The announcement of the opening of Malvern College Pre-School Hong Kong in September 2017, followed by Malvern College Hong Kong in 2018 signals the arrival of one of the longest established and most academically successful UK-based public schools in the Hong Kong school market. Malvern College Pre-School and Malvern College will be the 4th and 5th international schools to be operated outside the UK home environment.
Malvern College Hong Kong opened in August 2018 on a brand new, purpose-built campus that's located adjacent to the Hong Kong Science Park. The seven storey state-of-the-art campus is designed specifically with Malvern College's culture, ethos, and philosophy in mind. The 25,000 square-metre campus houses the primary and secondary school, and includes academic, athletic, and recreational spaces incorporating the latest innovation and technology in teaching, learning, and environmental sustainability.
The College will eventually provide 960 places for both primary and secondary students from Years 1 to 13. It is currently open for students in Years 1 – 10. The teacher-student ratio is 1:10 and maximum class size is 20 – 24. Malvern College Pre-School students have priority for places in Year 1 on an ongoing basis.
Year 11 will open in 2020-21 and Year 12 in 2021-22. The majority of places will be offered to students with foreign passports of an international background.
Malvern Hong Kong follows the International Baccalaureate curriculum (including the Primary Years, Middle Years, and Diploma programmes), targeting students from a range of cultural and educational backgrounds. An enhanced co-curricular programme to support the main curriculum is offered, and involves students getting ready for optional external examinations such as IGCSE, or preparing for SAT and IELTS and other university admission requirements.
Blended learning is a feature of the school in terms of the way in which the curriculum is delivered. A combination of face-to-face instruction with online learning, it is supported by the College as the most effective method of achieving effective personalised learning. The College champions blended learning with well-equipped learning spaces, makerspaces, and other modern purpose-built facilities, as well as the use of effective learning technologies.
The Hong Kong campus of Malvern College is led by a Senior team, all of whom have prior experience at Malvern UK or its Chinese campuses. The Headmaster is Dr. Robin Lister. Robin initially studied for a BA in Theology and a post-graduate teaching qualification at Hull University in the UK. He was then awarded scholarships to attend Harvard University, where he read for a Master’s degree after which he attended St Andrews University, where he took his Ph.D and undertook some part-time lecturing. In between degrees he worked for the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he remained as a consultant for some years.
He joined Malvern College UK in 1989 as the Head of Religious Studies, and was then appointed Housemaster in 1998, Deputy Head in 2007, and Senior Deputy Head in 2012. Robin’s move to Hong Kong can only serve to ensure that the ties to the UK College are as strong as possible.
Malvern College was founded in 1865 in the UK and, together with its primary school, The Downs Malvern, has provided over 150 years of education for both boys and girls aged from 3 to 18 years. The College is known as an innovator in education, having pioneered the adoption of Nuffield Science (the introduction of experiments into Science education), Language Laboratories, Ingenuity tests, and the Duke of Edinburgh (International) award scheme, among other educational innovations.
However, the College is not only known for its innovation, but also its academic success. It consistently receives “Outstanding” rankings from the Office for Standards in Education and the International Schools Inspectorate (OFSTED), the UK Government Schools Inspection Bureau, and the ISI (International Schools Inspectorate).
The College strongly believes in the importance of both academic and extra-curricular education, and was one of the first UK schools to adopt the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, which it feels offers the best-suited curriculum to ensure a well-rounded education. Malvern College is now deemed to be among the best and most established IB schools in the UK and routinely beats the world average IB Diploma scores in all subject areas.
The College’s IB graduates regularly average over 36 points (against a the world average of 29.9 over the same 11 year period), and 26% of students on average have scored 40 points or more (40 points normally being considered to be the Oxford and Cambridge minimum entry requirement).
Reflecting its broad educational focus, alumni include two prime ministers, three Nobel Prize winners, famous writer C.S. Lewis (author of the Chronicles of Narnia), as well as many business, social leaders, world class artists, musicians, and athletes.
In September 2012, Malvern College established its first overseas campus, Malvern College Qingdao, in partnership with Babylon Education, a Hong Kong based education group. Despite its short history, the school has established a strong reputation and its students have received offers from leading universities including University of Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California Los Angeles, and Imperial College London.
A similar school was established in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, in September 2015. Its first cohort of students achieved outstanding IGCSE results after one year in the school—57% A* and 67% A* & A. The newest international school of the Malvern College family opened in Cairo, Egypt in 2016.
The International team from Malvern College UK, responsible for the set-up of the overseas Colleges, recognises that “a one cap fits all” approach is not appropriate. “We can’t transport Malvern College in its entirety to any foreign situation, as it has to be localised,” says Allan Walker, Director of Malvern College International Schools. “You have to take account of local cultural and educational expectations. However, all the fundamentals of a Malvern education are there, and the way that we ensure that they are there is by regular visits to each school.”
“There needs to be an amount of flexibility,” adds Nicola Dudley, Director of Education at Malvern College International. “The school needs to have systems in place which can adapt to the local context. It’s important never to assume that something which works in one context will work in another.”
The Headmaster of Malvern College UK, Antony Clark, and Bursar, Guy Ralphs, are also directly involved with all the schools and meet regularly with the International team. All of these steps are designed to ensure that each school is authentically related to Malvern College, so that it is more than just a name – a trap fallen into by other well-known brands who have little or no direct involvement in the overseas schools named after them.
The College in Hong Kong states in its Vision statement that it “seeks to develop independent, forward-thinking individuals who demonstrate strength of character and responsibility”. The College is committed to giving students a rich learning environment, enabling them to become vibrant, inquiring learners, passionate about engaging with the world as global citizens.
