Headmaster’s Review

Dear Parents,

I hope that you are all well.

On some occasions, it is important for the whole College community to come together, to act as one, and to reflect on events of real magnitude. Our College Assembly on Monday was one such occasion. The 11th November 2019 marked 101 years since the end of the First World War and we took time on Monday, in our Remembrance Service, to remember the sacrifices of all those who fought in, and experienced, the battlegrounds of World War One. Last year, in 2018, we had recalled the accounts of those who experienced the devastating events of 100 years ago, paying respect and admiration to all those involved, including the brave young men from Epsom College UK who perished between 1914 – 1918.

This year, however, we also highlighted the initial great hope and jubilation that many people felt at the end of World War One, followed by the despair of tragic events such as the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic. A cohort of Year 9 pupils took to the stage to enact contemporary readings from the post-War era and were remarkably evocative in portraying the range of emotions that individuals experienced in these tumultuous years. It is worth recalling that many young men would return home in 1918 and 1919 as badly damaged individuals, both mentally and physically, and 41,000 men returned to Britain from the war missing an arm or a leg.

Nevertheless, our main theme in the Remembrance Service, on the 11th November, focused on remembering all those who fought, and gave their lives, in all conflicts since 1914. The College community stood to poignantly pay tribute to the Laying of the Wreath, the Last Post and the two-minute silence. Indeed, this was particularly pertinent, with Monday 11th November representing the 100 year anniversary of the first two-minute silence to be held, when King George V of England proclaimed the need for a two-minute silence to allow ‘the thoughts of everyone to be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.’ At Epsom College in Malaysia, especially with our British heritage and connections, we take pride and respect in remembering all involved in these conflicts.

Thank you for reading this publication.

Dr Tod

Crawfurd House

Perhaps some of the most obvious benefits of boarding for parents are the time gained for academic study and the very high level of support offered throughout evenings, and weekends, to ensure our pupils reach their full academic potential. What is sometimes less obvious however, are the opportunities for pupils to develop their social skills and become involved in a very wide range of enrichment activities.This ensures that when they leave us they can really thrive at university and beyond. For this edition of the Friday Flyer I have chosen to highlight a few examples of social and other enrichment activities in which the girls have been involved over the last few weeks.

Our End of Half Term breakfast was an opportunity to acknowledge all the hard work the girls had put in during September and October. They got to try local food (for the first time in some cases) and spend some time interacting with each other, reflecting on what they had achieved already.

Our focus for Deepavali this year was the creation of our own Rangoli (coloured rice art) as a House. Various different groups contributed over a week to create a visually impressive piece of art which is thought to bring good luck. The girls found the experience very therapeutic and it allowed them to learn more about other cultures.

We have a tradition of working together to decorate the House for different festivals and this year our Halloween decorating was no different, girls from different year groups worked together to transform the common areas of the House ready for our Halloween celebrations. This was closely followed by the Prep Halloween Visit in which our Sixth Form girls taught our visitors from the Prep school how to fold paper baskets which they decorated for Halloween. It was lovely to see the prep students arrive in their costumes!

Our own Halloween celebration was a Potluck Supper in which pupils brought back food from their own cultures to share with the House. We had a range of options provided by the pupils with some excellent baking skills on display! At the weekend, the full boarders relaxed on Saturday evening with a Halloween Film Night in which they were introduced to a film that none of them had seen before and managed to scare themselves silly!

Another opportunity to step out of our comfort zones was represented by the Park Run in which we had many girls participate for their first time. It was really positive to see so many pupils get involved and surprise themselves by being able to complete 1, 2 or even 3 laps of the vast school grounds.

The younger girls have been treated to social ‘discos’ with each of the Junior Boys Houses over the last few weeks and these have been expertly organised by the Heads of House from the two senior Houses. The prefects have run ice breaker activities and then prepared a very well-received playlist. Hopefully the teachers didn’t cramp their style too much!

Finally, on Thursday we had our attempt at this year’s House Challenge. We were not victorious and Propert were very deserving winners. Nonetheless I was very proud to see our four girls who had put themselves forward for this cope so well. Although I am always very proud of the girls when they win competitions, I am equally impressed when they lose as it affords them the opportunity to demonstrate their class in their courteous treatment of the victors and their resilience and determination to do better next time.

