Single Blog Title

This is a single blog caption
3 Jun 2016

Friday, 3 June 2016

david-whalley-blogDear Colleagues

Well she made it! Blog readers will be aware that I have been avidly following the exploits of Marin Minamiya, former SIS student, as she battled the elements to climb Everest. After a real scare when the press reported several fatalities on the mountain, I was both relieved and delighted to note that at 5am on 23 May, Marin stood on the roof of the world. She has stated that her love of the mountains and nature came from field trips whilst at the school so I am sure all at SIS will be hugely proud of her achievement.

I mentioned her exploits to staff at the school whilst enjoying the graduation event for Y13 students. These events are taking place across the foundation and they are always emotional and celebratory as students reflect on their time studying at ESF schools prior to the next stage of their learning journeys. I was particularly pleased to see so many parents and this reinforced to me the concept of ESF as a family and how important it is that we recognise the support our students receive from their parents.

The ESF Student Council met this week and I met the group as they assembled at the centre for their board meeting. This group is made up of student Heads of School from all secondary schools and they are a credit to their families and their schools. They have been keen to discuss a range of important issues, in particular student wellbeing, I await a catch up with the co-chairs to be updated as to their next agenda.

Our students never cease to amaze, and there is such a rich source of talent it is always good to read about outstanding achievements. Last week the SCMP featured Alicia Sambrook from Renaissance College. Alicia is a 12-year-old dancer who will be taking part in the Fusion Dance Festival in the city of Limerick in Ireland this summer. Alicia was inspired after she watched the world famous Irish dance-troupe Riverdance in Hong Kong five years ago. She somehow finds time to train between three and six times a week!

I spent this weekend in London with a group of friends that I met at teacher training college in the early 1980s. A number of them are still plying their trade in schools in the UK and they asked about education in Hong Kong. It is always a difficult one to answer but I could only speak in the highest terms of the quality of teaching, leadership and the students themselves. They gave me the latest updates on the educational landscape and the challenges they face with the attitudes of some of their students. I must admit that I believe our students are our greatest asset and that this is reinforced as I visit schools across the Foundation. At one point we discussed education matters sat alongside the river Thames watching the boats go up and down past Westminster. Unfortunately, I had to retreat indoors as the cold wind was too much for me, I even bought a wooly hat! I am looking forward to watching the boats at Stanley as part of Dragon Boat racing next week, I suspect the wooly hat may not be needed.

I have checked the calendar and note that the end of term is fast approaching, I am aware that everyone is extremely busy with all the exams and end of term events that are crammed in to this time of the year. I wish you all well and thank you for your ongoing commitment to supporting all our students.

David Whalley