saw some great achievements in the House, as well as a few near misses. All were handled in the typical Granville way of giving our all, enjoying what we do and adding that little bit of Granvillian flare.

The House Choral had to be the biggest event of the half term and as reigning champions the pressure was on the boys, especially having to follow tradition and lead off in each round. As my musical experience comes from the Brit pop era of 1990s UK, the boys took the lead. There are some great musicians and developing leaders in the house, and it was wonderful to facilitate and see them showing their creativity, talent and enthusiasm for this competition. The overall position of 3rd was a little disappointing for the boys, but the quality from all the Houses was a real step up from the previous year. However, first place in the new Instrumental round saw Granville again setting the standard for all to follow next year. Well done to Timothy, Aqiel, Afiq, Howard, Jaewon, Derick, Kheng Hon and especially Mikael for their outstanding effort in the instrumental.

In the Park Run on Friday 4th October, we managed to more than double the number of Granville students participating in the previous event, and Scott went on to win the event. A great achievement for a Year 11 student, well done Scott.

The last week of the half term saw the House Badminton competition. Again there was a really great effort, whereby every available boy from the House participated and gave a huge effort. We competed game for game against Propert for the top 10 ranked pairs and they crept ahead in ranks 11-20 which saw us beaten but by no means defeated. Howard and Azim as the top pairing showed some great leadership as Year 11s in helping to organise and encourage the rest of the House to get stuck in.

Afiq has continued with his efforts as Head of House and has continued to impress with his developing leadership qualities which came to the front during the House Choral. He also led a ‘Rubber Head’ Lecture in the Grayling Centre (Sixth Form centre) last month entitled ‘How video gaming saved my life’. He was a little nervous in the build up with 30mins to fill, but It was a truly inspiring presentation and everyone who saw him speak was impressed with his confidence and the revelations he made during his lecture.

The top family of the first half term was Poseidon (Afiq, Timothy, Naoki, Scott, Yazarn, Kenny, Weiting, Ammar, Steven and Kai) who demonstrated not only the greatest cohesion, but also receiving the most merits with an average of 8.5. Kai was the star of the family with 20 merits, although he was narrowly beaten by Drexel with 22 for the top individual in the house.

Looking forward to this next half of term, I’m sure we will again see a wide variety of successes inside and outside of the classroom both individually and as groups. The boys were all challenged this week to set some SMART goals for the 7 weeks ahead. The aim is to encourage them to strive to be the best they can be and not just cruise along from one week to the next. We will also have a focus on developing greater independence and personal accountability, whilst further developing community spirit and awareness around the House, school and outside of the college. Living in a boarding house is a great opportunity to learn and develop a wide range of life skills in a safe and forgiving environment, and at Granville we aim to develop true gentlemen.

Mr John Foden
Granville Housemaster


Holman House

House Choral
After a build-up to the competition lasting several weeks, and involving dozens of hours spent practising for the whole house unison, part-song and instrumental, Holman boys did themselves proud upon the night through their performances. Competing against older and more accomplished musicians always meant that we would be facing a struggle to compete but the boys produced some polished performances in the instrumental and part-song and special mention should go to Issa, Shan Wei, Gerard, Henry, Aiden and Hitesh for their roles in bringing things together. The musical extravaganza concluded with some show stopping performances by the Houses in the unison element of the competition. Holman delivered their interpretation of a Queen medley featuring the hit singles Bohemian Rapsody, Rock Me, Somebody to Love, Radio GaGa and We are the Champions. The boys produced a fantastic performance that incorporated both song and dance and ultimately achieved the dizzying heights of third place for this part of the overall competition, beating far more experienced and larger Houses. Finishing in such a high spot was no less than their efforts deserved and left us hungry for next year. A huge thank you and congratulations must also be given to Mr Moore who assisted the boys throughout the event and without whose help we would have failed to fulfil our potential.