Coming up this week we have: The Debating Competition, another House Challenge, Senior Socials, ongoing play rehearsals and a Football Tournament. Pupils are learning how to balance academic, enrichment and social elements.

Mrs Sophie Hill
Crawfurd Housemistress

Propert House

As age slowly creeps up and taps you on the shoulder there are a few signs that Father Time’s inexorable march never halts. Perhaps, it is the inability to pick items off the floor in a sprightly manner. Or, a new ache, or pain, each morning and the body slowly unfolds. Perhaps, there are a few more lines appearing on the face and the memory becomes slightly less sharp?

Another hint, and one linked to education, is meeting pupils that have completed their time at the College, attended university and are now in the workplace, but still call you Mr Squires! It was therefore with pleasure, and even though they highlighted the passage of time, that Mr Pye and I recently went to dinner with Eizwan, Eizlan and Daniel. These three boys started in 2014 when the College and Propert first opened. Eizwan was our first Head of House, Daniel, our second (and the proud winner of the House trophy – a picture triumphantly displayed in the House) and Eizlan was a Bank Negara scholar. Having completed their degrees in the UK, in Law and economics they have returned to Malaysia to work.

We also speak of Houses being a family, so it was especially pleasing that the three boys (actually men now) contacted us to have dinner. We had time to reminisce, talk about their experiences in the UK, the culture shock of Dublin on a Saturday night and the cost of eating out in London – one of the reasons the boys were glad they were back in Malaysia. As the number of boys from Propert graduate we all look forward to events such as this becoming more regular.

Whilst Daniel, Eizwan and Eizlan have completed their studies, our current cohort are very much in the midst of theirs. A part of this will be in the class, but there will also be room for their own personal development. Recently, the Sixth Form had a fancy dress Halloween social. We always ask the boys to commit fully to any task they are given; effort is key. As the picture below shows they embraced fully the fancy dress theme and won the award for best dressed House. Frankly, they made an outstanding Cinderella, Jasmine, Snow White, Mulan and Rapunzel.

We have also had an inter-house quiz and our team of Chris, Daniel, Ben and Faizi from Carr competed against a team from Crawfurd. The boys managed to come away with the win and are set for the final. Boys have a reputation for a lack of focus and silliness and one could see why this may be the case. However, they also tend to be fans of ‘stuff’ and this is a helpful trait in a random quiz. We look forward to the final and will spend some time reading random facts in preparation!

Mr Ian Squires
Assistant Head (Boarding) & Propert Housemaster

Rosebery House

Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights, typically lasting five days and celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. Deepavali symbolises the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”. We celebrated this wonderful festival in Rosebery by making our very own Kolam designs in family groups. The girls did a wonderful job working together using coloured rice to make wonderful unique designs. I think you will agree they did a great job. Theevya also very kindly gave a wonderful detailed presentation all about the festival. She explained to the other girls what Deepavali is all about, how she celebrates with her family, what everyone wears and the meaning behind the Kolam. I certainly learnt a lot from Theevya’s presentation, so did the girls.

Halloween was hot on the heels of Deepavali and with a swift change in decor, the girls transitioned Rosebery into a House of Horror. We made our porch the prime focus and the girls put so much effort into making it ‘spooktacular’, ready for the Halloween party and the staff kids who came Trick or Treating. Year 12 and 13 went to the Grayling Centre to party whilst the rest of the House took part in ‘Mad Mummy’ making, bobbing for apples and a frightening Haunted Room that the Year 11 designed all by themselves. I can personally vouch for it being petrifying as I have not screamed so much in a long time. The evening ended with snacks and, of course, some candy. Prep School pupils also had their visit to the House to celebrate Halloween; they made gruesome slime with some glitter added (we are girls, we need glitter in our lives). They had such great fun and are looking forward to their next visit in a few weeks to help us celebrate Christmas in Rosebery House.

