What is Epsom like behind the scenes?
To gain an insight into life at Epsom, we invite you to take a look at the following selection of articles:
A SCHOOL IS ONLY AS GOOD AS…
The success of Epsom College in Malaysia (ECiM) is based not only on the exceptional pupils that we attract to the school, pivotal though that is, but also on the outstanding abilities of our teaching staff. The traditional mantra, based upon many generations of educationalists in the UK, of ‘A school is only as good as its teachers’, continues to hold true. ECiM is extremely fortunate in possessing a first-class teaching body, encompassing the very best of UK and international experience. We have staff, and Headmasters, who have taught at elite UK independent schools, whilst the diverse experience of our staff is encapsulated by the range of countries or cities in which our colleagues have worked: Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Dubai, England, New Zealand, Vietnam, Wales… The list is endless and the ECiM College community is all the better for it, allowing us to more fully appreciate the backgrounds of our students who hail from 25 different nations. Furthermore, we encourage Malaysian applicants for our teaching posts, seeking to mesh the very best local teachers with our keen international profile.
Nevertheless, despite this range of background, a common unifier for many of our teachers is their education in the UK, both initially at Russell Group Universities and subsequently in their teacher training. This is evident through our Prep to Senior School, and is a hallmark of all that makes ECiM’s education rich and vibrant. Indeed, in addition to a number of doctorates on the staff list, we have First Class Honours graduates, university prize winners and colleagues who began their teaching career in hallowed university cloisters.
The key determinant, of course, is the impact that a talented set of teachers can have with a gifted pupil cohort. Ultimately, it is pupil outcomes, both attainment and welfare, that count and serve as a benchmark to evaluate progression. At ECiM our teachers strive for excellence, are unforgiving on mediocrity and insist on exemplary behaviour. We need our teachers to imbue forensic subject knowledge into their classes, reflecting their own earlier training, to push students to find ever deeper levels of meaning in their courses. In this manner, our pupils will become inquisitive independent learners, and they too can continue the quest to delve for ever greater knowledge on their areas of interest.
COMBINING THE BEST OF TRADITION AND TECHNOLOGY
At Epsom Prep School, we focus on creating a dynamic learning environment that draws on both established and modern techniques.
Here at Epsom Prep School, we know that children learn best when they’re happy and engaged, which is why we take such pride in cultivating a welcoming school atmosphere. With excellent teaching, fantastic facilities, a varied curriculum and dedicated educators, Epsom Prep School has all the elements needed for a great education, with the added advantage of a positive and supportive environment. Once your child enters our school, they will become part of the Epsom family in no time.
Our focus at Epsom is on positive education. We want all children to enjoy learning and to that end, we base our work on our seven foundations of positive education: joy, purpose, power, gratitude, connection, possibility and resilience.
Modern teaching and learning methods
It is vital in today’s increasingly connected and digital times that teaching methods stay current and relevant. At Epsom, we pride ourselves on our cutting-edge teaching, encouraging 21st-century skills like collaboration and communication across age groups and subjects. Each subject has a specifically tailored approach taught by specialist teachers. For example, based on their records of success, we use the Singaporean methods to teach mathematics. We don’t just want students to get the right answer: we want them to know why an answer is correct, and to be able to explain the reasoning behind it. No rote learning here – we encourage engagement with the subject matter to enable a true understanding of every lesson.
At Epsom, there’s always something new happening throughout the day. Your child could have a one-to-one drum lesson followed by swimming and then use iPads as part of a topic lesson. Our varied curriculum includes drama, PE, swimming, computing and a range of languages which includes Mandarin, French and Spanish. English, too, is of the utmost importance. We provide special support for children who need help with their English language skills, through our specialist English as an Additional Language and Intensive English Language Provision courses. Small groups mean students are able to learn the language in a friendly, encouraging environment.
An encouraging environment
Low teacher student ratio
An important part of the Epsom way is our low teacher-to-pupil ratio. This means that every child gets the attention that he or she needs, and is both supported and challenged as the task requires, to maximise the potential for learning. Teachers and teaching assistants have a close and observant relationship with the students, learning how best to stimulate their attention and learning capacity, and tailoring lessons to meet their needs. Students are also able to attend voluntary extra lessons on Saturday mornings. Saturday School is an opportunity for children to develop their swimming, improve their PE skills or develop their artistic ability.
Outside lesson time, student voice and leadership is incredibly important at our school. Opportunities such as House Captain and Head of School are available for students to take initiative and champion causes that they feel strongly about. There is also a school council which offers children the chance to voice their opinions and thoughts. Students are a vital part of the school, and we want them to feel involved in its running. To date, they have organised discos, led assemblies and planned charitable events.
Parents too play a vital part in Epsom Prep School. Whether it is attending Celebration Assembly, volunteering to read with children or plan special events such as Chuseok and Halloween, Epsom parents care deeply about our school and we love having them involved. We keep them up-to-date with information through coffee mornings, open days and an online portal.
In essence, therefore, in 2018 perhaps a more enlightening College motto should really be that ‘A school is only as good as the quality of the relationship that exists between teachers and pupils’, for it is that diversity of approach, based upon sound educational principles, which truly determines the greatness of a school.
