FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 96
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Hello and, as always, I hope that you are all well.
It has been a busy two weeks since our last Friday Flyer and, pleasingly, it is excellent to witness the community return to the rhythm of customary school life. The pupils and colleagues continue to maintain their adherence to the new SoPs, for physical distancing, and I find this sense of ‘buy in’ remarkably enriching. This collective spirit, enhancing our collegiate outlook, is pivotal as the world continues to tackle the ramifications of Covid-19. That said, with schools now permitted to allow more sports and CCAs, I hope that Epsom life is not just about maintaining rules and regulations, but also involves enjoying the full range of opportunities that our splendid campus provides. Indeed, on the latter point, Mr Harwood is propelling CCA forward and launching the system next week; it promises to be an innovative and exciting programme, and a further return to a feeling of (some) normality!
In the previous fortnight I have also enjoyed key interaction with the Sixth Form College Prefects, both as a collective group and in my individual, weekly, meeting with the Head & Deputy Heads of College. I welcome and fully endorse all these occasions, as they provide a really pivotal insight into school affairs and issues. We are blessed to have such a wonderful pupil body at Epsom, both Prep & Senior, and I am delighted to hear their views and interpretations on matters. In fact, under the direction of Mr Barker, we have our College Committee meetings starting next week, providing influential forums for pupil feedback on a range of areas. I look forward to assisting in this process and acting upon some important recommendations from these Committees.
It is also excellent to highlight the return to the ‘Flyer’ of the ‘Meet the New Teacher’ entry, providing a beneficial introduction to new colleagues at the school. With a possible easing of some immigration restrictions, we hope to welcome further expatriates to Epsom soon.
Many thanks again for your support and I hope that you enjoy reading this edition of the Friday Flyer.
With very best wishes,
Dr Murray Tod
Covid-19 has caused significant problems in education with some countries still in lockdown and students learning online. We are fortunate that the College is open and that we have many learners present in school, however, we do have a group of students that due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions are unable to travel to Malaysia. These students are receiving blended online lessons in which our teachers deliver lessons to both the in-College students and our online learners.
This style of blended learning does not come without challenges but both our staff and online students have again shown their resilience in making the most of online learning opportunities. In walking along the halls of the College, I have observed online students involved in science practical work, sharing in group discussions and even giving presentations to their classmates. I have also seen teachers using technology in a wide range of inventive ways to incorporate online learners into their lessons.
To ensure the College continues to offer the highest quality of learning to all our students, teaching staff have been meeting regularly to discuss and share examples of how to make blended learning lessons engaging and rewarding.
Mr James Brewer
Deputy Head (Academic)
After the frenetic energy of the start of term, we are starting to get back into our routines in Crawfurd. Each morning the girls meet with their tutor and get organised for the day. As we are still restricted from whole House assemblies we are using a mixture of daily check ins, live virtual assemblies and pre-recorded videos in order to stay connected as a House and continue to develop opportunities for public speaking practice. This Friday, our U6th led the way with a House assembly on Malaysia Day.
On Saturday mornings, the U6th also lead meetings of their family groups, comprised of students from each year group. These groups run mini socials together and also complete duties to help look after their living spaces. This week in the meeting they will be planning some ‘de-stress’ activities to offer the rest of the House after prep tim each evening. These will be activities like going for a walk, having a chat with a cup of tea and potentially even a House band. Family groups also have a tradition of making a cake for each other for their birthdays, although we have currently adapted this to be cookies or cupcakes to better support physical distancing and Khai Yue was also spoilt by her year 11 tutor group for her birthday as they organised a surprise tutor time party with the help of Miss Townsend.
A number of our new members this year are experiencing starting their Crawfurd and ECiM experience virtually. Cazra who is currently attending her L6th lessons from Singapore was kind enough to write down her thoughts on what that experience has been like so far:
“Online schooling has been a very different experience. To join a new school and entirely new system online without being there physically is definitely a very unique experience. Some challenges I have faced are making friends, being involved in the school community and learning to trust this new system because I am not there to fully understand and experience it. I think that the teachers and students are trying their hardest to involve me and I appreciate this. This is done through the check ins, the answering of my questions, the attempts to ask me questions during lessons as though I am truly there. Some things I have been involved in so far are the webinars like the Summer of Law webinar which I learned about through the 6th Form Calendar and doing a presentation in Literature class with a fellow classmate who was in school physically. Teachers have done a lot to involve me. These efforts range from small things like, looking at me through the screen when addressing the class so I don’t feel left out, to being kind enough to make PDF documents of everything they use in class even though I may be the only one online in that specific class. I also received a buddy for the Willy Wonka Week which makes me glad because the students are attempting to include me. All in all, this has been a strange experience and I am still trying to find my footing in lessons and school but I am happy to have teachers that are willing to answer my many questions as well as to have students who are nice enough to message me to get to know me even though I am not physically present and probably won’t be for some time.”
