By: Melissa Stevens
Your child’s experience at school will have a profound impact on the person they become, the path they choose in life and their ability to success in their chosen field. That’s why it’s so important to find a school with a learning environment that will ensure that your child reaches their full potential. One key new player among international schools in Hong Kong is Malvern College Hong Kong – the HK branch of this 153-year-old British school will offer classes from Year 1 to 13. We spoke with founding headmaster Dr Robin Lister to find out more.
Dr Lister says that Malvern is bringing the boarding school ethos to the day school setting of the Hong Kong campus in a bid to develop a tight-knit community of pupils and teachers. He says Malvern will have a strong pastoral care system, where House Masters, House Mistresses and House Tutors will be involved with all pupils and meet with them on a regular basis.
“All good schools must have a system where the child values and respects the teacher but it has to work the other way around too, where the teacher respects the child,” Dr Lister says. “Once that mutual respect is in place, I think real education takes place. I believe that very, very strongly.”
The school will also have a program of personalised learning in place, which also puts your child’s needs front and centre.
Dr Lister says Malvern has a traditional but forward-looking ethos. Malvern College UK was one of the first UK schools to adopt the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme and the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. It also pioneered the Nuffield Science teaching program. “We are bringing all these qualities into the Hong Kong campus,” he says. “The other thing we are trying to do is follow a curriculum that is renowned for teaching not only factual information, but teaching children how to think, how to analyse problems, seeing what the connections are between maths, biology and English.”
“That is the philosophy of the IB,” he adds, “which we absolutely agree with. So, you teach a body of knowledge – you have got to have knowledge – but more important, because you can get a lot of knowledge from the internet, are the ways in which knowledge can be used. So, teaching children to actually think for themselves is, I think, an incredibly useful way to prepare them for the inevitable challenges they will confront when they grow up.”
Malvern College has an impressive roll call of alumni. “Thanks to its academic rigour, scientific heritage and the pursuit of holistic education, the College, together with The Downs Malvern, has produced four Nobel Prize Winners,” Dr Lister says. These are the chemist Francis William Aston, economist James Meade, neuroscientist Alan Hodgkin, and biochemist and double Nobel laureate Frederick Sanger. Other famous ‘Old Malvernians’ include R.E. Foster, the only man to have captained England at both cricket and football, C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia; Lord MacLaurin, former Chairman of Tesco and Vodafone, and Baron Weatherill, former Speaker of the British House of Commons. Dr Lister says the school aims to prepare students to adapt to the rapid changes in the 21st Century.
“We want to instil in each of our pupils the Malvern qualities: resilience, self-awareness, open-mindedness, kindness, collaboration, risk-taking, curiosity, ambition, independence, integrity and humility. We believe that if young people leave school with these kinds of qualities, they will not only be well-rounded people but will be better able to adapt to the new world.”
Read more about education in Hong Kong in our Schools section!