• State-of-the art campus
• Large low-rise building with a contemporary exterior
• Central location in Kowloon
Kellett makes a positive first impression with its award-winning, state-of-the art campus. Located on a greenfield site in Kowloon Bay, this modern, purpose-built campus opened in September 2013 to give one of Hong Kong’s oldest and high-performing schools the space and facilities to grow and improve even further.
The well-lit, large entrance feels welcoming; the earthy tones are warm and inviting, and features such as the red phone box and mural of London’s skyline reinforce the Britishness of this school. Also, the mascot red dragon that’s dotted around the campus showcases Kellett’s strong school spirit perfectly.
Located just 10 minutes from several MTR stations, Kellett School is easily accessible by both public transport and car.
• Separate facilities for prep and senior students
• Spacious campus with an emphasis on light and nature
• Rooftop sports pitch and swimming pool with moveable floor
• Fully-equipped specialist teaching spaces to meet needs of IGCSEs and A Levels
Winner of the International Property Award (IPA) for Best Public Service Architecture Hong Kong, Kellett School is proud of the urban learning environment it has created for its students. During our tour of the school, principal Ann McDonald said:
“We’re very excited about how the design of the school enhances learning; it allows independence, gives students space, and allows them to embark on big projects.”
Kellett School is a school of two halves; the prep and the senior schools are each built around their own sky-lit atrium inside this contemporary campus. The open plan design makes fantastic use of every inch of space in each self-contained school, and it ‘brings the outside in’ using green features including real trees, earthy tones and plenty of plants.
“The prep school is not competing with the senior school for space; the students in each school here don’t have to share anything.”
The two-form entry prep school has a playful, colourful décor and there’s a huge amount of space for its small body of around 300 students. Classrooms circle a vast atrium that is filled with breakout areas, activity stations, and wooden climbing equipment. We saw plenty of examples of creativity from both teachers and students; large-scale displays included hand-painted poppies to commemorate Remembrance Sunday, a miniature garden, and a Chinese-style table to support Mandarin classes.
The classrooms are stimulating and bursting with colour. They are decorated with learning displays on the walls and hanging from the ceiling, and every room is divided into different learning zones. Specialist facilities include a library, music room, and a small theatre where all the facilities are age-appropriate and targeted at younger learners.
In the four-form entry secondary school, there’s a library ‘without walls’, a large exhibition space where we saw some very accomplished D&T projects on display, hubs for each year group, and various other ‘pods’ for independent and group study.
“It has all been built around learning as passive supervision where the students take ownership of the space. The further up the school the students get, the greater responsibility we have for preparing them for university and managing their own studying and time.”
The open library has shelves of fiction, lots of electronic non-fiction books, an open study area, and an IT desk (a must for a school like this with a 1:1 laptop programme). There’s also a dedicated sixth form room with sofas, kitchen facilities, and study areas; it’s conveniently located next door to the sixth form office and study rooms.
As well as general secondary classrooms, there are well-equipped specialist rooms for art, textiles, D&T, and music. There are six wet and dry science labs with the facilities for “lots of hands-on practical work”; a media studies room with green room and iMacs for IGCSE and A Level students; and three well-equipped and spacious art studios.
Here’s a school that has been designed to give students a huge amount of space, which is a rare find in Hong Kong’s urban environment. There is a large open plan studio where students have the space to work on large-scale art and design projects. We also liked how the windows between classrooms are used to encourage students to work independently in one room when a teacher is present in the class next door.
“The classrooms are spacious and flexible; students can work in small groups, pairs, as a class. It works – and it must be having an effect on our results.”
Across the school, the students are encouraged to learn music and sport, and there is certainly the space and facilities to do this. For the arts, there is a modern 300-seat theatre with an orchestra pit, grand piano and acoustics for both speech and music; students will soon be taking to the stage to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As well as music and practice rooms, there is a black box theatre, green room and dance studio.
“The whole premise at Kellett is about your personal learning journey and how much you’re improving each time. About six weeks after our children take up a new instrument, they will perform in a small concert. The music department is very focused on the more you do, the better you’ll get; the more you participate, the better you’ll be. And that’s reflected across the whole school.”
The school comes together in the large hall, which can seat 1,500 and is used for PE lessons, events and school-wide assemblies. Students have access to a sports facility off-campus, which is accessed by a bridge but the school was built to be as “self-sufficient as possible”. There’s an impressive rooftop sports pitch with four-lane athletics track, a sports hall where “the big sport is basketball, an indoor AstroTurf pitch, and an indoor 25m swimming pool with a moveable floor “which makes it hugely flexible for young children”.
Other facilities include a well-lit ground floor canteen and a Sky Café. Snack and meal times are staggered across the school so that all students can use the canteen and rooftop play areas for breaks.
We also saw plenty of modern language classrooms, which support Kellett’s teaching of Mandarin, French, Spanish, German, French and Latin.
“We also have a home language programme, which is a facilitation rather than a teaching programme for those students who require a qualification in their home language. The parents will arrange for the teaching of that, but we will allow them to come into school.”
There’s a calm atmosphere throughout the campus, created by the earthy tones, an abundance of natural daylight, soft lighting, lots of greenery, and two large trees growing in the atrium. There are displays of students' artwork and projects on the walls and in the corridors. And McDonald describes the community as a “comfortable and respectful” campus where students choose not to put locks on their lockers.
The design of the school is just one of several ways in which Kellet School is helping students to develop a positive mindset. As well as taking part in mindfulness courses and yoga sessions, students all come together for regular Feelgood Fridays with activities that focus on health and wellbeing.
While McDonald admits that the student body is not as international as other schools, there are still around 30 different nationalities here. The majority are British families, followed by Australians. “We are required to have a minimum of 70% overseas passport holders,” adds McDonald.
“We’re not a hugely mobile community, less than 20%, but we have to be mindful to those students coming in and leaving. Good beginnings are made by good endings so it’s as much about taking care of your students who are leaving as it is for those coming in.
We’re developing our alumni network, and we visit the main university centre twice a year to meet our students and get feedback for the next generation of students. We don’t want our students to feel that once they’ve left the school, the door is closed.”
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