On Sunday 19th August 2018，Rong Qiao Sedbergh School welcomed nearly a hundred families to its school campus for its first school opening preview. Many of these families have been eagerly anticipating this moment since the start of the year. Throughout 2018, the school has held an education forum, demo lessons and multiple admission events. In these occasions, the school representatives often emphasized the expansive campus and its excellent educational and boarding facilities as one of the strengths of the school. On Sunday, parents and their children were finally able to see that for themselves.
After a great team effort by the construction team and operational team, the school’s phase one construction was completed as scheduled. The preview on Sunday gave visitors the chance to tour the buildings which will be used when the school opens on September 3, 2018. Upon arrival at the campus, each parent and child was given a gift pack containing sun umbrellas, hand fans and bottled water. They were served desserts and snacks during their tour of the campus on this sunny August day.
During the tour, school staff responded to parent’s queries regarding the school build. They elaborated upon the school’s safety and security measures; the school employs a team of 19 security guards and has installed over 500 cameras throughout the phase one campus. In addition, the school has installed fence alarms and panic buttons in the corridors and the boarding houses as a measure against intruders and to prepare for emergencies. Parents concerned about security are given the reassurance that the school is taking the steps required to ensure the safety and well-being of its students and staff.
Another topic on parents’ minds is the campus meals. The school has chosen Compass, a globally renowned food service provider, as its catering partner. Compass has an excellent reputation from its many years of experience in managing school kitchens and canteens across China. “I tell parents that their children are in good hands, as I will ensure that all children eat balanced meals of healthy, nutritious food,” said the head chef.
The tours of the campus were conducted at different times and were led by the school academic leaders, allowing visitors to get a close look at the academic settings. Jenny Song, the Chinese Head of Kindergarten, led a tour of kindergarten, covering such topics as the lively interior design, the UK-based EYFS curriculum and student hygiene.
The kindergarten features three large common areas (a toy area, a performance area and a role playing area) as well as seven functional rooms (including a dance studio and a pottery room). The school is selective about its choice of furniture, especially in terms of materials. It has sourced cupboards, beds, desks and chairs crafted from imported natural wood, while also considering the appropriate heights of furniture for the different age groups. “This is very nice and my kids will enjoy studying here,” a parent commented. Another outstanding feature of the kindergarten is its average classroom size, which at 200 square meters is roughly two times as large as a classroom of typical public kindergartens. “Our attention to detail and our investment on the school building indicate the high level of care we have for our young students,” Ms. Song said. She plans to use the ample reading resources and textbooks, many of them imported English-language books, to motivate her students to develop reading habits.
The tour then moved on to one of the school’s boarding houses. Deputy Principal Matt Singer, along with the school’s team of housemasters, housemistresses and matrons, showed visitors around the house and gave an introduction to boarding life at Rong Qiao Sedbergh School. “We are committed to developing a homely environment where boarders can create lifelong friendship,” said Mr. Singer.
All boarding houses have been designed with safety and health as top priorities; here too the furniture, furnishings and curtains are made from high quality materials that had passed the toxicity tests. “The paints and furniture used are high quality products,” said a parent who runs a decorating business. The inclusion of multiple toilets and showers adjoining student bedrooms ensures convenience of use for the students. Each boarding house has common rooms where boarders can socialize through activities and games. Each house also has televisions, baking ovens, pianos, fridges and water filter machines. Moreover, students will study under the supervision of tutors in self-study rooms throughout the house after school every day. This arrangement is at the heart of the house system’s care of students’ academic and pastoral life after the end of the school day. After visiting the boarding house, a young prospective student expressed her excitement at the idea of boarding at the school.
At the academic building, visitors toured the art classroom, the lego room, the science classroom, the music classroom, the drama room, the multimedia suite and spaces dedicated to reading and chess. In aiming to create engaging learning environments, the school has designed each classroom specifically to be used for particular subjects. “This classroom is amazing,” said a student visiting a classroom that has been decorated with posters and materials related to geography.
“We are very attentive when it comes to the decor of classrooms. Even the LED lighting is environmentally friendly and harmless to students’ eyes,” a teacher added. Having visited the academic building, a parent, who worked as a principal in a public school, said that the facilities were fantastic and were impressed by it. She also suggested to the staff that they can arrange further dates to have parents come and experience the school atmosphere.
Rong Qiao Sedbergh School hopes to match Sedbergh School’s dedication to sports. After the campus tour, PE teachers invited the young visitors out to the outdoor field to have a go at rugby. Both the indoor sports hall and the outdoor field have been built to allow for standard competitions in multiple sports.
The school opening preview gave the school’s staff and teachers a valuable opportunity to continue building their relationship with prospective students and their parents. The school hopes that the preview has given parents the confidence that this school environment is one where their children can grow into healthy and successful young adults. Another school preview set on 26th August, during which all academic staff will meet visitors, has also been arranged.