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Five Centres of Excellence and Malvern DNA

By ITS Education Asia

Recently, our Director of Education Services, Anne Murphy, sat down to have a chat with the leaders of Malvern College Hong Kong, Mrs Jacqueline So, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Malvern College International, Asia Pacific; Dr Robin A. Lister, Founding Headmaster of Malvern College Hong Kong and Mrs Jacqueline McNalty, Founding Principal of Malvern College Pre-School Hong Kong.

Malvern College Hong Kong is member of a growing network of Malvern schools across the globe. The College in Hong Kong outlines in its Vision Statement that it ‘seeks to develop independent, forward-thinking individuals who demonstrate strength of character and responsibility’.  It aims to identify and develop  pupils’ potential through cutting-edge methodologies and learning tools; provide a holistic education, nurturing pupils’ qualities in ethics, global understanding, critical thinking, leadership and teamwork and to build an awareness of a common responsibility for the wider world.

Mrs Jacqueline So, explained: “Although each Malvern school has its own unique identity, mission, mix of staff, culture and community, they all share the same DNA. But first and foremost, we put the pupils at the center of everything we do. We want our  pupils to be truly open-minded, have positive learning experiences, and have the ability to collaborate with those from backgrounds different to their own. It is critical for us to support our pupils to become responsible, problem solvers for the future.

Across the Malvern Family of Schools, focus is placed on the ‘Five Centres of Excellence’, which was explained by Mrs So as: British-style Pastoral Care; Enhanced Learning; Entrepreneurial Education; Outdoor and Environmental Education and Global Network.

Mrs So added, “Family culture is equally dear to our hearts and no matter how Malvern grows, we still want to make sure everyone builds a personal relationship with each other. Hopefully, as we do grow, the little ones in the Early Years will be able to recongise the Malvern pupils on the other side of the planet and know that they too are part of their Malvern family.

We value, and treasure, the relationships among all the people within the Malvern Family of Schools.  It’s something we take very seriously. We care, and we want every child to come into our family and be really happy”, she emphasized.

Creating a strong sense of community and taking care of pupils’ emotional and social well-being is a strong focus at Malvern College Hong Kong. The aim is to further pupils beyond academics by nurturing also their physical, social and emotional development. Character education, building and strengthening good personal relationships within the school community and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle are integral to Malvern’s effective pastoral care system.

Malvern College Hong Kong believes that pupils’ wellbeing and happiness must be a joint effort between school and parents, and that the end goal can only be achieved if both parties work together.

Malvern College Hong Kong embeds a focus on well-being across the school through the curriculum and dedicated tutor time. Its entire academic team is carefully and thoroughly trained to assess and monitor pupils’ well-being, identify problems early on, and provide appropriate support.

Dr Robin Lister explained: “Recently, we ran a well-being week. Two to three times per day, a speaker would come on across the school, asking  all children to stop what they are doing and inviting them to meditate. Whether they are big or little children, they stop what they are doing and practice breathing exercises. It works really well, and the teachers do it also.”

Mrs Jacqueline McNalty explained that this is complemented by the  eleven Malvern Qualities. “We have a focus on kindness, on independence, on resilience. We’re teaching that even with the two-to five-year-old children.  In our preschools, we feature a different Malvern Quality every month, which we celebrate and showcase through stories,  songs and assembly. For example, “kindness”: we ask the children, how does that look like? How does it feel? How can we show kindness and how can we be a friend? The Malvern Qualities enhance well-being not only for the individual, but also for the class community. This approach works really well, be it online or on-site. We extend it to the parents as well”, 

Mrs McNalty continued.


Mrs So added, “The addition of these new initiatives further strengthens pupils’ learning experience; it helps them to structure their individual learning programmes, ultimately leading to Gifted & Talented programmes to really stretch our high ability pupils who then can take on new opportunities. Our Entrepreneurial Education is really a big thing”.

“Entrepreneurial Education forms a strand a within our curriculum focused on inculcating creativity and innovation, de-compartmentalization, risk-taking, resilience, collaboration, independent and critical thinking: these are the skill sets which move Entrepreneurial Education beyond a narrow business-focused definition. We have to prepare our pupils for a world where they readily have access to knowledge - and what they need are skills. And the skills that they need are summed up in this phrase ‘Entrepreneurial Education’: to be a risk taker, to be creative, to be analytical, and to be critical”, Dr. Lister continued.

Fostering an entrepreneurial spirit starts at Pre-School through to secondary level and is inextricably embedded in the Malvern Qualities and the IB approach. Pupils are encouraged to think critically and creatively, to be independent and to take risks in their learning.

Units of Inquiry provide scope for pupils to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities and in so doing, pupils display originality in their ideas and thought. It is encouraged across the curriculum, through both the PYP Exhibition and PYP transdisciplinary theme units, MYP subject options and interdisciplinary units and Service as  Action programmes.

Mrs McNalty added: “Malvern’s got a very famous motto, ‘wise is the person who looks ahead’. We want to prepare our children for the world of tomorrow. Risk taking is one of our Malvern Qualities and encouraged in our Forest-Beach School programme. Even our three- and four-year-old pupils learn to take risks in a safe way.  At Forest-Beach School, there are wonderful opportunities for them to take on challenges.”

Malvern’s ‘Five Centres of Excellence’ initiative is the anchor of the organization and will be a key driver of the way forward. “We are extremely proud of our high-quality teaching team and in their ability to incorporate our ‘Five Centres of Excellence’ within their teaching. We are all aware that the active minds of tomorrow are reliant on the guidance and support of their teachers today, and we, at the Malvern Family of Schools, are confident that every member of our team will open up this world of possibilities to all our pupils”, concluded Mrs So.

For further information, visit: https://www.malverncollege.org.hk/


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