Integration between pupils of all ages and gender is vitally important in social and emotional development. Therefore, we are keen to organise socials and encourage all pupils to attend. These social events are planned and run by the pupils whilst always being supervised by House Staff. This first half term was the start of the Junior socials, Crawbery (Crawfurd and Rosebery House together) joined forces to host Holman first with a Neon party. The three Houses took part in games run by the House prefects of both Houses followed by a disco and some snacks to ensure energy levels remained high. The second half term was with Crawbery and Carr and although low in numbers, the juniors rocked the monochrome theme. They all had a fantastic time playing games and danced the night away.

We start Senior Socials on the 15th November where Rosebery will host Propert. The plans are well underway and it looks like it is going to be a fun-filled  evening for all.

October awards in Rosebery were, as usual, very well earned. The girls have been working very hard both in class, in CCA and in the House. This month’s deserved merit winners were: Yi En, Pei Wen, Jeot Wing, Kirsten, Alia and Yasmine. House awards were chosen by Mrs Takamiya this month and went to Keira for being a fantastic all-around pupil. She works hard at whatever she puts her hands to and is a wonderfully polite young lady who is a role model to others. Mira was the other deserved winner, she put in a great deal of hard work to design and create the Haunted House for Halloween. Mira has settled in so well this year and has taken on many leadership roles within Rosebery House in a mature and confident manner. A huge congratulations to all winners, let’s see who shines in the month of November!

Coming up in the next few months:

  • Rosebery House will make their very own personalised Christmas decoration that they will then use to decorate the House tree.
  • Rosebery House will travel together to Bens’ Restaurant in KLCC to have some Christmas lunch together followed by going to see the Christmas decorations and indulge in some festive shopping.
  • Christmas Concert and Christmas Dinner.

Ms Jenny Mitchell
Rosebery Housemistress

Boarding Trips and Weekends

Last weekend the Junior boarders joined Maleficent who traveled to a grand old castle to celebrate young Aurora’s upcoming wedding to Prince Phillip. While there, she met Aurora’s future mother-in-law — a conniving queen who hatches a devious plot to destroy the land’s fairies. Hoping to stop her, Maleficent joined forces with a seasoned warrior and a group of outcasts to battle the queen and her powerful army.

All boarders survived this epic journey, as they were watching at the cinema, rather than physically participating in the classic struggle of good versus evil. There was some collateral damage, caused by caramel popcorn sticking to clothing, but nothing the fairies could not mend!

The Senior boarders took the opportunity to indulge in some retail therapy. It may only be November but there was outfit shopping needed for the formal College Christmas Dinner, Secret Santa presents to be scouted and as always, pit stops for some comfort food.

Nearly 100 boarders joined the staff off site this weekend and these trips continue to be well supported.

Talking about food we also had a BBQ on Saturday evening at the Pavilion – this involves as much running and football next to the Pavilion as there is actual eating; this perhaps makes the whole event calorie neutral? Which is surely an added bonus!

Mr Ian Squires
Assistant Head (Boarding)

Meet the New Head of Art and Design Technology

This week, we spoke to Mr Joe Daly, who is the new Head of Art and Design Technology. Aside from teaching, Mr Daly has worked in the UK Construction Industry as well as in education, hence his expertise in Design Technology. His passions include football, rugby, running and outdoor education.

Growing up in a more rural area Southwest of the UK, Mr Daly was drawn to the peace and calm offered by Epsom’s remote location. Despite this being his first time working in an international setting, Mr Daly has settled in quickly and comfortably. He is most impressed by the outstanding facilities available, as well as the dedication and passion demonstrated by the pupils. His advice to pupils is simple: seize any opportunities that arise, get involved in everything and enjoy what you do.  

The 21st century is an era dominated by technology. By introducing digital art such as 3D printing, Mr Daly aims to provide a medium for pupils to bring their visions to life. This creative freedom has allowed some extraordinary outcomes to be produced. A-Level Art pupils have also been allocated their own area within the art room, maximising their productivity and efficiency. “Creative arts are fundamentally important for cognitive development,” says Mr Daly. He strongly believes that Art and DT are essential subjects as they create balance within the curriculum.

