Island School Redevelopment Update September 2016
At the start of the academic year 2016-17 it is timely to reflect on the current state of play with regard to the redevelopment of the Island School campus. We are pleased to report that both the detailed designs of the temporary school buildings and the new school itself are coming on very well and are near completion. All the preliminary drawing submissions have been approved by the relevant government departments and we are well on the way to achieving Gold Beam+ status for the new designs commitment to sustainability.
We have benefited hugely from being able to work so closely with TCA architects. They have been so committed to listening to our needs, wants and ideas. Having said all this we are no nearer receiving a fianl confirmation that the project can go ahead starting June 2017 and therefore can not be 100% sure that we will be relocating for August of the same year. We are hoping that the redevelopment project, and the government funding towards the project, will be ratified by the end of this month. As soon as we have had this confirmation, we are confident that we are on track to plan a very successful approach to temporarily relocating next year.
As we embark on what is hopefully our final year in this building prior to decant, it is vitally important that we a. Plan supportive, safe and efficient strategies for student travel to and from the temporary school sites. And b. That we become more strategic and anticipatory in our planning for sustaining our school ethos and community cohesion throughout the decant period. On top f that we need to be mindful that a sensitively planned community engagement programme is essential if we are to integrate with the Tai Wai communities and develop a reciprocally beneficial relationship with the people in the areas around the temporary school sites.
We already have a small group of primary parents that wish to work with us as we contemplate the concrete details of a transport plan, but we need more prospective parents to get involved. We need to hear your views and work together with you to ensure the complete success of the temporary relocation arrangements. Please email me on email@example.com if you wish to be involved. Also if you wish to accompany us on a visit to one of the school sites on 21 Sep 2016 please let me know. The campus we will be visiting is for Years 7,8,12 and 13
On Thursday 15th and Friday 16th January TCA architects visited Island School to present the concept design stage of the redevelopment with interested teachers. A recording of the meeting can be viewed above.
If any parents would like to come up to school to have an informal chat about any redevelopment issues or just to find out what the current state of play is, please be informed that we are holding ‘drop-in’ sessions on Thursday afternoons in Room 111 from 3:30 – 5:00pm. If you do want to attend please email Gareth on firstname.lastname@example.org
Island School has the pleasure of inviting all our current parents and primary parents to the Island School Redevelopment: Parents’ Evening on 25 November from 6:30pm – 8:30 pm in the school’s Main Hall.
In attendance will be Mr. Chris Binge (Principal) and Mr. Gareth Stevens (Vice Principal) who will talk about the developments to date and the challenges still to face. Also, Mr Billy Tam and Ms Peggy Seto from Thomas Chow Architects will be showing a presentation of the design concept of the new Island School.
We very much look forward to meeting all our parents and welcoming the primary school parents.
As we await final confirmation from the Education Bureau that we will be able to use the proposed Tai Wai school sites there has not been much progress since June on planning for the temporary relocation of the school. We should have news on this by mid-October and when we do this will precipitate the next intense period of planning for that aspect of the school redevelopment.
It has been a different matter when it comes to the development of the new school design. I was fortunate to be able to accompany the Architect team from Thomas Chow Architects to Denmark earlier this month. During a week of workshops with SHL the Danish Architects who are partnering with TCA to work up the new school design, we made significant headway in detailing a potential concept design. Whilst none of the ideas are set in stone, we are excited by the positive developments.
We are particularly excited about the emerging idea of ‘The Path’ which we see as becoming the heart of the school community. Similarly the work we have done in trying to rethink how we might design classrooms and the way they connect and interrelate looks very promising.
This update is deliberately short and covers only the main headlines. We have held many open parent meetings both at Island School and at our main feeder primary schools. All previous updates and presentations have been uploaded onto the redevelopment website which can be accessed by going to our school site www.island.edu.hk > ‘about us’ > ‘redevelopment’
- After visiting many sites that the EDB have suggested we may use for temporary relocation during the construction period, we have viewed two that are feasible and acceptable.
- We have informed the Education Bureau that we are interested in these two sites. Having said that we will not know for sure whether we will definitely have them until sometime in late September or early October 2014.
- Both are in the Tai Wai area and are near to MTR stations. One to Shatin Wai, the other Tai Wai. We believe that we can make the relocation period a positive experience for students, parents and staff. Through partnership with parents and the ESF centre we are committed to making the most of this opportunity should the sites be confirmed.
- During April we surveyed Island School parents as well as those with children in our key partner primary school. After having a professional company analyse and interpret the results we can clearly see that the main concern is around the logistics of student travel. This includes how students will get to and from the decant sites, minimising student travel between sites and safety and welfare issues regarding this journey and the potential it has to lengthen the school day.
- A full analysis of the survey data can be seen on the redevelopment website.
- Having visited the potential school sites several times and having travelled to and from them in a range of forms of transport, we are pleased to announce that the time to travel there or back to Pier 3 is between 20 mins (if you take a direct route by private bus or taxi) and 50 minutes (if you take public transport).
- The ESF will back up Island School in solving the transport issues. They are considering the possibility of subsidizing the extra cost of transport from the Island to the new sites and will arrange an efficient system to get children to and from the school sites.
- ESF will also support the refurbishment of both sites, ensuring a high quality of educational environments for all students. In many ways these will be better than the ones we currently have at Island School.
- The parent focus group have worked very hard and effectively with the school and have really helped input to decisions and actions that have been taken. The work of this group will continue and intensify and so if you want to be involved, please be in contact.
- After full consultation with all stakeholder groups we can now say that if the two sites are confirmed in Tai Wai we will proceed with the following model for splitting the school. School A: Years 7,8,12 and 13. School B: Years 9,10 and 11. We took this decision as it was the model favoured by the majority of parents and teachers and also because it is the best model for assuring the integrity of our curriculum and of providing the continuation of a diverse choice of courses for our students. For more information please see the full presentations of parent meetings in which these decisions were discussed.
- Once the sites are confirmed the following activities will need to be addressed and further consultation will take place:
- – refurbishment and improvements at the temporary schools
- – detailed travel arrangements (timing, routes and costs)
- – access for parents and visitors to the schools
- – arrangements for extra curricular activities
- – others?
The school and ESF are committed to an open and inclusive process for the decant arrangements and value the support and contributions made so far. It is expected that this consultation process will continue. Please get involved!
- Executive Summary of the analysis of the Parent Survey
- New school redevelopment brochure