FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 89 - Epsom College in Malaysia

SOPs for Covid-19

Please follow this link for the College Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) for Covid-19 as well as related Q & A information.
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FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 89

Headmaster’s Review

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Hello and I hope everyone managed to enjoy an excellent break.

I wish to begin this Friday Flyer publication by thanking all parents, and guardians, for their support of the College during the current Coronavirus outbreak. This issue has, of course, dominated both the local and global media in recent days, and is rightly at the forefront of peoples’ minds in the Epsom community. Our clear precautionary procedures for limiting any contact with this virus, such as the required 14 day leave period from College for those who have recently been in Mainland China and our enhanced system of checks for visitors to the Campus, have been supported and endorsed by most (including the Malaysian authorities). However, it has been especially impressive to witness the wholehearted backing by our Chinese parents also and I sincerely thank them for this approach.

We have acted decisively, as a school, to communicate our protocols quickly and comprehensively, as the context allows. Indeed, in addition to offering communications via parental letters and emails, the resumption of Term 2 has allowed us to engage the pupil body in the required level of explanation on the Coronavirus situation. The Assembly on Tuesday 4th February offered the opportunity to stress that the health and welfare of our College community is always our number one priority, whilst emphasising the significance of following the medical guidance that has been relayed on personal hygiene, washing hands often and properly, using hand sanitiser and, of course, being careful when one sneezes. On all these matters I have found the WHO guidance to be excellent.

It is also important though to keep a sense of proportion on all aspects of the Coronavirus. It is vital that schools and communities do not over-react but, rather, offer the correct level of essential reassurance (especially on medical issues) whilst also maintaining a perspective on allowing pupils to enjoy activities and events. We have tried to strike that balance here at Epsom, as have other Malaysian schools, and we wish to continue that approach. Nevertheless, the welfare of our pupils is always the primary consideration in any decision and we will not lose sight of that.

I also used Tuesday’s Assembly to remind pupils that we have a number of Chinese students at the College and not all of them have been able to return yet to Epsom for Term 2. This school is, of course, based upon our founding principles of tolerance and respect, for everyone in our community, and I highlighted the need for us all to be thinking of, and respectful to, those affected by the current Coronavirus outbreak. We do look forward to welcoming all our returning pupils to the College soon and, in the meantime, our committed academic team will continue to liaise with absent students regarding appropriate work to further their studies.

Thank you all again for your support in this challenging period. We are always monitoring, like you, this evolving situation and maintaining close contact with the Malaysian authorities. We will, of course, continue to update all parents and pupils with any further developments.

With very best wishes,

Best regards,

Dr Murray Tod
Headmaster


Chinese New Year Celebrations

A special Chinese New Year assembly took place in the Duke of York Theatre on 27 January. Students and staff at Epsom College were impressed by our Prep school students’ wonderful performances which included traditional dragon dancing and Chinese New Year themed songs sung in Chinese. It was delightful to see students wearing the traditional colourful clothes on this happy occasion. Our senior school students, who hosted the assembly, were fantastically dressed and engaged really well with the audience. The Mandarin teaching team wants to express sincere thanks to our students for their fantastic efforts and also to the teaching staff for their kind support. Mr McElhinney deserves a special mention for the insightful suggestions he gave on how to improve our performances.  We also want to thank all the parents for their support and encouragement as well.

This Chinese New Year is the Year of the Rat – the first year of a new cycle of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac. It means that the year 2020 is going to be an eventful year with lots of new beginnings and renewals – Everyone will show determination regarding their goals, aspirations, and even their hobbies. This is a great year for founding and evolving.

On behalf of everyone in the Mandarin Department, we wish you all a Happy New Year: Xinnian kuaike! Wanshi ruyi! Gongxi facai!

 

By Mrs Wen Li Leighton
Head of Mandarin


Meet the New Head of Drama – Ted Moore

Why did you choose to apply for the job here?

My partner and I had visited Malaysia whilst we were working in China and loved it. We knew that the country was beautiful and its people were warm and friendly. After being back in the UK for a number of years, we also wanted to return to our international adventures and knew that we hadn’t finished exploring South East Asia. Epsom College obviously has an excellent reputation in the UK and I was impressed by the facilities the department had at its disposal as well as the amount of events the school supported.

What specific changes would you like to make/ what have you made to the (Drama) department?