Mr Daly is confident that Epsom is heading in the right direction, and that it is yet to reach its full potential. He looks forward to being part of, and contributing to, Epsom’s ever-evolving journey.

Ms Alea Yang Ni
Head of College

House Choral Results and My Week with the English Schools’ Orchestra

The first half term has been a busy one for the Music Department, culminating in the annual House Choral Competition held on 11th October. This showpiece event involved every pupil in the Senior School as well as the help and support of the House Teams and Tutors. As you may have read in the Boarding House Updates, all of the Houses put in an enormous amount of work to produce an amazing evening of performances.

This year, for the first time, instrumental music made an appearance at House Choral in its own category. Over the last few years, the standard of the accompanying bands has developed and it was time for our best musicians to display their instrumental skills. The new Instrumental Round, was hugely successful and showed a diverse range of musical styles including Jazz, Film Music, Pop and music from Video Games. It was this last genre that inspired the winners, Granville, with their version of Megalovania from the game Undertale.

The traditional Part Song Round always shows off the very best of the vocal talent at the College with groups singing unaccompanied. Last year’s winners Propert were just beaten into second place by Crawfurd with a medley of Stevie Wonder songs. Their harmony singing was incredibly complex and varied, leaving many of the later groups nervous in having to follow them.

The final round, as always, was the Unison which features every member of the house. This round was closely fought with the girls’ houses coming out on top. Rosebery performed last in the order, but saved the best for last with their winning performance of High Hopes by Panic! At the Disco. Crawfurd were a close second with colourful outfits and dancing inspired by their version of Another Day of Sun from the film-musical La La Land.

The overall winners were decided based on points across all the rounds. Awarded first in the Part Song and second in the Unison Round, Crawfurd were crowned the 2019/20 House Choral Champions.

My Week with the English Schools’ Orchestra

Over the past 25 years, I have been involved with the English Schools’ Orchestra (ESO), an Orchestra made up of the most talented school-aged musicians from across the UK. The principal activity is the annual residential course and concert, which takes place during the October Half Term each year. I have been privileged to have been the Course Director for the last seven years and it was working with young people through this Orchestra that first inspired me to become a Music Teacher.

During my time with the ESO, I have enjoyed the excitement of helping create a challenging programme of music during five days of rehearsals followed by a concert at the end of the course. The ESO has performed in some of the best venues in the UK and also toured Australia and Canada. This year’s programme included Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto performed by the young pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, and Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony.

In previous years, pupils from Epsom UK have attended the course and it was from conversations with these pupils that I first learned of Epsom College in Malaysia. The ESO is delighted to have hosted pupils from schools in Malaysia and this is something that I hope to continue in the future with pupils from ECiM. I also hope that I can bring the English Schools’ Orchestra to Malaysia for a tour.

During the week long course, it was encouraging to see many of the same qualities of musicianship, confidence and group work that I had seen in the run up to the House Choral Concert and it fills me with confidence that the young generation of musicians here at Epsom have a bright future ahead of them.

Mr Russell Crann
Director of Music

Learning Support

The Learning Support Department at ECiM aims to provide appropriate learning support to all pupils, who may be facing learning difficulties, or who may have mild Special Educational Needs (“SEN”), and would benefit from appropriate and tailor-made support. This support will enable such pupils to access and respond to the curriculum as successfully as possible. In giving effect to this aim, the College applies the following fundamental principles:

  • to cater for pupils with Learning Support needs through an individualised approach to provision where possible;
  • the majority of the needs of pupils at Epsom College will normally be met in mainstream classrooms. However, where further support is required curriculum withdrawal may be appropriate;
  • whenever appropriate the views of the pupil should be sought and taken into account;
  • we recognise that parents have a vital role and responsibility in supporting their child’s education and we will work together with parents to ensure both long-term and short-term outcomes are being continually monitored.

In providing this support, the Learning Support Department also aims to look at each child as an individual with their own unique strengths. We believe that every child has something special to contribute, and with the right tailor-made support, he/she is able to raise their personal achievement. We have all heard of famous individual like Steve Jobs (Aspergers) or Richard Branson (Dyslexia) who have gone on to be hugely successful and make valuable contributions to society. Individuals with special needs generally tend to be very creative and have the ability to think outside the box.