In order to achieve its vision, Malvern College aims to identify and develop students’ potential through cutting-edge methodologies and learning tools; provide a holistic education, nurturing students’ qualities in ethics, global understanding, critical thinking, leadership, and teamwork; to build a strong sense of community, where there is a growing awareness of a common responsibility for the wider world; and, lastly, to deliver a positive contribution to the local community.
Students are encouraged to challenge boundaries, think critically, and act collaboratively. According to Anthony Clark, Headmaster of Malvern College UK, “It is the quality of the people and the human relationships between them that makes the Malvern Family. Whether it is the way in which a department, class or teachers and tutors work with individual pupils, our view of education is based on mutual respect, trust, pastoral care and a positive outlook.”
To accomplish this aim, the school focuses on key areas of development, namely: Academic – to discipline the mind; Cultural – to inspire the heart; Character Development – to create awareness of one’s self and be respectful of others; and Co-curricular – to strengthen the body as well as the mind and character. In addition to the clear academic focus of the school, the Arts will be an essential component of education at Malvern Hong Kong.
The College believes that, as with Sports and Leadership, the Arts develops and nurtures the creative skills and talents of students, as well as equips them with necessary social skills. In addition to the Arts being part of the curriculum in all the IB programmes, it is also be included in the co-curricular and after-school programmes. This will include Visual Arts, Drama, Dance, Music, and Film.
The co-curricular programme is a key part of the experience for Malvern College students, no matter where the location. Students at Malvern College Hong Kong experience a well-balanced daily routine in academics, and involvement in sports and co-curricular activities. They are provided with leadership opportunities such as joining the Prefect Team, being on the Student Council, and organising their own school activities under teachers’ supervision.
In a particularly unusual and innovative step, students participate in a mandatory chess programme for the development of higher-level critical thinking, and mandatory debate and public speaking for effective communication – evidence of the co-curricular very much feeding the academic success of Malvern students.
Students also undertake a variety of sports including rugby, hockey, football, netball, rounders, cricket, tennis, and swimming. In addition, in line with the IB MYP and DP programmes, each year Malvern Hong Kong students are expected to complete a set number of hours of co-curricular activities, divided among creativity, action, and service.
This can include activities such as music, drama, art, design, photography, digital animation, and creative and descriptive writing for the creative activities. Sports, hiking, fishing, cycling, and local, residential, and overseas educational visits are among the Action activities, whilst Service will include personal development projects within the school and in the local community, or prefectship, school council, House, and class representation.
While much is made of the academic success of Malvern College, a commitment to a personalised and individualised approach to learning means that Malvern College Hong Kong puts programmes and personnel in place to support students with both special educational and gifted needs.
Students with special education needs (SEN) will be supported through the use of specialists and personalised programmes. More able and gifted students will benefit from enrichment in Mathematics, Languages, Science, and the Arts, through individual programmes designed to pace and accelerate learning appropriately, as well as competitions in Mathematics and by inducing a love of literature through graded reading and creative writing in language programmes.
Malvern College Hong Kong will offer scholarships to deserving students by nomination and by application. Scholarship categories include excellence in the Humanities, Sciences, Arts, Sports, Music, and Special scholarships.
The school will also introduce a third language programme (possibly French, Spanish, or Japanese) in addition to compulsory English and Chinese, although no commitment on time-scale is provided as of yet.
In line with the experience of a traditional Boarding School environment, Malvern College Hong Kong will also incorporate practices and activities more commonly found outside a Day School. The College will incorporate the ethos of a British boarding school and transfer much of the best practice to a Day school environment.
This will include: a House system; House dining (community dining as a way to educate dining and social etiquette); evening activities (for one day a week, older students will be required to stay until 8pm to organise and participate in house/school activities e.g. Young Enterprise, Charities, and student magazine); and Weekend field trips (for one weekend a month, students will join school-organised off-campus events).
Bred from the Boarding School environment, there will also be a focus on the development of an effective and strong pastoral system. The school environment and structures aim to ensure that students are nurtured by developing healthy relationships with all members of the school community. In addition to the House System, the pastoral structure will also include a mentorship programme, weekly assemblies, daily form time, personal tutors, character education classes, and career and guidance counsellors.
In order to provide the standard of education and activities offered, little thought or finance appears to have been spared in ensuring that the College offers a first-class learning environment. The College's low-carbon footprint campus is designed according to environmental design principles that enhance natural ventilation, light penetration, and shading. The landscaping across floors have been consciously designed to match the adjoining green environment.
All classrooms in Malvern College Hong Kong are equipped with interactive projectors, audio systems, and acoustic ceilings. Laboratories feature industrial-grade furniture and equipment to maximise safety, with 4-side fume cupboards for better demonstration. The main reception lobby of the campus serves as a science centre and exhibition area for student work, while the multi-level, open-plan library serves as a learning resource centre and workspace.
On campus, Malvern College Hong Kong has a football pitch on the roof where students can spend their recess times. Inside on the ground floor, a 25m swimming pool offers all year round swimming to students and an indoor sports hall offers basketball, volleyball, and badminton, as well as being used as an assembly hall for school events.
A 450-seat auditorium with concert hall-quality acoustics, geared towards musical and orchestral performances, is also available. A Black Box Theatre equipped with movable seating, designed for multimedia performances from drama to live music and music rooms for a variety of practice, is also on campus.
With its wealth of history and academic success in the UK, together with its more recent developments in China, it is clear that families in Hong Kong who choose Malvern College are likely to experience an educational environment that aims to take the best of the original UK school and blend it with the local norms and expectations.
Inevitably, all this comes at a price. Fees for 2018-19 are HKD 160,000 for Years 1 to 6 and HKD 182,000 for Years 7 to 9. Families need to be aware that in addition to the annual fees, there is an annual capital levy of HKD 38,000, unless they have access to a Personal or Corporate debenture (Individual or Corporate Nomination Right).
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