I first changed the specification that we delivered at GCSE. The CIE syllabus has more of a focus on practical work – despite the two and a half hour written exam at the end of the course! I have made some of the schemes of work more accessible to students who are still developing their spoken English and public speaking confidence and I am hoping that Drama can again become more central in the whole school language provision with certain proposals. We’ve also added to our staging resources with a scaffolding set for this year’s Senior Production and will be introducing our Juniors to more varied stage configurations with the KS3 Production at the end of the year.

What is your opinion on ECIM so far?

The students are lovely! It’s such a busy school with very high expectations and demands of both staff and students, but what continues to impress me is the good humour, commitment and resilience of the young people from Year 1 to Year 13.

Why do you think Drama is an essential subject?

So many reasons… In short, because (in my opinion) what is most needed across the world at the moment is empathy, tolerance, understanding and the ability to communicate effectively – all of which are cornerstones of the subject. The subject covers such a wide range of practical and interpersonal skills and dips into politics, history, design, language, psychology and much more. Not to mention that, whilst being as ‘difficult’ as any other subject, it’s genuinely good fun and allows students to develop personally as well as academically. 

Mr Ted Moore
Head of Drama


Crawfud

In a 3 week half of term, we somehow managed to fit in possibly more than in a ‘normal’ length one in Crawfurd!

Destressing Activities

Year 11 and 13 returned from their industrious revision programmes over the Christmas break with very high levels of stress due to the start of the trial examinations. Practising IGCSE and A level papers in full examination conditions has very obvious academic benefits to students but it also enables them to experience the impact of the stress and pressure so that they can begin to build resilience and time management strategies to cope better with the real thing next term. In Crawfurd, therefore, we have placed a strong emphasis during this period on carefully planned out revision time partnered with deliberate decisions about healthy breaks and quality sleep. During the trial examination period, all girls in the house were required to take a minimum of 30 minutes each evening where they stepped away from their books and took part in a range of organised activities focused on de-stressing them and ensuring healthy interaction with other students. The choices for activities were carefully selected to give them the opportunity to try activities which are recognised for their ability to help in coping with stress and anxiety. Our amazing tutors were also keen to get involved with many of these. Some of the particular highlights included: Karaoke with Miss Pinna; Yoga (and the baby shark abs challenge!) with Miss Archibald; Power Walking with Mrs Hill; Chinese New Year crafts with Mrs Leighton and the Instagram Challenge with Miss Townsend!

It was really great to see the girls getting excited about a game of table football or chatting with each other while they doodled with fabric pens although of course the most popular choices were those involving chocolate!

Winter Programme & Birthdays

The first of half term also saw us both welcome and say goodbye to four amazing students from Korea who participated in our Winter Programme. Amy, Ann, Jua and Lily very quickly became part of the Crawfurd family and we were able to celebrate both Ann and Amy’s birthdays with them while they were here as well as get them involved in many activities including multiple games of Heads Up to practise our English and of course joining the teams for the House Rugby competition in which we were…

Getting Back Up Again

… very much not victorious. I often tell the girls that I am most proud of them when they lose and this competition was no exception. To see girls including Lian, Lucy, Nanako, Sarah and Yuka who had only just joined us a week earlier getting immediately involved and being supported by their new House mates was truly inspiring and their determination to do their best even in the face of defeat is a life skill that will travel far beyond their A level grades. By the time they had showered and changed they were ready to cope with their loss by getting back up again and celebrating the experience together as a House (possibly assisted by ice creams). 

Mrs Sophie Hill
Housemistress


Propert

We have had a busy few weeks in what has been a short term. It started with some new additions from Markham College in Lima, Peru. Vicente and Marcelo joined us in Year 12 through the Round Square exchange program. It has been so pleasing to see the boys settle quickly, join in CCA and the social events in the House. In particular, Vincente has enjoyed swimming CCA and the great weather he has had whilst training. We wish he was around long enough to take part in House Swimming as he is fast! He suggests it rains more in Lima – it must be like Manchester in the UK! The boys have visited KL, Melaka and have eaten all the asian food put in front of them. It has been great to witness how comfortable they have been in Propert. This is a great sign of the House being international in its outlook. Although we have not quite mastered the magnificent way the boys deliver their names – our versions frankly lack eloquence.

