FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 95
I hope that you are all well.
Although I have communicated a great deal lately, it still seems remarkable to me that my last Friday Flyer contribution was actually in late-June…a great deal has occurred in the intervening period! It has been wonderful to welcome pupils back to the Campus, across all year groups, and also to rejoice in the learning of our online pupils. The whole school community is striving very hard to ensure that our systems for learning are progressing, both online and physically, and are as robust as we can make them. I would like to thank everyone involved, pupils / teachers and parents, and I am also grateful for everyone’s continued loyalty and patience on these matters. We remain in communication with the respective Malaysian Ministries on all matters of school operations and procedures, during the Covid-19 era, and we take their guidance fully on board. Whilst it is genuinely excellent to herald a return to some PE/Games and sporting endeavour, we do remain limited by what we can offer (to comply with government regulations on physical distancing and related issues). Therefore, as noted in my recent letter, the running of certain contact sports remains under review, as does facilitating swimming lessons. We are in perpetual communication with other Malaysian International schools on these subjects and we continue to monitor all proceedings very closely. We are determined, in essence, to return to as broad a CCA and sporting programme as we can muster, providing it is safe and allowed to do so. There will be, of course, further updates to parents on these areas when we have received more specific information from the Ministries.
Furthermore, whilst on, please can I draw all parents’ attention to the magnificent new addition to our Courtyard, adjacent to the Dining Hall. The arrival of the catering ‘container’ will provide another facet to our provision for pupils and parents, and colleagues. We will now be able to serve a wider range of snacks and refreshments, and we will aim to keep you informed when final menus and operating hours are confirmed.
Thank you, as always, to all parents and guardians for your support.
With very best wishes,
Dr Murray Tod
It is a pleasure to introduce myself: my name is James Brewer and this year I am Deputy Head (Academic) at the College. Many of you will already know my name from the last two years as Assistant Head (Learning and Data).
I have worked at Epsom College in Malaysia since 2018, moving to Malaysia with my wife, Mrs Mitchell, and two children Noah and Ella. We moved to ECiM after 7 years in Doha, Qatar (5 of these years as Deputy Head (Academic) in a thriving international school). Before moving abroad I worked in a grammar school in south east London for 7 years. Aside from my position as Deputy Head, I am a physics teacher and I am passionate about my subject and science in general. I completed my physics degree at Queen’s University Belfast, and after this, I also undertook a Masters in Electronics before moving into teacher training.
Outside of the classroom, I was a keen rugby player through school and university (those days are sadly past) and recently have been known to turn my hand to golf, cricket, football, squash and hockey. I have enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in coaching football, rugby and cricket at ECiM.
I must recognise the great work that Mr Brown accomplished at the College in the past two years. We worked closely together leading improvements in how we report on student progress, improving examination results and developing the teaching and learning in the classroom. I look forward to continuing that work this year and I hope that parents and students will be able to notice the improvements we make.
COVID-19 has changed the educational landscape in Malaysia and around the world, so this year will see our staff and students face new challenges; returning to school after considerable time away from school and online learning to name a few. The staff at ECiM are excellent and I know they will rise to the challenge to ensure that all our students get the best education we can offer.
Mr James Brewer
Introducing our new Head of Prep, Ms Alice Stokes.
I feel very privileged to take on the position of Head of Prep at Epsom and to build upon what we have already achieved, as a successful learning community.
I believe that students thrive in a warm, nurturing and supportive environment in which they are empowered to take risks, grow in confidence and hone their abilities and talents. It is important to me that we educate the whole child; academic rigour is essential but so is the ability to be resilient, resourceful and compassionate.
Epsom Prep students develop life long skills and attitudes that allow them to take each next step in the sure knowledge that they have a voice that deserves to be heard and the potential to achieve their dreams.
The boys of Carr have adapted quickly to the ‘new normal’ and it’s great to have such an excited, albeit ‘physically-distanced’, buzz in house. The boys are now formed into house families for duties during the week and are still in the process of selecting their inspirational figure to name their families after (mooted names at the moment are Elon Musk, Barak Obama & Albert Einstein!).
The opening week has witnessed a variety of activities such as programming, tent building, badminton, tennis, photography and art therapy to name but a few. Clearly, our boys really missed being back at ECiM. Dare I say it, but their behaviour, punctuality and appearance have been impeccable! I hope that I have not spoken too soon as Mr James Carson will arrive on Monday 7 September to take over as Carr Housemaster; I want him to see what a wonderful bunch of boys (and dedicated pastoral team) he will have the pleasure of getting to know. For my part, I have really enjoyed getting to know everyone and plan to keep a close eye on their development with us!
