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ESF RECOGNIZES THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING ABREAST OF GLOBAL TRENDS AND INNOVATION IN EDUCATION.

By ANNE MURPHY


’ESF recognizes the importance of keeping abreast of global trends and innovation in education’.

Meet the Chief Executive Officer of ESF

On September 1, 2013, Mrs. Belinda Greer replaced Du Quesnay as CEO of ESF. Mrs. Greer has more than 30 years of experience in education, of which 12 years were as a school principal, six as an education inspector in Scotland, and before joining ESF, she was director of education services for an area of Scotland with 85 nurseries and schools. Learn more about Mrs. Greer’s role and plans for ESF in our exclusive interview and read more about ESF Schools in our Unique Asia Schools Guide

Since you started your role as CEO, what have been the most exciting changes you’ve witnessed?

Over the last 10 months I have been impressed by the rich and wide range of learning experiences across the Foundation. The ongoing professional growth of staff and their deep thinking around how we ensure an ESF education is an education worth having puts ESF in a strong position to meet the challenges of changing global trends in education. Achieving academic excellence is a given in ESF along with the need to nurture creativity, entrepreneurial skills and global competencies. The work of the schools across the Foundation in nurturing these skills is outstanding. An example of exciting change in the Foundation is in the area of learning technologies. ESF shows not only an ability to keep up with the rapid pace of development in learning technologies but has evidence of outstanding practice in the classroom.

What have you enjoyed the most about being CEO for ESF?

It is a privilege to be entrusted with the leadership and management of ESF and I am delighted to be in Hong Kong. I am enjoying working with people who are passionate about education and want to make a difference for students. ESF recruits principals, teachers and support staff of the highest caliber and invests in their continuous professional development. “The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers and principals” (PISA 2009). Collaboration across the Foundation is strong and focused on providing the best that education has to offer our students. I do believe that when good people come together great things can happen. I would like to see the best teachers from across the world attracted to teach in ESF because of the rich opportunities that they will have to develop their professional thinking and practice.

Tell us about your professional education experience? 

I have over 30 years’ experience in education. Before joining ESF I was a Director of Education with responsibility for leading the education service for two local authority areas in Scotland serving 100 schools. I served as an inspector with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (“HMIE”) visiting schools across Scotland to evaluate the quality of learning and schools’ capacity for improvement through self-evaluation. I have 12 years’ experience as a principal and have taught in Scotland and the Middle East.  

Would you mind talking about how your own children were educated? And how beneficial this education was for them?

My own children were educated in Scotland. They all benefited from a strong education system that provided good opportunities for academic attainment and wider achievement. The expressive arts and physical education and sport are strong in Scotland and my children enjoyed the breadth of the curriculum offered. They were able to follow their interests and had great opportunities to do so at after school clubs organized and led by teachers.

 

Have you observed classes at the ESF schools? If so, do you think any changes should be made at any particular schools?

I have visited classes in schools across ESF and have spoken to teachers and students about the learning experiences. The quality of learning across all schools is high but there is always scope to improve. In the best lessons, students are fully engaged in learning, often leading the learning and working collaboratively with other students. They are able to explain what they are learning and why. Further developing peer observation within and across schools would support and challenge professional thinking and develop practice. 

What exciting plans are ahead for ESF schools? 

Education is at the heart of our plans. ESF recognizes the importance of keeping abreast of global trends and innovation in education. Putting professional inquiry at the heart of professional learning and classroom practice is a priority. There are ongoing developments in ICT. Plans for the rebuild of Island School are well-advanced and a new ESF kindergarten will open in Tung Chung in 2015/16.


What challenges will ESF face as the government prepares to phase out its subsidy from 2016? 

ESF needs a sound financial strategy which will include income generation streams and greater efficiencies in the system.

As an education organization, what do you think ESF should be most proud of?  

I think ESF should be proud of the real and significant difference it makes to our students’ lives. ESF has a proud tradition and reputation for providing high quality English medium education in Hong Kong and for effectively meeting the needs of learners. The personalized and inclusive approach to learning, for students of all abilities, is exceptional and helps our students to face the future as confident and successful learners, effective contributors and responsible global citizens. 

Why do you think many local Hong Kong parents are choosing ESF schools?

ESF is a well-established education system with a proven track record in high quality education and strong school performance. Students achieve high academic attainment and wide achievement in the arts and sport. Learning is through an inquiry based approach which fully engages students in their learning and develops skills for life-long learning.

Are there any plans to develop partnerships with local schools?


ESF already has links with local schools but would like to explore further partnerships. We believe that strengthening partnership working with local partners in Hong Kong by sharing professional learning and models of school improvement will secure an education system that is the envy of the world. ESF is outward looking with a desire to learn from other schools and a willingness to offer our best ideas. 

See the full published article in: The Unique Asia Schools Guide Book (2014-2015)


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Canadian International School
Dulwich College Singapore

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

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