Mrs Denu Sankey
Head of Learning Support and Coordinator of SENCO

Prep School – Deepavali

On Friday 8th November, Epsom Prep School celebrated the Hindu festival of Deepavali. The children and staff came to school dressed in traditional clothing such as a Punjabi suit, Dhoti Kurta and Saree. It was a lovely, very colourful sight to see them altogether in the assembly.

Shamita and Vamitra gave a presentation about how Deepavali is celebrated. They spoke about why Hindus celebrate the festival. The girls shared photos of their families enjoying the festivities and talked about their favourite activities. They spoke very well and are clearly natural public speakers!

In the afternoon, we held our celebration. Thanks to our Prep parents, there was a delicious buffet with a wide range of traditional food. The children and adults got to enjoy the tasty treats throughout the afternoon, and parents enjoyed sampling the food after school too. The parents had also generously donated packs of Nasi Kandar for the entire Senior School.

The Prep children took part in a series of Deepavali-themed activities. They painted clay pots or diya lamps. There were some beautiful designs, including Erin’s night sky pattern. They made Mandala cards, watched a video about the Deepavali story and had fun dancing. The day ended with the entire Prep School doing some Bollywood dancing.

Mr Stephen McElhinney
Head of Prep School

Sports Update

Aisha Azizul (Y8) fought off stiff competition from other tennis players in the state of Selangor to be crowned the winner of the Selangor Tennis Monthly Medal Tournament in the U14 age category. This is a fantastic achievement, especially as Aisha is still only 12 years old. Aisha has since represented the College in tennis at KTJ International School where she performed fantastically and was again victorious. Aisha is a brilliant role model for her peers and we look forward to many more achievements in the near future.

Mr Daniel Jeffries
Director of Sport

Know Your Place!

On the 7th and 8th of November, Year 10 Drama pupils took part in two days of devising workshops with pupils from international schools across the Klang Valley.

Clad in some rather fetching pink T-Shirts, we met in the Performance Centre at Tenby SEP who did such a brilliant job of organising what was a mammoth event. We were given a tour of the workshop rooms and were treated to a great performance by the Tenby Year 11 pupils extract of Evan Placey’s ‘Girls Like That’. After this, all of the pupils were mixed up and were led through workshops by the drama staff from each of the schools. The workshops covered a range of topics including Frantic Assembly devising techniques, Laban’s Eight Efforts, characterisation, ‘Viewpoints’ in the style of Anne Bogart and much more. Pupils were forced to think on their feet, develop new vocal and physical skills, work with pupils from all of the other schools and quickly adapt to the material that was being taught in each of the five different workshops they attended.

Having completed these, pupils got back into their school groups to create a couple of minutes of original material using the new skills they had learned all under the thematic title of ‘Know Your Place’. Our pupils really did themselves proud when performing their scenes and quickly developed their performance discipline in front of a room of nearly one hundred other pupils, performing with composure and clarity. The saw some interesting takes on the stimulus each using different dramatic techniques and styles. Each group was given feedback on their performance and some suggestions as to how they could improve.

The pupils made friends from all over Malaysia and beyond and thoroughly enjoyed being able to flex their creative muscles over the two days. It was the perfect opportunity to get inspired for their current devising module for the IGCSE exam and ECiM pupils excelled. They conducted themselves superbly, got stuck in with all of the sessions and made useful notes to bring back to the classroom.

“The drama devising days helped me expand my knowledge about the subject. The workshops helped me understand how physical skills and movements really have an effect on the performance.” – Gendis

I’ve learnt (stolen) a lot of skills, even if I knew of them I got to look into them more specifically. Pace, movement, use of space, creating tension and use of voice and tone. – Steven

Personally, I thought the devising days were not only educational but very enjoyable. It was by far one of the most fun trips I’ve been on and I really wished it wasn’t just two days. I’m positive the upcoming Year 10 Drama pupils will be very thrilled to go on this trip next year! – Ain

Mr Edward Moore
Head of Drama