We are very much looking forward to the point when Cazra and her fellow ‘onliners’ are able to join us but until then we will continue to do everything we can to help them feel a part of our House community.
Ms Sophie Hill
Home is where the Heart is and this is indeed true for the Rosebery girls. We absolutely loved our time in Crawfurd House, it was a wonderful experience seeing both girls Houses being united as one, working together to complete tasks and learning from one another. It is, however, great to be back in Rosebery and the girls have loved making their bedrooms their own and getting settled.
Rosebery has six Family groups which comprise of aunties, big sisters and little sister. The Groups are named after famous and influential women; Pankhurst, Curie, Thunberg, Frank, Bhutto and Thunberg. These family groups are made up of girls in all year groups and nationalities. It is a perfect opportunity to encourage new friendships to form and for the girls to really get to know each other. This week the Head of each Family was responsible for organising an ice breaker session to allow everyone to get to know one another. It was thoroughly entertaining watching them play games, listen to the laughter and most of all see them having fun together. The next task will be for each family group to submit their chosen design for our outside porch area which is at present a very clinical white colour. This is an opportunity for the girls to put their stamp on Rosebery. I look forward to showing off the new porch very soon, watch this space.
Last weekend the full-time boarders and I decided to give a little back to the people that look after us so well. We decided to bake some yummy cookies for the guards and whilst on our lovely evening walk with Crawfurd House delivered them with a little thank you note. The girls felt a sense of pride as the guards were incredibly surprised and grateful to receive the unexpected treat. As a special treat, I also allowed them to make a treat themselves, a Kit Kat cheesecake. I have to say it tasted much better than it sounded and we all had so much fun overcoming challenges such as trying to get cooking cream to thicken!!! That took a lot of beating and even then it was nowhere near the consistency it needed to be, however, we put our science heads on and saved the day by adding more cream cheese. Hina’s highlight was buttering a digestive biscuit and Nadirah savoured every moment of her digestive biscuit that she soaked in melted butter (It is the simplest things in life that give us the most pleasure sometimes)! I promise the next baking session will be slightly more healthy.
Ms Jenny Mitchell
A Sense of Normalcy
We are now well into the swing of the new normal during these rather strange times. There is something refreshing about looking out and seeing the sports fields being used again, albeit only for non contact sports. After weeks and months of little to no activity for some of the students here at ECiM, many are slowly rebuilding their fitness as well as their hand eye coordination. Although, some are building it faster than others.
Cricket and badminton have proved to be extremely popular choices for the CCA program this term so far. Closely followed by the running club. The two Park runs around the school campus has also provided a great opportunity for the students to get out of their comfort zones and run as fast, or as slow as they like. There have been some great times set so far with Sean Doyle and Finlay Squires setting a blistering pace with an average of 13 minutes and 24 seconds over the two races. Tristan Tan, Koutatsu Suita ,Rion Nakagawa, and Aisha Azizul. Also produced some very good times.
The students must be commended on their ability to adapt to the new sporting norms and we look forward to watching them improve their fitness and techniques.
Mr Bob de Wet
Head of PE
Students at Epsom will begin a refreshed selection of co-curricular activities this week. A great deal of effort has been made by the staff body to ensure that our CCA provision fully reflects the Round Square discovery framework (see below). Our students will explore all 12 discoveries in their CCAs, which will ensure they leave Epsom having gained as varied a skillset as possible, ready for the challenges of the wider world.
Mr Phil Harwood
News from The Prep
We are delighted that Sports and Swimming are back on our time table. The exercise benefits the children in so many ways. They are able to focus better in other lessons, they learn how to work together as a team, they learn to follow instructions in order to develop their skills and increase their resilience. They understand the importance of having a healthy body and mind and they have a lot of fun doing so.
Some of our Prep children have also taken part in the Park Runs, around the school. What a perfect way to end a busy week of learning!