Pizza
Following on from their successes in the House Choral competition, the boys of Holman House enjoyed their pizza as a reward for all of their hard work and effort. It was nice to see so many of the boys joining together to share memories of the event over their food.

Weekend Activities
Holman and Carr Houses joined together during Mr Nichols’ weekend duty to play a couple of matches of football. This was an impromptu event but a great time was had by all and it helped to demonstrate the bond between the two Houses and to also illustrate a healthy competitive spirit between them.

Mr. Pedro, as the AHMM of Holman House, also began his cooking club activities with the boys. This followed on from an earlier event in which the boys baked some cookies with Mr. Nichols and this certainly looks like becoming a popular activity for Mr. Pedro during future duties.

Disco
The girls of Crawfurd and Rosebery very kindly and generously hosted Holman House boys in a half-term disco during the last week of the half-term. The event was a huge success with some initial ice-breaker activities being followed by the very popular snacks and then the opportunity to dance the evening away. Everest undoubtedly proved himself to be one of the stars of the show through his mesmerizing K-pop routines. In addition to this, there were several conga lines being formed and some intricate dance moves being perfected as the boys and girls all enjoyed their evening. A massive thanks to the Housemistresses of Rosebery and Crawfurd for inviting us along.

Key Stage 3 Assembly: Mobile Devices and Half-Term Awards
As the half-term drew to a close, there was an opportunity for the first Key Stage 3 assembly to be held. This was able to highlight the importance of proper sleep patterns for the boys and emphasised the key issue of electronic devices preventing pupil brains from relaxing properly before bed. As such, we have decided to adopt the sensible and medically supported advice of collecting in all devices from pupils within the House by 9pm each evening. The boys will still have plenty of time to contact parents after Prep concludes but by adopting such a proactive approach, we are hoping to encourage increased social interaction, additional time for reading, and the correct conditions for a good night’s sleep.

Finally, it was fantastic to see two of Holman’s boys being rewarded for their academic efforts and achievements throughout the first half of the term. Luca and Shan Wei were very deserving recipients of these awards and I hope to see more boys pushing themselves to achieve academic success throughout the run-up to Christmas.

Mr Darren Nichols
Holman Housemaster


Preparing for Mock Interviews

Year 13 have been busy preparing for their Cambridge University interviews. By the time you read this article, they will have completed their interviews and will be looking forward to their admissions tests!

We asked Year 13 what their advice would be to younger pupils who may well find themselves in a similar position in the near future. Here are the words of wisdom that were offered:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other people – there is lots of subject specific expertise available and people are always willing to help. There is a network of current undergraduates, graduates, academics and professionals available to help you at ECiM.
  • Seize as many opportunities as possible – get involved with the Debating Society and Super curricular CCAs, come to the regular university talks and seminars, listen to BBC Radio 4 (there is something for everyone!), discuss your learning with your friends and use every opportunity afforded to you to push yourself intellectually.
  • Practise practise practise – no need for a further explanation here!
  • Read both widely and in depth – there are reading lists available – ask if you do not know where to start.
  • Think out loud, verbalise your thought process – it is good to get used to the sound of your own voice as you prepare for interview.
  • Take your time to think through your answer, don’t blurt out a response – the purpose of the interview is to see how you think. It is not a test of your knowledge (this is done in the exams) but rather an exercise in seeing whether you are right for a course where you will have to discuss in small groups and explain yourself.
  • Apply your knowledge to different contexts, think outside the box – look for links across subjects e.g. how does what you are learning in Geography link to what you study in Science and how does it apply to the real world? One example of this is the ‘haze’ situation we encountered recently.
  • Being uncomfortable and pushed to your limit is good – if you find something easy then you are not being challenged enough. It is OK not to know everything, be excited at the prospect of learning more and be ready to explain what it is that you do not understand as part of the interview.
  • Have more confidence in yourself – self-belief is important. If you have made it to the interview stage then it means that you are good enough. Focus on your achievements to date and the fact that you have made it this far. Be confident in your own ability.
  • Have fun! If you love your subject then let your enthusiasm shine through in the interview. Interviewers are looking for students who are genuinely excited at the prospect of dedicating the next few years of their lives to the study of their chosen subject.

