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13 Jan 2017

Friday, 13 January 2017


Happy New Year to all, it has certainly been a hectic time since we returned from the holiday, especially with the Year of The Rooster just around the corner.

I have just returned from Kowloon Junior School where over 800 students from across ESF primary schools have been enjoying the annual “Agents of Change” conference. The event included representation from over 20 NGOs who are working with the students around the theme of sustainability of the environment. All the students showed a high level of engagement, asked relevant questions and offered meaningful suggestions about the action they could take as a result of their learning. All NGOs, students and teachers expressed their desire to work together towards long-lasting relationships and expressed the value of combining networks. A big thank you to Dawn Doucette, Chiqui Colet, Amanda Bremner and members of Education Team in making this event happen.

It was also good to catch up with all school principals and heads of schools at the Committee of Principal meeting held earlier this week. The meeting was extremely positive as we look to move to authentic partnership, working together to ensure the best for our students. There were some great ideas to develop collaborative approaches to leadership and I think it gave everyone a boost for the year ahead.

I noted that the latest Higher Education Destination report provides information around the success of our 2016 Year 13 cohort. Over 91% of the cohort have been successful in securing a higher education place whilst 8% chose to take a break from their studies. Students are attending 241 different institutions across 19 countries. The most popular destination for ESF students is the UK, which accounts for 39.6% of all known destinations, followed by Hong Kong, USA and then Canada. 151 students have secured places at a university ranked in the world top 30 by the Times Higher Education Supplement. This includes 7 students studying at the University of Cambridge, 4 students at the University of Oxford, 2 students at Harvard University and 2 students at Stanford University.

It is worth acknowledging the efforts of the higher education teams within each school who provide high quality support so that our students are well informed about the choice of university and the choice of course, they make a hugely stressful time for all concerned far more manageable. Also a reminder that the ESF University Fair takes place at Island School next week on 18 January. This is a ‘not to be missed’ event for prospective undergraduates as there will be well over 100 universities represented, I look forward to the event.

Also a ‘save the date’ reminder is that Ms. Siva Kumari, IB Director General, will be at ESF Centre on Monday, 13 February 2017 at 3:30pm to meet with colleagues from across ESF. It will be good to meet Siva and I am sure it will be a great opportunity to receive the latest updates on how the IB is looking to work with us all in the future.

As a new year is upon us I am considering the format of this communication and how to make improvements in the future. I will take a break from this blog until I have had chance to speak with colleagues in schools. If you have any suggestions as to how the blog can be improved please get in touch. In the meantime, good luck with all that has to be done in the next few weeks and kung hei fat choi for the end of the month.

David Whalley