Mr Stephen Ottewell
(Acting) Housemaster of Carr House
As a one off, Crawfurd and Rosebery are writing a joint Friday Flyer, as for the first two weeks of term we have been ‘Crawbery’. This has proved such a wonderful way to reunite after 5 months of time apart and has firmly re-established the close relationship between the two girls Houses at ECiM. Ms Mitchell and Ms Hill have absolutely loved having girls back with us and it has been a joy seeing the girls celebrate this opportunity to spend time together.
Our priority at the start of the College year is to ensure that we all adjusted as quickly as possible to our ‘new normal’ in College. Getting used to keeping 1 metre ( four tiles girls!) away from each other when we’ve missed each other so much has certainly proven challenging, however the students have risen to the challenge and respond really well to reminders, and mask wearing during the school day has already become a habit. Our first CCA time was spent working in year groups to create videos on the theme of ‘Socialising with physical distance’ and resulted in some amusing and creative educational videos. Wednesday CCA time was spent on a service project to create thank you cards for members of our College community. On Thursday we started the long journey to losing our lockdown weight gain (staff included) with an orienteering walk around campus. On Friday, we treated the girls to a cultural experience with live screenings of theatrical performances watched in small groups around the house.
Suddenly we were at Saturday already and waving goodbye to our day students and weekly boarders before settling in for the treat of a long weekend (Happy Merdeka!) with the full boarders. Across the three days a number of activities were planned and run by different staff members from both Houses. Some highlights from this programme include:
- Shiloh overcoming the challenges of needlework to successfully make a mask extender
- Cyn Thea christening her plant off-shoot Ethel Terry and Sora getting to dance again
- A cuteness overload in the teddy bear’s picnic
- Creating a new tradition of an evening stroll once the temperature dips slightly
- Testing the amazing burgers and pizza from the new container cafe as a Sunday night treat
Finally, we would like to warmly welcome our new students both in-person and online.
In Rosebery, Annie has joined us in Year 7, Mayuha in Year 8 and both have made a great effort to join lessons and start to form new friendships online. I am also incredibly proud of the other girls in these year groups for helping them settle in by sending videos introducing themselves and generally looking out for them.
In Crawfurd, Ria in Year 6; Alyson in Year 7; Ria in Year 8; Maya in Year 9; Teja and Kendra in Year 10 and Cazra in Lower Sixth. We are enjoying getting to know you online (for those of you not yet here in person) and can’t wait until you are able to join us in the House.
After five months away it was so good to see the boys return last week and also to welcome the year 10s from the junior houses, plus the new boys joining the college.
There was a lot of catching up to be done as many of them had been well removed from each other since March, and only communicated via social media. Within a day it was as if they hadn’t been away, however, there was the new normal to get use to. Masks throughout the college day, social distancing and hand sanitising and washing are a constant reminder of our social responsibility to look after ourselves and others..
Life around the house has changed subtly in many ways, although the boys are already being creative in ways of managing themselves and communicating or socialising. For registrations we are split into Key Stages and they meet in separate tutor spaces around the house, and our social spaces are spaced more effectively. The family groups are up and running with our new house prefects and Year 13s heading up the groups. The families are used for keeping the house in order, some daily chores, competitions and also weekly presentations. Poseidon is on duty first this week and Timothy created a QR code for his family members to scan to see a digital version of the evening routine.
The family groups have also met for two competitions already and come up with ideas to maximise enjoyment and experiences from life in the boarding house. The Year 13s digitally coded a Charades competition in which words were randomised for each family to act out to see who could score the highest points in 5 minutes. Leon and his family group of Hades were triumphant. We also had a socially distanced whole house competition of ‘Rock, Paper Scissors’ in which Steven pipped Tengku Adreez to the title.
When Year 10 students transition into the house and new students join, it is always important to get them familiar with the whole house as quickly as possible. We set up a treasure hunt for locations around the house using photo prompts. Kutatsu and Ashton got around identifying the most areas and winning a voucher for the cafe. The washing machine proved to be the hardest thing to find…!
As this is my second year as Housemaster I hope to build on the senior leaders and role models in the house. We have a new team of house prefects who will be pivotal in maintaining all that is great about Granville and also bringing in their own inevitable style and ideas. This year as house prefects we have Drexel Loh (Deputy head of College), Timothy Chung, Leon Braukmann, Arata M and Aqiel T. I’m really looking forward to working with them and watching their leadership skills develop through the year.
Mr John Foden
Housemaster of Granville House
We are back and into our 7th year at Epsom College in Malaysia. Perhaps, when many of the parents were younger, we would have dreaded the return to school after what would be the long summer holidays in the UK, or whatever part of the world our families have originated from. Long evenings, 6 weeks of sun, cricket and football, the beach and no homework are my memories. There may be a large element of ‘rose coloured glasses’ here. The reality I suspect was UK drizzle, an element of boredom and exasperated parents. However, and speaking as a parent and a teacher, this academic year is very much different. With the early closure of the House and ‘real school’ we return after nearly 5 months (forgive my maths if this is inaccurate – time / dates and life became a little blurred during lockdown).