A TIME OF TRANSITION
Sixth Form should be about the transition from GCSEs to university, and at Epsom College in Malaysia, we encourage students to embrace all the challenges this transition brings.
At Epsom College in Malaysia, we know that there are key periods in students’ lives that require extra support. One of these times is Sixth Form, a time of transition and change, when students are preparing to make one of the biggest moves in their lives so far: from school to university. The difference in environment between secondary and tertiary education cannot be overstated, and students who are unprepared for the change can find university overwhelming and stressful. Our role is to equip students with the skills they need to thrive independently at university.
A space of their own
At Epsom College in Malaysia, we’ve created a space purely for the Sixth Form, The Grayling Centre.
There are three key sections: the study area, the social area and the tutorial rooms. Here the Sixth Form students can spend time studying, revising, discussing and relaxing in between classes, in an environment that is structured but also respects their growing autonomy. The tutorial rooms in particular have been designed to be much more like the study spaces that are found at universities. The rooms are used by students and staff alike for a variety of purposes, whether to practise public speaking, work on group projects, engage in seminars or have meetings.
What goes on outside the buildings of the school is equally important, and students are encouraged to involve themselves in a wide range of active cross-curricular activities. Students stay healthy by participating in sports and develop leadership, resilience, determination, problem-solving and teamwork qualities. This can also be seen through the International Award, for which a number of our Sixth Form students completed their Gold Award during their time at ECiM.
At university, students will be expected to hold their own in group discussions and presentations; we require the same, as we want students to engage fully with the material and then discuss and debate this with both teachers and their peers. Many students find this difficult, so to complement teachers’ efforts to encourage students to both ask and answer questions in class, we offer a number of cross-curricular activities that can help students to develop these skills, such as the English Speaking Board, Debating, Model United Nations, and TED Ed Club to name a few.
A key part of the transition from GCSEs to A Levels is about embracing a holistic education and looking beyond the curriculum, so that students can engage both with their subject material in class, and other material that might be of interest. This is something we inculcate across the whole of Epsom College in Malaysia. The Sixth Form, for example, offers the Horizons programme, which allows students to challenge themselves intellectually outside of their usual A Level subjects. One way in which they can do this is through a series of academic lectures, presented to them by visiting academics and our own teachers. Some students themselves have also presented to their peers. These lectures, called Rubber Head Talks, have ranged from the experiences in the Falklands War, to Hampton Court Palace, to music in computer games, to the economics of supermarket shelves, to the Rwandan genocide, to the literature of Joseph Conrad.
One of the benefits of boarding school is that the students can gather again in the evenings (or early mornings for some live events). At Beanbag Events, students watch documentaries, films or unfolding live events in a more relaxed setting and then discuss elements of what they have watched. Some Beanbag events in the last eighteen months have included Hidden Figures, the Brexit election result, the US election result, Icarus, Exit Through the Gift Shop and the Act of Killing.
Each September, three subject mentors join us from British universities for a few weeks. These students, both undergraduates and postgraduates, support ECiM students in both their studies and their university applications. The interns’ input into students’ university applications is just one small part of the process. Over 100 universities visit ECiM over the course of a year, including 50 universities who attend our annual University Fair in October. These visits give students an insight into both courses and universities, whether the focus of the talk is something that they have considered before or not. Through Bridge-U, students are able to investigate both universities and courses, using filters that help them to input any preferences that they might have. Combined with the university visits and assistance from the Head of Higher Education, the Head of Sixth Form and other members of teaching staff, the students focus down, until they have decided on the destinations that they wish to apply for and in whatever country that is in.
During the year, workshops are offered on topics such as Debating, Oxbridge, Personal Statement writing, SAT v ACT test taking, US applications, Australian applications, Canadian applications and Visa applications. IELTS lessons are also offered, in order for students to maximise their potential in the language test that is required for many student visas.
On top of their A Levels, we expect the majority of A Level students to also complete the Extended Project Qualification on a topic of their choice. We believe that students who complete the EPQ are better prepared to take up their places at university and in their careers. The EPQ greatly supports applications to top universities with some institutions offering lower offers to those who achieve an A in their EPQ. The EPQ also helps students to deliver strong personal statements and interviews, with universities recognising how students’ passions for their subjects come through more naturally in their applications, whilst the EPQ also makes them better prepared for more research-based learning at university.
When students leave Epsom College in Malaysia as Old Epsomians, they will have gone through a rich, supportive programme that has equipped them with the skills they need for both independent study and independent living. Through their time in school, they learn how to engage with lessons, appreciate new viewpoints and develop their own opinions. Through their time as boarders, they learn how to live responsibly and independently. Through all the support that is offered to them during their time in the Sixth Form, they develop into undergraduate students who can subsequently thrive on the challenges that they are faced with in Higher Education. We wish them all the best in their future.
READY TO TAKE ON THE WORLD
Epsom College in Malaysia’s 2018 leavers are set for international success.
