Creative Secondary School (CSS) opened in 2006 and has been an IB World School since 2009, offering the Hong Kong Diploma, IB Diploma (IBDP) and IB Middle Years Programme (IBMYP). We chat with the school’s Principal, Australian educator DR ANTHONY ADAMES, who has lived and worked in HK for over two decades.
How does the educational approach at CSS reflect the word “Creative” in the school name?
For me, being creative isn’t just about art or music; it’s about how you find solutions to problems, how you approach your work, and how you approach friendships and relationships. You need to be agile. This is why we always ask students to find creative solutions to difficult problems and to think outside the box.
On top of that, we’re a very warm and inviting school – we regularly invite people from outside school to join our community for activities and events; and we go outside of school to support community groups and engage with them. Some schools care primarily about academic results; while we do pay attention to results, we’re more concerned with the individual development of every member of our school community.
What else does CSS do differently?
I think the way we teach is completely different. We don’t spoon-feed students, but rather use an inquiry-based learning approach. We want students in both their academic and personal lives to take responsibility, and we give them the tools to do this.
CSS also believes in a collective spirit – we want students to work, contribute and provide community service together. Coming to this school is not a lonely endeavour. That’s why this year, in particular, we’ve gone out of our way to reconnect students socially.
How many schools can say they’ve gone from offering zero CCAs to offering 57?
And many are very affordable or free. What’s more, if a student can’t find something on the list that interests them, they can create a CCA – not many schools offer that.
Every MYP student at the school will now study a foreign language outside of Chinese and English; at the moment, we’re offering German and Spanish. Over the next four years, we will develop this programme to truly become an outstanding school for languages. And what goes with language?
Drama, theatre, art – all these creative things.
How can parents get involved at the school?
Join the PTA! Our PTA works as partners with us to disseminate information to parents. They manage a WhatsApp group for every year, where everyone can get involved in discussions. The groups are very welcoming and make sure all viewpoints are heard. The PTA also helps families who might be struggling; this might be financial support of some kind, or by running workshops for parents in English and Chinese to help with different issues.
What’s new and upcoming at CSS?
Finally, we can enjoy a normal school year! We’ll be running our Creative Week this year, and sporting fixtures are coming back, too. Our new gym is ready, and we have a new STEAM room with a gigantic green screen for virtual reality projects. Elsewhere, we have a newly resurfaced tennis court, a new climbing wall, and we’ve just finished building a Chinese Centre for language and culture. And we’re slowly renovating the whole school over the coming three years.
Every year, we have a theme; this year’s theme truly sums up CSS: “Good, Better, Best”. I inherited a very good school, but we still saw opportunities to improve, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re also coming roaring back from the pandemic. I think this year’s HKDSE and IBDP results will be the best in our history – we will knock it out of the park. This is a school to watch over the coming five years!
This article first appeared in the Winter 2022/23 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.