Having seen so many boys return from around Asia there is a sense that we were definitely ready to come back, to see their good friends and actually to start studying hard again.
Many of the Propert Team have returned (Mr Pye, Mr Whitty and Mr Cheng) and we welcome some new tutors that have moved from other other Houses (Mr Daly and Mr Dale). We also welcome a number of new tutors (Mr Moulton, Mr Lugovoi and Dr Phillips). Importantly, we also welcome a number of new boys. We have 13 boys joining us in Year 10. This is a mixture of boys from Holman and Carr and 3 who have joined the college for the first time. We have also 3 new boys in Year 12 and a total of 47 boys and I am sure this number will increase over the College year.
Rohan, our Head of House, has already been busy with our first round of Family meetings. He has a number of pages of suggestions that will be brought to our House Council, has organised a Family Film / Lip Synching competition which will include those boys online, set up the Saturday assembly slots (which are run by the boys) and prepared the all important Family duty rota. As it happens the winners of the Family Lip Synch competition get to miss a turn on the duty rota; this means the stakes are high!
Now we are back and settled in Propert the pace of life will quickly pick up. CCA will start in earnest, House Competitions (Film) are on the horizon and the boys will find their studies will pick up alongside the volume of Prep. They will be able to look back at the results from the Propert boys who have recently received their examination results. The list of excellent performances was long, so it would not be fair to pick out individual names. However, we did get 3 boys at A level gain straight A*/ A and a number of boys at GCSE achieved superb results. These boys worked extremely hard and we very much expect this culture of study to flow down to those engaging in their examinations this year and in the near future.
Life will quickly become busy again as we balance studies, CCA and life in general. I very much hope the boys will appreciate this busy life having been away from it for so long and the parents appreciate the chance to have a rest!
Mr Ian Squires
Housemaster of Propert House
Children learn best when they are completely unaware that they are learning. Essentially, children learn naturally through play. Therefore, as an educator of early years children it is a balancing act between teaching the children what they need to know (covering the curriculum) and allowing them the freedom they need to explore and learn. That is why we, in the Prep school, are very excited and very thankful to the Friends of Epsom for the amazing new flooring. The children were so excited to use it today and the best part of all was that they didn’t even know they were learning!
Firstly, we used it to develop their gross motor skills by running, jumping, skipping and hopping around the course. Core motor development is essential and is a basic requirement to develop pre-writing skills and fine motor skills.
Secondly, the Year 1s used the colourful rocket to practise counting forwards and backwards to 10. They were very pleased with themselves and this led to some super number work in the subsequent lesson.
Thirdly, the Year 2s used the giant tree, the slithering snake and huge logs to count in 2s, 5s and 10s preparing them with the basics they need in order to learn and use their times tables.
Finally, as a class we jumped around the 100 square, finding numbers according to our individual abilities. We were so good at using our words to help one another and describing where the number might be.
On top of all these amazing learning opportunities, the floor is also a great resource for those fidgety children who are so active. They now have the opportunity for lots of movement and brain breaks before returning to their learning.
If this is what KS1 have been doing with the resource, just think what Early Years will get up to!
We cannot thank the parents enough and ,specifically, a huge thank you to Esther Tan. She has helped to support, design and organise the printing and laying of the floor.
What a lucky Prep school we are!
Mrs Leona Squires
KS1 & 2 Coordinator
Key Stage 3 pupils have had an interesting start to the year, with many of our pupils joining our online programme alongside pupils on site. I’ve been extremely impressed with the way our pupils have coped amongst these challenges. They seem to have adapted really well to the ‘new normal’ and have been amazingly disciplined in both classrooms and in the houses.
Starting the year means setting new targets. With that being said, pupils have been challenged with setting academic targets for the new year. Tutors have been helping their tutees reflect on their academic performance last year, to help determine the reason for any shortcomings, and also to acknowledge any achievements.
These trackers will be reviewed on a half-termly basis and will ensure that pupils will track their learning journey with the support of their tutor. In essence, the onus will be on the pupils to review their reports and performance regularly, honing in on any obstructions to their learning and putting intervention in place where necessary.
This new, more reflective approach should instill confidence and maturity in our KS3 pupils, which will be hugely beneficial as they make their way through to KS4, where tracking progress and being in control of their learning is essential. Well done to all KS3 pupils on this – we hope they will find it a rewarding and enlightening process.
