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PRINCIPAL SPOTLIGHT: BRIAN COOKLIN, NORD ANGLIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

By ANNE MURPHY


It was only in September 2014 that Nord Anglia International School opened in Lam Tin in Hong Kong, and so far, so good. The school is gaining immense popularity. 

The school principal is Brian Cooklin whose passion for helping students achieve their full potential saw him follow his vocation into the world of education 40 years ago; 19 of which he spent as a Principal in the UK. Brian joined Nord Anglia Education in January 2014 from Edron Academy, the leading British International School in Mexico. As a former president of the Head Teachers’ Association of Scotland and the inaugural president of School Leaders Scotland, Brian has had extensive involvement in educational developments at all levels. 

Brian took time out of his busy schedule in March 2015 to talk about the developments of NAIS and how engaging students and building teacher effectiveness has lead to the success of the school since it opened.  


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Challenges

When asked about the challenges which he has faced since being Principal of NAIS, Brian cites that as a Principal for over 19 years, he has experienced it all: incidents, achievements and success. So nothing has been a surprise so far. However, he mentions the prolonged process which NAIS faced in getting the go ahead to start renovating the building. Before the opening he was meeting up to 60 parents a day and had to review over 1,000 applications for teaching positions. Brian interviewed 140 teachers for the new positions and comments how their teachers inspire their students to succeed.  

The Uniqueness of NAIS

Brian talks about how students, parents and teachers benefit from an unrivalled network of knowledge, experience, advice and friendship created by the global family of Nord Anglia Schools which currently stands at 35 schools. As well as this, the group’s approach to education is very unique to schools in Hong Kong. Their High Performance Learning approach supports every child on their path to becoming a high performance student. It is how students are inspired to achieve success, while developing their confidence and character, “in essence building a child’s confidence, showing them what they can do and how they can do something better”. 

Brian comments: “We want our students to be independent thinkers and be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow”. 

Brian explains how students are encouraged to question and think for themselves as well as look at things at a different angle. Brian believes that these are key skills that students need as they move into the higher years and onto university. Teachers use a relaxed and informal teaching method which ensures all children are engaged in every lesson. This allows teachers to know when a student needs more support, or needs to be challenged more. 

The school now offers over 60 extra-curricular activities which are operated by their existing teachers and there are plans for additional specialists’ courses to begin in August 2015. 
When asked what else makes NAIS different.  Brian says: “We are committed to giving students the very best international education, but also to develop confident and inquiring young adults who have self-respect and respect for others”. 

He also talks about the wonderful House System and the kids enthusiasm for competitions of all types and participating in various activities. Apart from this, an important part of the ethos of the school is to help those less fortunate – local and international; students have demonstrated a great sense of responsibility by supporting the UNICEF’s Syrian Refugee Fund. Each House also selected a local Hong Kong charity to support. 

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Future Goals 

Brian comments about the recent exciting collaboration with the Julliard School, New York, and how the program will enrich students with the skills, curiosity, and cultural literacy to engage with the performing arts. The Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Program will begin in September 2015 at select Nord Anglia schools around the world, and is expected to expand to educate more than 20,000 students aged 3-18 by September 2017.

Brian is very proud of their 14 athletes who are heading to Athens for the COBIS Primary Olympic Games in May. To continue this into the future would be a great achievement.

The goals NAIS had  to extend their year groups has been a strong success and in August 2015 it will open for students from Year 1 to Year 8 and the first Year 9 group of students  will start in 2016.  The plans for another campus are definitely in the horizon so that students can move on to complete their IGCSEs and IB Diploma with NAIS. 

Another aim is to successfully develop a teaching institute providing training, seminars and courses for local teachers. 

Personality of the School 

When you walk into the school, you will see the teachers and staff smiling. There’s a sense of happiness.  There’s no other way to describe it.  Some of the teachers have worked in other schools operated by the Nord Anglia Education Group so bring a strong Nord Anglia Education teaching experience with them. Children are just as happy and greet you with a smile and a ‘friendly hello’ as you walk around the school. Brian’s passion for the school is very apparent and he is truly adored by the students. He happily talks about the first Valentine’s Disco at the school - and how he demonstrated his Kaman style dance while pointing proudly at a Valentine’s gift from one of the students.

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For further information on school tours and seminars go to:www.nordangliaeducation.com/our-schools/hong-kong


stamford
stamford

Canadian International School
Dulwich College Singapore

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

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