With great grades in hand, this year’s Epsom College in Malaysia (ECiM) school leavers are primed to attend the universities of their choices across the world. It’s been a great summer for results, with 73.8% of students achieving A*-B grades across all of the 2018 results, and 35% of the year group achieving at least 3 A* or A grades.
A global education
ECiM students attend universities all over the world. This year, 79% of our school leavers will be heading to the UK for their tertiary studies, at such renowned universities such as Imperial College London, University College London, University of Warwick, University of Nottingham, University of Southampton and University of Manchester. ECiM leavers will also be heading to the USA to study, with students accepted to study Computer Science at the prestigious University of Washington, and also to Australia.
Passion and ambition
At ECiM we encourage our students to pursue the subjects that reflect their talents and interests, because we know that learning should be approached with passion. In 2018, our leavers were evenly split between Arts & Humanities and Sciences.
A number of our students also opted to carry out the Extended Project Qualification, with 75% of them obtaining an A* or A grade. Some chose to complete the qualification with a 5,000 word essay, while others produced an artefact and a 1,000 word essay – all of them found success with the universities of their choices.
The most popular subject among the students, for the second year running, was Economics, followed by Computer Science, Architecture and Law. Many ECiM students have gone on to pursue engineering courses, in the many forms that the discipline can take, from mechatronic engineering to biomedical engineering. We’re always thrilled to see the paths that follow these early interests, and are proud to say that 27% of our students achieved a place on a course ranked in the UK’s top ten.
There is a well-established tradition of students from the UK taking gap years, and now most universities report that between 10% and 30% of their students have taken a gap year. The trend is also growing in the USA, where the number of students opting for a gap year has grown by 20% over the last few years. It’s the same here at ECiM – four of our leavers have made the decision to extend their education with a gap year before university. They intend to use the time pursuing internships and work experience placements to gain valuable real-world experience (and a financial boost!) before heading back into the academic world.
Whether they’re headed to a new city, new country or new workplace, we support all of our 2018 leavers in all their endeavours, and wish them the very best of luck. With a solid educational foundation and an appreciation for hard work, success will await them at every new chapter.
WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE THE BOARDING SCHOOL WAY
The decision to send your child to a boarding school isn’t an easy one – but it could be the best thing for them.
The boarding school tradition is a long and established one, and conjures many images in the minds of people – as well as many myths. In popular culture, boarding schools are scenes of mischief and adventure, or misery and solitude. But neither of these exaggerated stereotypes come close to representing the whole experience of learning and staying at a boarding school. At Epsom College in Malaysia (ECiM), we pride ourselves on inculcating a nurturing, supportive boarding school environment, one that ensure students are supervised and cared for so that they can reach their optimum potential both in and outside classrooms. If you’re contemplating to send your child to board with us at ECiM, here are three very good reasons to do so.
Students get personalised attention from teachers.
The highest level of pastoral care
The best boarding schools have a culture of providing the best possible pastoral care, and that’s what we do at ECiM. Our experienced and caring team of boarding staff work in a number of ways to create an engaging environment that is conducive to learning and academic achievement. First of all, they’re always close at hand: The Housemasters/Housemistresses, Assistant Housemasters/Housemistresses and Resident Tutors all live in accommodation attached to the boarding houses. During term time, that means boarders have 24-hour access to pastoral care. Whenever support is needed, it can be provided straight away.
Our boarding staff develop firm but nurturing relationships with boarders in order to understand their background, behaviour, abilities and, most importantly, their potential. It’s a round-the-clock support system that helps students to flourish in every aspect of their academic and social life. And it’s a two-way relationship – the pastoral care is enriched by open channels of communication with the students and, just as crucially, with their parents. Whether through informal conversations at drop-off after the holidays or regular emails and phone conversations, our staff welcome the opportunity to establish warm relationships with parents, to allow us to understand their sons and daughters as individuals better.
Academic achievement is emphasised
Ultimately, your children are here to study and excel, and our priority is helping them to achieve their best in every subject. Each evening, apart from Saturdays, boarders have a set Prep time in which they are to complete their homework and any necessary revision or extra study. This is a structured and formal part of the evening, and expectations of behaviour are made very clear by academic staff on duty. The academic staff member on duty is able to assist in their specific subject areas, as well as give general guidance on time management and organisation. These supervised and managed Prep sessions are one of the key benefits of boarding and are crucial in helping students to develop and improve the independent study skills which will be vital for the progression to university.
Social development inside and outside the classroom
Encouraging students to be confident, independent and well-adjusted individuals is an integral part of the boarding school experience. Here at ECiM, our boarders mix with students of different ages, backgrounds and cultures. This environment equips them with the social and interpersonal skills that are critical for success in both their personal and professional lives. Students are able to aim for leadership roles, engage with schoolmates across different years and extend their schooling experience beyond the confines of classrooms. All of these opportunities combined allow our students to become compassionate, considerate and confident global citizens.
Boarding school is an experience for your child unlike any other, and one that will help shape him or her into a confident, responsible and proactive individual. Boarders get the best of both worlds: intellectual engagement even after the end of the school day, and social interaction with their peers and friends in structured and relaxed environments. If you decide that boarding school is the right fit for your child, we will be there to help them reach their optimum potential.