A Message from the Principal
Learning is the most important activity that goes on in the school. This learning takes place all the time and results from all the situations that students find themselves in. In this way, learning is a creative process and a creative response to external stimuli. Therefore, the role of a teacher is to create environments and situations that enable, encourage and stimulate learning. We are all learners and we are all teachers, whether we are called parents, teachers or students. We all have the responsibility to make each other’s learning as rich as possible. The environments we set up will include those that enable students to learn from students and for students to lead other students.
Learning environments can be real or virtual, personal or in groups, in class or far away. Our aim for students is that they become resourceful, adaptable and confident learners, so they should learn the skills of research and investigation that will serve them for their lives. Confident students will have a say in the planning of their own learning. Students gain confidence by setting goals they can achieve, but goals that challenge them to cross boundaries to greater achievement, greater understanding and greater challenges.
Learning is about experimenting, making mistakes and being supported in those mistakes to gain from them. Students should be focused on what they can do; not what they cannot do.
Our unique international environment demands a social, cultural and political learning process from our students. We want students to be aware of the world and their responsibilities in it, and they must learn to respect the differences of others and their differences of opinion. They will cultivate empathy and the understanding of others as well as seeing how to improve the lives of others.
Students will form opinions, which they are prepared to elucidate and defend and these opinions should be the result of reflection, research and thought. In other words, opinions should result from learning. Holding strong opinions does not conflict with understanding that others hold different strong opinions, or that careful thought may have gone into their opinions too.
Mutual respect leads to a higher quality of learning and students learn respect by being shown respect. Teachers are role models, as are parents and other students, so the whole community should take these responsibilities very seriously. Respect for others leads to respect for oneself. Students should feel comfortable, safe and valued in the school community. They must be heard and they must be happy.
Students must have the freedom to learn about their world, to extend their world, and to laugh along with their world, to know when to extend a hand to help, to have the courage to know when to take the hand of help, to use learning to always be a good friend and be grateful for the friendship and help of others.
Students who leave Island School need a clear view of what the future could hold for them and the confidence to face that future with optimism, excitement and the skills to adapt to a changing world.
Chris Binge Principal
This film entitled "The Spirit of Island School" was made by students Lap Yin Brooks and Freddie Rodgers
A message from Lord Patten, former Governor of Hong Kong
When I was appointed Governor of Hong Kong in 1992, my wife and I were inevitably concerned – like other families faced with similar decisions of moving job and home – about what to do about our family. Our two eldest daughters had left school which rather took care of things. But our youngest daughter, Alice, was only at the end of her second year at secondary school. What should we do about her? We were very reluctant to leave her behind at a boarding school in Britain. Nor was she keen on this idea. So we made lots of enquiries about education in Hong Kong. Most advice homed in on the English Schools Foundation in general and Island School in particular. We went for it and found that we had hit the jackpot.
When I look back on it, this is one of the best decisions that we’ve ever taken as a family. We never had cause to regret it for a nano second. Island School provided Alice and her friends with a great education – in the broadest sense of that word.
A school is not a machine for producing educational qualifications. It is a community which should teach its members about mutual loyalty and generosity and about the broader values in life. It should help develop the personalities of all its pupils, stretch them to the full and give them the self-confidence, whatever their academic attainments, to believe in themselves and to reach for the stars. That is the sort of school which we were happy and fortunate to find in Hong Kong.
Alice was not only extremely well taught but she found out a lot about Asia from her visits around the region. She made some great friends and had all the excitement of living and working in an environment with young people from every sort of background and country. There is a lot to be said for throwing together mixed ability and mixed race students – especially when the teaching staff are dedicated and tip top. Alice also discovered at Island School a passion for theatre which determined her career choice. I know how many families, who came to Hong Kong like us for a few all-too-short years, had the same happy experience.
My wife and I are interested in education, as parents and as citizens. I have been a Minister for Education and Chancellor of two great universities. My wife is Chairman of the Governors at one of London’s best girls’ schools. In our view Island School is in the Premiership League.
Baron Patten of Barnes
No Ordinary School book for sale
A hardback book detailing the first forty years of Island School’s history is now available to purchase. No Ordinary School, was written by Chris Forse, who taught at the school from 1974 – 2006.
Chris writes candidly and affectionately about the house system, foreign holidays, the fun the students had and the school’s charity work. He also explains what happened during the monsoon rains of 1992 and the riots of 1967.
To order a copy please send a cheque together with this order form or make a bank transfer. Alumni Book Order Form
Full payment instructions are on the form. Priced at HK$120.