Each Saturday boys present a House assembly. It was great to hear all about Marcelo and Vicente’s life in Peru. They leave with their Propert tie and a new skill; prior to coming to ECiM they have not worn ties so are now able to produce the all important Windsor knot.

The two boys appeared on the sporting field for Propert as part of the successful House Rugby team. This has been an event that we have yet to be defeated in so it was good to keep this tradition going. We fielded four teams and the quality of the rugby has increased from our first victory in 2014. Our D team showed our strength in depth and I think the highlight was Jihoon body swerving to score a try in the corner and Kit taking a team talk where he managed to get six teenagers to listen all at the same time. A very rare feat indeed!

In all seriousness the overall win was pleasing, but the real benefit was the team spirit, community bonding and the manner in which the games were played. Next up we have swimming, which will be a more difficult event for us which only adds to the value. 

The term has been dominated by examinations for Year 11 and 13. The boys have worked very hard and have been focused throughout. This will continue through to the end of Term 3 I am sure. Seeing this attitude towards study is also great for Year 10 and 12 who will be under no illusions as to the work they will need to do next year. They have balanced this work with continued involvement in CCA. We continue to stress the importance of their wellbeing and a part of this is involvement in activities that allow their brains to rest and recover. Therefore, it was great to see boys both marshalling and running in the recent Park Run. A special mention to Manfred, who won the two lap race in the middle of his Year 11 Mock examinations.  

Mr Ian Squires
Assistant Head (Boarding), Housemaster 


Rosebery

2020 got off to a flying start in Rosebery House. Many girls arrived back after the Holidays with much anticipation about the next celebration, Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. Many of the girls got to work decorating the House with beautiful decorations. This is the Year of the Rat and the Rat represents the beginning of a new day. Whilst reading about what the Rat symbolises I came across one myth. It stated that the Jade Emperor said the order of the Zodiac animals would be decided by the order in which they arrived at his party. The Rat tricked the Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived at the finish line, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox, becoming first; how fantastic! Just like me, many other girls in the House do not know a lot about Spring Festival and so a group of girls decided to give a presentation during House assembly. What struck me most was the fact that many of the girls presenting, with perfect English, were girls that only arrived at Epsom in September, in fact, a few girls had only arrived a few weeks ago. I was stunned by their bravery and enthusiasm to share their wonderful culture with all of Rosebery.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed listening to what they had to say and I, for one, feel richer in knowledge as a consequence. 

January also saw the start of the Mock examinations for Year 11 and 13. The House was a buzz of study;  girls testing one another, girls supporting one another and more importantly reminding each other that they can and will do well. I remember one of my old teachers told me that Mock examinations are all about the experience, not the result. He went on to explain that “feeling the feelings” of waiting outside that exam hall, walking into the room, writing your name on the paper, opening the exam paper, watching the clock and hearing that time has finished was all essential to mentally prepare you for the final exams and I do believe there is some truth in his words. Exams, no matter if they are mock or real, are daunting for everyone and I have told the girls repeatedly that if they have worked hard and prepared well then they should be proud of what they achieve. Many of the girls will be receiving their results this coming week and not everyone will get the results they were anticipating.  It is important to look beyond the grades and remind ourselves there is plenty of time to prepare for the final examinations in the summer. 

During this very short half term we also saw yet another victory in House Touch Rugby. Rosebery managed to win KS3, KS4 and KS5 levels and so, therefore, we were triumphant overall.  The girls as always played with true Rosebery spirit, communicating with each other both on and off the field, helping each other when tiredness set in and most of all reminding each other that they are all in it together. Girls who had literally just arrived and had never heard of touch rugby, (never mind held a rugby ball!) were getting stuck in and the other girls made sure they supported them on the field. It was truly inspirational watching them all play so well. Well done, Rosebery!

One of our Year 12 students Cyn Thea took some time to get to know the new students to Rosebery and the Winter camp girls who joined us for 3 weeks at the beginning of January. Here’s what she found out:

The start of this half term saw the arrival of four bubbly girls (Dowon, Se Min, Chae Won & Yun Jin) being in Year 5 and 7.We all agree that they have become an integral part of our house; their fun personalities brought joy and cheer to our otherwise tired mornings. Although only being here for three weeks, they have created meaningful bonds with the Rosebery girls and our “House Mums”. We have seen some impressive improvements in their English ability in the duration of their stay and we hope to see them again.