Mrs Catherine Carden-Brown
Assistant Head (Staff Development) & Head of Higher Education & Careers


Halloween

We had a very spooky Halloween celebration in the Prep School this week.

As part of the ‘Best Dressed House’ competition, children needed to come to school according to the following instructions:

  • Crawfurd Cats & Witches
  • Rosebery Vampires & Bats
  • Propert Zombies & Skeletons
  • Granville Ghouls & Ghosts

Ms Townsend decided that Propert was the ‘Best Dressed’ house and they won 20 House Points for their efforts.

Another competition that took place was the ‘Halloween Decorated Door’, which involved the classroom doors being decorated following their costume theme. On Wednesday, the children had a lot of fun creating their designs. Ms Eglite was very proud of her winning Rosebery door.

During the day, children from Years 3 to 6 visited the senior boarding Houses to take part in Halloween-themed activities led by the prefects. The younger children always enjoy such opportunities.

During Halloween afternoon, Epsom Prep had a very exciting time celebrating. There was a frightening Haunted House, cookie decorating, Trick or Treat, an Amazing Race and French songs. As always, we had great support from parents, particularly with the cookie decorating and the Haunted House.

Next week, we look forward to celebrating Deepavali when the children will be making cards and Mandala designs, enjoying some delicious food and learning some dances.

Mr Stephen McElhinney
Head of Prep School


Sports Update

An extremely successful afternoon of football saw the U13, U15, U18 boys’ and U15, U18 girls’ squads compete in the annual ‘Matrix Soccer 7s Tournament’. This tournament also involves KTJ and UCSI international schools and is one of the footballing highlights of the season. All of the squads played exceptionally well, lead by their captains Kit, Fernanda, Afiq, Minami and Leo. Players demonstrated teamwork and togetherness as well as footballing skill with all games played in the correct manner; with respect for their opponents.

U15 and U18 boys’ and girls’ squads finished in 1st place and the U13 boys’ squad played their first fixtures of the season and showed exciting promise for the future.

All players were a credit to the College and this was good preparation for the biggest event in the football calendar; Phuket Soccer 7s.

Coaches Nadzirah and Macey took the U18 girls’ Touch Rugby squad to Kuala Lumpur where they competed against various schools and universities across Malaysia. The girls represented the College impeccably, demonstrating excellent teamwork and spirit which allowed them to maintain their unbeaten streak throughout the tournament. Tries from Venesse (4), Tia (2) and Joie helped the girls reach the final. Both Alea and Jordan chose the perfect time to score their first tries of the day as Epsom were victorious in the final. This was a fantastic way to start the Touch Rugby season which I am sure will be littered with success. Well done to everyone involved.

Mr Daniel Jeffries
Director of Sport


Scholars’ Dinner

On the penultimate night of the half-term, Stephen Ottewell (Deputy Head Pastoral) and Jon Barker (Assistant Head – Sixth Form) took the Upper Sixth scholars out for dinner at Dubai Towers in Nilai. It has been an extremely busy half-term for them all. On top of their usual lessons, some of them have survived their first A-level paper; some have organised their House Choral performances; all have been in the House Choral performances; some have led the College as prefects; some have been part of the rugby and/or football squads that have had tournament victories in the last fortnight; and they have all submitted their university applications. It is certainly time for a rest and they were all looking forward to a break over the half-term.

With offers for Oxbridge interviews now coming in, the students continue to have a busy time ahead. After introducing each other to Mr Ottewell, the focus of the dinner was on supporting one another and working well together during this crucial year.

For some it was the first time that they had eaten Arabic food and it certainly went down well, even if they had been uncertain of the menu initially.

We are sure that this enjoyable event will be the first of many and we look forward to the continued success of our Scholars.

Mr Jon Barker
Assistant Head (Sixth Form)