Ms Katie Hargreaves
It’s back to the classroom for our KS4 students, who have coped tremendously well with getting back into the routine. Whether students are in the classroom, or learning remotely, there has been a wave of enthusiasm throughout both Year 10 and 11 in the first two weeks. I am delighted to welcome our excellent new cohort of Year 10 students, who have begun their iGCSE journey. The Year 10s have been very excited about being able to begin their options courses and have greater autonomy about the subjects they study. The returning KS4 students in Year 11 have also hit the ground running, and appear incredibly motivated to make this very important year a very successful one.
The beginning of the academic year is very important, and each student will wish to begin in the most productive manner. It is key therefore, to set targets and goals. All of the KS4 students have spent their tutor time reflecting on past experiences and setting their targets for this year. Academic and pastoral targets have been set using the SMART goals method (see below). This ensures that targets are meaningful and that progress can be checked throughout the year by students, tutors and myself. With this approach, I am confident that our KS4 students can maximise their potential and motivate themselves through this first term.
Mr Francis McGinty
I can’t believe that we have completed two weeks of the first term already. Time certainly does fly when you are having fun.
The Prep School has been buzzing with academic activity and artistic creativity. We have been painting, carrying out scientific experiments and have had a vigorous assessment week in Maths and English.
The Prep students began their sporting curriculum this week with Yoga sessions and preparation for Cricket.
Our new Prep Interactive floor has been thoroughly explored. Children have physically found patterns and literally made leaps in their conceptual understanding of counting forwards and backwards.
The older students have been busy preparing for interviews for the Student Leadership roles of Head and Deputy Head of Prep and Head of Houses. We excitedly await the outcome of this.
Finally, all that is left to say is that we have been so impressed with the positive attitude and resilience of our students, both those present and especially those online.
Keep up the good work, let’s make this year really count!
Mrs Alice Stokes
Head of Prep
After more than 5 months of no sport, it was with great joy that sporting activities were allowed to restart this week. With a reduced programme, and strict, tailor made SOPs for each sport, we were pleased to get under way with some sport this week. We have decided to proceed with a more cautious approach, staying away from contact sports like rugby and football.
PE lessons focused on building up some of the core strengths and fitness that may have been lost from 5 months of limited activity. This went together with some basic hand eye coordination, which allowed us to keep acceptable distances whilst still being productive.
The sporting CCAs also had to go through a few changes, with sports commonly played in the first term being replaced by sports that are non – contact and lend themselves more easily to keeping a safe distance. With all of that being said, it was great to see the students of Epsom College out and about on the sports fields and courts this week for some cricket, tennis, running, badminton and other sports too.
Mr Bob de Wet.
Head of Physical Education / Games
When we said “goodbye” to the 2020 cohort of Old Epsomians, as we toasted them at the online Leavers’ Dinner, we had no real comprehension of what was to happen on and around Results’ Day.
As the crucial date got ever closer, the news was full of what could occur. OEs were unsurprisingly nervous and getting in touch to discuss back-up plans, and even back-up plans of those back-up plans.
When Results’ Day finally came, the majority of the cohort were awarded outstanding results. Then came the government U-turn and it was great to see the few students who had been downgraded by the exam board were given an accurate representation of their abilities. This meant that overall the students achieved the College’s best ever A-level results since we opened with 70% of our students’ A level grades being A* or A, and over a third of all grades being an A*.
The cohort were indeed an excellent collection of students and we knew that they were capable of doing great things when the exams came around. While they were, of course, unable to sit those exams, it certainly does not take away from their results after what has been two years of hard work, dedication and, most recently, resilience. We are immensely proud of how they have handled this situation and believe that they are now well-placed to deal with the rigours of university study.
It was fantastic to see universities recognising both the ability and potential of our students, in accepting our students. They are now all set to start at universities in countries in the USA, UK, Japan and Switzerland, with 80% of students going to university within the UK and 85% of those students going to study at a Russell Group university. Overall, their universities include Stanford University, University of Cambridge, University College London, Durham University, University of Tokyo and Waseda University. While the University of Manchester was popular again, this year, the most popular destination for our students was London School of Economics and Political Science.
For the fourth year in a row, Economics is the most popular course for our students. However, between the cohort, they are going to read all manner of subjects, from Bioengineering to Civil Engineering; from Geography to Law; and from Natural Sciences to Pharmacology.
Now, it is time to start a new academic year and with a new cohort of Sixth Formers, it is their turn to embrace the opportunities that we offer. Whatever this next year might bring, they too have already shown resilience, which will serve them well during their A-levels, as well as at university and in the world beyond.
At the 2020 Leavers’ Dinner, the Headmaster congratulated all the students on what they had achieved and thanked them for their contributions to College life. They exemplified the College values and we very much look forward to witnessing what they achieve in the coming years.
Mr Jon Barker
Assistant Head (Sixth Form)