Decant Updates April 2016

Updates on the decanting

ESF senior management is working closely with the Education Bureau (EDB) in an effort to secure the decanting sites as soon as possible. Planning for the move is well advanced with the school completing the teaching and learning strategies as well as engaging with students and parents. The facilities team at ESF Centre are completing the decant school designs and layouts and preparing the logistics plan.

Visits to decant sites

Students, parents and staff including principals, senior leaders and teachers from Glenealy, Beacon Hill and Island School visited one of the two proposed decant school sites on 27 January and 20 April 2016.

Andrea Walsh, Teacher and Member of the Island School Council Buildings Sub-committee commented on the site she visited as being “very spacious, close to MTR” and having “obvious potential”, and “Overall, very positive and great to have shops nearby.”

Sandra Logan, ISPTA Manager commented: “Very easy and fast transport links to Central, about the same as walking from IS to IFC. Larger spaces, easier to navigate. Active local community – restaurants and shops.”

Christine Meaney, member of Island School Council Buildings Sub-committee said: “Buildings seemed to have good space – corridors and stairways were wide. Rooms seemed to be a decent size.  It was much closer to the MTR than I had anticipated and the surroundings were pleasant and didn’t feel claustrophobically built-up.”

Brenda Cook, Principal of Glenealy School thought that the spacious nature of the rooms and the school in general would make it better than the current Island School site.

All those who visited the schools travelled together in a coach and then made their own way home at the end of the visit. Here is what students said about the new school and their journey home.

Niamh Neville, Student; “I liked the layout of the school, it was very straight forward and easy to remember which is an advantage for many of the younger students. It also has good areas for seating which I believe is a great plus since we don’t have any in our school right now. The assembly hall had a stage larger than our current one and has great potential for performances. Most of the classrooms are either bigger or around the same size as our current classrooms and with only four year groups in one school, the school will be very spacious. While quite far from central, the local restaurants and malls as well as the close MTR station make it interesting and accessible.”

Jonathan Fan, Student: “I took the 182 cross-harbor bus back to Central after the visit. The full fare is HK$16 and my journey time was just under 50 minutes. This was not too bad considering that the bus takes both the Lion Rock Tunnel and Cross-Harbour Tunnel.”

The MTR Journey planner estimates the time from Sha Tin Wai to Central as 36mins.  Click HERE to see the travel times on the MTR website.

Quality of Education

Each of the decant schools has accommodated a school community of over 1,000 people. Island School has only 1,250 students, so there will be much larger learning spaces at the decant schools. Most of the classrooms in the schools are bigger than the current ones at Island School.

The temporary relocation means teachers can prototype new ways of configuring classrooms. They will be able to test new ideas out before committing to such designs in the new school.

Curriculum Leaders have agreed a baseline for generic classrooms which is as follows.

  • perimeter shelf desking with stools against external windows;
  • LED lighting throughout;
  • a variety of different tables, chairs and other furniture for different types of activity / modes of learning;
  • flexible and agile-use furniture that allows for quick reconfiguration of classrooms;
  • wireless data projectors;
  • existing whiteboard / storage combination in each room;
  • LCD screen(s) to provide an alternative teaching focus;
  • durable carpeting;
  • trial of different acoustic solutions; and
  • faculties to determine ratio of student wall writing area to display

Council of International Schools Report

The body that accredits international schools the Council of International Schools came to Island School in February for their five year review. Their report following their visit directly refers to the challenges of the relocation and their confidence in Island School’s ability to make it a success. They say:

“The visitors have no doubt that, with the experienced school leadership and the expertise and support provided by ESF, the transition to temporary accommodation and the final move back to the redeveloped campus can be achieved successfully.”

This is part of a strikingly positive report on what we are doing. The opening paragraph of their summing up is as follows:“Island School is a high quality and innovative school and one that is confident of its direction, has a clear Vision for its future, and enjoys a high degree of support from its stakeholders. The school enjoys stable, visionary and thoughtful leadership, a faculty and staff dedicated to the well-being and learning of their students, students who are proud of their school and eager to attend it and strong governance provided through the ESF and the School Council.”

To see the visitors’ comments on the report, which is a one page summary, click HERE.