THE ROSEBERY EXPERIENCE

Starting at a new school is, needless to say, a daunting experience for everyone involved especially students themselves. To be plagued by anxieties and worries of all sorts can be a nightmare especially for foreign girls who have never been out of their own country before. Since the start of the new academic year, Rosebery has welcomed many “newbies’ to our Epsom boarding life from a diverse background of ethnicities and cultures.

We asked some of them about their initial concerns before arriving at Epsom and their favourite part about studying here; 

Julia, who arrived this half term, said that her biggest concern was the language gap as she has never studied in an English medium school before but the teachers were all very helpful in her transition.

Linda, who will be sitting for her IGCSEs next academic year, was worried about her academic progress. She says that the relaxing fun weekends help ease the stress. 

Tiha enjoys the friendly environment created by the teachers and students. The girls have seamlessly integrated into the house and are a truly lovely addition to our ever-growing family.

Ms Jenny Mitchell
Housemistress


Boarding Trip – The Rift

The Rift, may sound like a bad disaster movie from the 1980s. In fact if you google it, it was – a film, though from 1990 as Wikipedia, the font of all dubious knowledge, tells us. The Rift, also known as Endless Descent, tells the story of a submarine rescue that goes awry.

Our boarders, however, did not actually go to the bottom of the ocean. Due to the power of Virtual Reality, no one even left dry land! This is because The Rift is in fact a Virtual Reality world where the pupils get to drive, shoot, fly and otherwise undertake a myriad of activities without ever leaving terra firma. The whole experience was very realistic but I do worry that in the long term teachers will become redundant in a dystopian future where schools are based inside a headset. Now this could be a great movie!

One part of the trip that was real was the eating. Visiting restaurants on these trips is a favourite part of the visit. I do wonder if we may one day get the sensation of eating copious amounts of food, without the physiological disadvantages! As this is not the case, we look forward to upcoming trips of trekking up Broga Hill and Football – Golf where the calories burnt will certainly not be virtual!

Mr Ian Squires
Assistant Head (Boarding), Housemaster 


The Extended Project Qualification – EPQ

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a qualification taken by students in the United Kingdom and overseas. The course is fully accredited by our UK examination board and well-considered by universities as it prepares students academically prior to entering higher education. The EPQ presents a distinct advantage when students apply for university placements. It gives them not only a numerical advantage but also invaluable academic experience for their future studies and careers.

The students’ choice of topic is open and it can take the form of either a dissertation or a number of other forms such as the organisation of an exhibition or the creation of a software programme.

Our Year 13 students are in the process of finalising their EPQ projects, by ensuring that their project complies with academic requirements. This process is assisted by our team of EPQ supervisors and coordinator, Mr Pedro. Students at Epsom benefit from experts’ advice, small research groups and 1-2-1 sessions.

Three of our students would like to share with our readers their EPQ journey:

Yugendran, Year 13

‘Initially, I was very doubtful about my capabilities in managing an EPQ on top of my four challenging A-levels. With encouragement from the Head of Sixth Form and my EPQ Supervisor, I decided to give it a try as I’ve always had an appetite for knowledge and research. I would not say my EPQ journey has been smooth sailing, but the progress and benefits I reaped are immensely rewarding. The EPQ allowed me to explore the fields of my interests, from Quantum Physics to Psychology. This project has reinforced my interest and passion in my chosen field of study. As an aspiring physician, I was not sure if Medicine is suitable for me as I enjoy the theoretical and practical knowledge of medicine but I did not fancy patient care and medical ethics as I had little if no experience of patient contact. My EPQ project on Euthanasia allowed me to explore medical ethics in various aspects of life such as medicine, law, religious beliefs and morals. From contacting Dignitas in Switzerland to interviewing a Cardiothoracic Anesthesiologist, this EPQ helped me to go beyond my comfort zone in order to complete my project successfully. I am thankful that I continued with this project as it gave me an insight into what a career in medicine entails. The invaluable skills and knowledge I gained such as evaluating, analyzing and writing an academic dissertation will undoubtedly help me in my research career in future. I hope to extrapolate and transfer the skills and knowledge from my EPQ project towards a bioengineering and econometrics double degree in the US.’

