MARCO LONGMORE recently joined Stamford American School Hong Kong as Head of School, bringing with him over 30 years of experience in education spanning three continents and serving both the IB and British curriculums. We find out more about his vision for Stamford HK in the coming years.
Marco says he was attracted to Stamford HK for many reasons, including the culture of care that he found clearly embedded and evident at the school. “It was obvious from day one that Stamford has a premium-quality focus on individuals and their needs – from emotional wellbeing and character, to academic progress and outcomes.”
Now, he’s looking to continue to strengthen the school’s offerings after the disruptions of the pandemic, and to reengage the wider Stamford community in HK and beyond.
How is Stamford moving forward after the difficult years we’ve all just experienced?
The school’s readiness to embrace the post-COVID period has been clear from the rapid reopening of the campus to our parent community and to visitors and guests – including a series of international visitors who’ve already been welcomed to the school.
Stamford’s belief in the strength of our community is heightened by our ability to connect. Within the Cognita group of schools, we are recognised as having taken a lead in moving to online learning and community engagement at a time when this was essential. Equally, now that our inperson parent meetings, school productions, interschool sports events and in-person school tours are well established again, we have continued to use our technological lead to offer hybrid learning opportunities.
We’re also revisiting a set of committees and meetings that will ensure all members of our community, including those whose first language isn’t English, are fully integrated and involved in the life of the school. The best way to see these engagements is to visit – you will be extremely welcome.
Tell us a bit about the new House system that’s now in place at Stamford.
Our House system is built on the best of traditions from centuries of excellence in pastoral care and promoting wellbeing among students, but it also incorporates new and innovative elements. For one thing, the names of the Houses (Dolphins, Boars, Snakes, Monkeys), their designs and their purpose have been driven almost entirely from student initiative.
The students are also leading our thoughts as to how the House system will embed across the life of the school. Already, we’ve seen families within the Stamford community identify themselves with their Houses and forge the kind of connection that defines so much of the ethos and character of our school.
What are you excited about for Stamford HK in 2023 and beyond?
It may seem cliched, but there is so much to be excited about. Highlights for the year ahead include the establishment of our House competition and events programme, the graduation of our first cohort of Grade 12 leavers, and the establishment of our alumni association. The celebration of success of students in external competitions and examination awards is also something that is growing year after year, as is the involvement of our sports teams in competitions, including hosting tournaments at the school.
Perhaps the greatest prospect for the year ahead is the ability to showcase and involve not just our own Hong Kong-based community but our international connections and links within the Cognita group and beyond. As our leavers prepare to take up their highly-valued offers in universities and colleges around North America and Europe, particularly the UK, we know that the recognition of success that Stamford has in Hong Kong will become even more widely known.
How do you define your approach to education?
Education in its fullest sense develops not only the mind but also the soul. That’s why holistic education is such an essential foundation for life. Our ability to thrive in adulthood comes from an appreciation that life must have balance alongside commitment and effort – balance to learn how to lead in an ever-changing world and workplace, alongside care for our mental and physical health.
Our understanding of the importance of innovation and creative thinking is built on a basic assumption that we don’t have all the answers, but we have confidence that we know how to arrive at them. The education that I see at Stamford American school supports that basic need to constantly question but also have the tools and skills to find an appropriate and reasoned answer.
Our leavers of this year and many years to come will go forward in life knowing that they have a responsibility to make the most of their abilities and can apply that to their own benefit and that of their communities and their workplaces. That is an education that I value as a parent myself and I believe is valued by all at Stamford American.
What do you like to do in Hong Kong in your downtime?
Hike the trails – MacLehose, Wilson, Lantau, all of them! I’m from the north of Scotland so I naturally appreciate the outdoors and having the ability to find peace in nature. I also enjoy ballet and the arts, and I’m involved in chamber activities and educational committees.
Marco’s path to Hong Kong
Before joining Stamford in January 2023, Marco served as the Founding Head of College at Fettes College Guangzhou and has led the partnership between Fettes College, a leading UK independent school, and Bright Scholar Education Group, China’s largest K-12 private schooling provider, in their first joint venture opening. Prior to that, he oversaw the development of Brighton College Dubai in the UAE as the school’s Founding Headmaster, establishing the fourth branch of Brighton College globally. Marco’s previous career in the UK includes a nine-year headship at the Edinburgh Academy as Rector (Headmaster), during which the Academy grew to become one of Scotland’s most successful co-educational schools.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.