With all the convenience of a city centre location and the advantages of a strong focus on Science, Maths, Art, Research and Technology (SMART), EtonHouse Orchard adds a boutique, all-through campus to the popular EtonHouse group.
Education group EtonHouse has expanded its family of schools with a new all-through school at the heart of Central Singapore. Opened in May 2018, EtonHouse International School (Orchard) currently delivers the IB’s Primary Years Programme in the primary years, and will roll out a middle years’ curriculum that is based on the IB’s approach to learning, IGCSEs in Years 9-11, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in Years 12-13. The campus initially opened for Years 1-6 in May 2018 and will then open Years 7-11 in August 2018; Years 12 and 13 will open in August 2019.
View our school tour here.
The school will be EtonHouse's first all-through school, and it fills a much-needed gap in the group's secondary education offering. It promises to offer a very hands-on, inquiry-based learning path, with standout features including a focus on project time, enterprise and social responsibility, and STEAM. The school is also teaching IGCSEs over three years rather than two.
Teaching follows the IB's PYP in the primary years. This is designed for students between the ages of three to 11 years, and is an integrated, trans-disciplinary curriculum that focuses on the development of the whole child, encompassing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs, in addition to the academic focus.
Children engage in six units of inquiry that cover the disciplines of English, Maths, Science, Social Studies, Arts, Personal, Social and Physical Education in a relevant context for young learners. These are considered essential, globally significant, and common to all human experience. They contribute to the common ground that unifies the curricula of all PYP schools worldwide.
The secondary school will offer a middle years curriculum (Years 7-8) that promises a proactive use of information technology and inquiry-based learning (from the IB philosophy) with the development of the essential skills required to successfully complete the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). Additional focus will be placed on Sports, Robotics, Visual and Performing Arts, as well as ICT and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) subjects. This middle years curriculum is benchmarked to the UK National Curriculum.
EtonHouse Orchard differs from the norm by teaching IGCSEs across three years, in Years 9-11. By following a similar structure to the IB, the school's IGCSE programme covers two languages (English and Mandarin), three sciences, maths, humanities, art and sport. The school says that it delivers project-based learning that is very different to the traditional IGCSE structure, and there are concerns that this means students 'miss out' on traditional Year 9 studies. But, according to the school...
"By teaching IGCES over three years, we can focus on deep learning rather than exam-driven courses – and this better prepares students for the IBDP as they are covering the depth of subjects required to do the IBDP."
There's little information about the school's delivery of the IBDP as yet, but we would expect more information when Years 12-13 open in 2019. Orchard will be the first EtonHouse school in Singapore to offer the IBDP.
This new modern campus is well-equipped to deliver a SMART programme that focuses on Science, Maths, Art, Research and Technology. All year groups have ICT lessons, as well as weekly project time that is based on Google 20% Time (a policy that allows employees to work on whatever they want for 20% of their time on the job).
As well as offering programmes around design, sports science and action-adventure, this forward-thinking school promises to deliver a wide variety of music, drama and visual arts classes. A stand-out programme here is the enterprise unit, where all students look at entrepreneurship, social enterprise and social responsibility – and at "what does it take to start up a business that has a positive impact on society." This is an excellent example of the school's forward-thinking approach to education and community service.
While the school does not have the facilities on-site, the school does promise to offer sports like football, netball, rugby as well as strength and fitness training in the form of TRX, climbing, X-Fit, gymnastics, yoga and more. Recently, for example, students braved the mud pit and obstacle course at the nearby Centaurs Park for a PE lesson.
This new campus is part of the well-established EtonHouse group of schools, which is headquartered in Singapore and has more than 120 schools spread across the world. Other schools in Singapore include the Broadrick, Thomson and Sentosa campuses.
International teaching staff
At the helm is principal Alec Jiggins, an experienced British educator who has worked in schools across Colombia, Chile, Montenegro and Ecuador. Teachers have been recruited from the UK, Europe and South East Asia, all with experience of teaching in international schools.
Read our interview with head teacher Alec Jiggins here.
There's an international mix of students with no more than 15% of one nationality, and the current student body includes children from North and South America, Europe, Australasia, South East Asia and Africa. The maximum class size is 24 and, by the very nature of being a start-up school, we'd expect it to take a couple of years to get there.
The academic year runs from August to June. The uniform is the same across the EtonHouse group, and the school says "Because of who we are, our uniform has to be functional and comfortable. And students have a choice of bringing in packed lunches or ordering hot meals supplied from the central EtonHouse kitchen; Years 9 and above can leave the campus for lunch, and there's a choice of food courts in walking distance.
In terms of homework, expect reading at primary level and project work in the secondary years. Jiggins is "a believer in homework only when it benefits the learning in school". He adds:
“I’d rather they were reading, researching a project and investigating something that interests them – or riding their bikes, playing in the park, doing taekwondo and just being kids”.
EtonHouse Orchard describes itself as a "boutique campus", one that makes creative use of a small two-storey building at the heart of the bustling Tanglin Road. Here's a school with innovative areas such as The Campfire with beanbags arranged in a circle on the floor, a workshop-style Makerspace, and an open-plan Piazza equipped with musical instruments, a small black box theatre and 'designer' seating and desks.
While the school has outdoor space, which is sheltered from the busy road, it has yet to develop this. There are plans, however, to create a play area with benches and a garden for the students.
The school has a drop-off area at the side of the school, and there’s an underground car park if needed. The school anticipates that most secondary students will travel to school by public transport, using the nearby MRT and bus stops.
It's still early days for EtonHouse Orchard, but there are plans from August to offer a wide programme of activities covering the arts, robotics, sport and additional languages.
Health and safety
The school has a security guard, there’s keycard-only access to the main building, all staff and parents must wear ID, and all visitors must sign in at the front desk.
Contributions to the community
All year groups study an enterprise unit where they look at entrepreneurship, social enterprise and social responsibility. This certainly isn't a school where charity work is simply the annual bake sale or no-uniform day; instead, EtonHouse says that students look at long-term support for local community organisations and develop ways to help as part of their studies. As Jiggins says, "Charity is not an event, it’s a commitment."
Admission and fees
There are currently places available in Years 1-11; while the school currently only has a small number of children enrolled in each year group, this could change quickly. Fees here are mid-range when compared to other international schools in Singapore; for 2018-19, you will pay from $28,081 for Years 1-6 up to $32,100 for Year 11.
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