 

 

 

Jenna, Year 13

‘When I first got into Epsom, I didn’t really understand the concept (or truthfully, the point) behind what the EPQ is and what it’s for. Initially, it was an odd process and I struggled to find a topic that resonated with me. That is until I thought about talking about how the perception of beauty in women could go on to affect their careers. By finding a topic that I was actually passionate about writing, I learned how to delegate my time and energy into doing what I was interested in (like the EPQ amongst other things), and my studies. As it is an independent project that allowed me to talk about what interested me, but in an academic format, it taught me how to be discriminate in selecting relevant sources and using the right information and also how to communicate with others around me to ensure my project was the best it could be. I believe that the EPQ has helped me in my application to university as it shows that I have a broad range of interests and passions that go beyond what’s taught in the syllabus. As I investigated how beauty could potentially help or hurt a woman’s career prospects, it coincided with my intention to pursue Law as a degree at university where I will inevitably go on to learn about how discrimination plays out within a legal context. As such, the EPQ proved to be a great learning experience for me and I am glad to have done it and achieved what I had achieved upon completing it.’

 

Tia, Year 12

So far, EPQ has taught me how to organise my time in order to keep my logs regular and relevant. It has also taught me how to correctly use sources and it definitely encouraged me to go outside of my comfort zone and talk to peers, teachers and university professors in order to get relevant information to aid with my research. The EPQ has also encouraged me to learn more about the topic that I take an interest in and has therefore given me the opportunity to (if I may) ‘geek’ out about the topic that I love. EPQ is useful for my university application as it shows my interest in the subject and how passionate I am about the course I would like to study. It is also evidence of my time management skills and passion to want to learn more. My chosen topic circulates around Stem Cells and I intend to discuss the ethics of it. My title right now is: Do The Potential Medical Uses Of Stem Cell Therapy Outweigh The Ethical Concerns? 

I have always loved stem cells due to both the tangible aspect of how our stem cells heal us every day and the medical uses of it, but also the intangible aspect of the hope that stem cells represent.

 

Mr Phil Pedro
EPQ & MFL Coordinator


Sport Weekly

Malaysia Tennis Junior Tour.

Two of our pupils, Ryan (Y10) and Aisha (Y8), competed in this prestigious tennis tournament in January. This is a tournament that sees many of the best junior tennis players in Malaysia compete with competitors travelling from all over the country. Both Ryan and Aisha reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament with Aisha unlucky to be drawn against the tournament’s top seeded player. Ryan and his doubles partner did well to reach the semi-finals of the competition. Aisha and her partner from nearby school TKC played exceptionally well in the doubles tournament and were crowned the 2020 champions – A superb achievement! 

Well done to both Ryan and Aisha for representing the College impeccably as always. We look forward to seeing them compete in future tournaments.

I would also like to take the opportunity to congratulate Aisha (Y8) for winning the Selangor Monthly Medal Tennis Tournament at the U16 Girls’ age category. A brilliant accomplishment, especially considering Aisha is still only thirteen years old! 

MCM Touch Rugby U14 Girls’

U14 Girls’ competing at the Marlborough College Touch Rugby Straits Tournament.

The U14 girls’ Touch Rugby squad travelled to Johor Bahru after lunch on Friday 17th January to prepare for the weekend’s tournament at Marlborough College. The MCM Straits Tournaments are always tough competitions with many schools and clubs from Singapore making the short trip over the border to compete. The squad has been training hard since the start of the school year and played exceptionally well to reach the semi-final of the plate. Coach Nadzirah was particularly pleased with the groups sense of togetherness and teamwork, as well as the progression they have shown in their passing and movement. Player of the tournament goes to Nanako for outstanding teamwork and support play throughout all of the matches.  

MSSD Cross Country

Aisha (Y8) and Finley (Y8) both represented the College at the MSSD (district) U15 age category Cross Country 6km event on Wednesday 22nd January. Both pupils competed against over 50 different international and Government Schools and demonstrated excellent stamina and determination, especially due to the particularly hot weather.

Finley finished in a very respectable 20th place and Aisha managed to win the race, and winning by over 100 meters! Both pupils will be representing the College in the MSSD athletics event (3 kilometres and 1500 meter events) after we return from the Chinese New Year holiday. 

Mr Dan Jeffries
Director of Sport