On the day of the Mid-Autumn festival, it is said that the moon is at its brightest and roundest. This has been interpreted as a symbol for the familial bond. Therefore, the gathering of friends and families in large numbers helps to signify the importance of this festival. This year it falls on 1st October.
The Mid-Autumn festival is also a time to reflect and be thankful; historically giving thanks for a bountiful years harvest. Nowadays, the festival allows for reflection, and typically involves prayer. Whether that be for long lasting health, beauty or prosperity; it is also a time for new beginnings. As such, hopes of marriage and babies may also be present in the minds of some of those celebrating.
Mooncakes are synonymous with this festival. These small circular cakes which are typically filled with sweet-bean or lotus-seed paste, encased in a thick buttery pastry, strongly mimicking the shape of the full moon. Most mooncakes are individually imprinted with chinese characters for “longevity” or “harmony”. The consumption of these throughout the festival help to re-emphasise family unity, given that they are typically shared between friends and family and accompanied with a pot of tea.
Epsom celebrates this festival every year, as part of its cultural studies programme. Students make their own paper lanterns, and are taught the history and traditions of this festival through interactive media.
Mandarin Department will participate in the “Mandarin Star of The Week” in Prep School. The first winner is given to Zara (Y4), for her excellent speaking in Mandarin, nice handwriting and very helpful in terms of assisting some students in learning Mandarin in the class.
Again both Mandarin students and teachers are celebrating another year of hardwork and success with IGCSE/A level examination results this summer.
Wen Li Leighton
Head of Mandarin
Meet the New Head of PE and EAL teacher
Mr. Robert De Wet. “You’re not just involved for a certain amount of time.”
After being born in Zimbabwe, moving to Ireland at 17, working as a sports coach in South Africa for 12 years, then coming to Malaysia, Mr. De Wet has certainly lived a very colourful and multicultural life. It was my absolute pleasure interviewing Mr. De Wet about his past and his plans for the future of Epsom’s sport.
From being in a boarding school in Zimbabwe from Year 5, all the way up to teaching in one, Mr. De Wet enjoys the transparency of the boarding school environment. He states that one cannot just be involved for a certain amount of time and everyone really sees every side of you, therefore allowing people to get a better picture of who you are. He continued to speak fondly of his past classmates that still keep in touch despite leaving school back in 2003. Although that was very nice to hear because me being born in that year makes it seem like an awful long time for classmates to stay in touch, what pleased me the most was the idea of also receiving that long-lasting connection with my current peers here in Epsom.
As our new Director of Sport, Mr. De Wet is currently focusing on the short-term goal of getting team sport going again (something I’m sure many of us are itching to happen too). The restrictions from the government makes it difficult, but he is eager to remind the pupils of the competitiveness and enjoyment of team sports as soon as possible. Although Mr. De Wet has been playing rugby since Year 5 and has also been selected as a provincial rugby coach, he also enjoys water polo due to the physical aspects, the tactics involved and how it is “more than just swimming”. His biggest sporting achievement other than getting selected as a provincial rugby coach, was working at a small school and being able to produce a provincial rugby player. This achievement coupled with his biggest life achievement of moving from Ireland to South Africa at the age of 21 with no family and, not only surviving, but thriving, certainly makes Mr. De Wet an inspiration to us all.
Mr. Adam Gary Kanonczyk. “Always something new to learn.”
Mr Adam values a growth mindset and focuses on bettering both himself and his students which was made clear to me when he told me about how he was teaching and working towards his second Master’s Degree (Masters in Education), simultaneously. He decided to get his second Master’s Degree because there is “always something new to learn”, especially due to the recent increase in reliance on both technology and online learning. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about his goals for this year and listening to him talk about his enthusiasm to both learn and teach at the same time.
Being born in the small city of Erie, Pennsylvania, Mr. Adam has certainly expanded his reach by being very internationally minded: working and volunteering in many different countries with different cultures. When teaching English in Guatemala, he also learnt some Spanish as he believes that we must all embrace different cultures through language. This mindset encouraged him to learn some Bahasa Melayu and Chinese due to the number of his students who speak these languages. “How can I ask them to try, if I do not?”.
Mr. Adam works with both Senior and Prep students and this year aims to increase their English proficiency to the best of their abilities. After working in Johor (alongside Mr. De Wet!), then moving to Epsom, he is embracing the challenge of the shift from teaching in an American school to a British one and simply wants to see all his pupils excel. His growth mindset is very inspiring to see and I’m sure his eagerness to learn will rub off on all his students.
Head of College