Malaysia will soon be home to a new prestigious British international school, the first in the Asean region to be modelled after the award-winning Concord College in the UK. Concord College International School will be built just opposite the Xiamen University Malaysia campus in Sunsuria City. In September 2024, it’s set to welcome its first intake.
Founded in 1949, Concord College is a highly academic independent international school in England for day and boarding students between the ages of 13 and 18. It is ranked in the top three independent schools for A Level according to the latest data provided by the ISC (Independent Schools Council).
Concord College International School will be a “high-quality institution that embodies the ethos and values of Concord College in the UK,” said Neil Hawkins, Global Principal of Concord International, during the ground-breaking ceremony on July 5, 2022. “It will also reflect and celebrate the wonderful context that Malaysia offers.”
The school will cater to students aged five to 18 years old, providing a balanced education based on the UK National Curriculum at its Primary School (Years 1 to 6), Senior School (Years 7 to 11), and Sixth Form (A Level).
Around 1,250 students will have the option of choosing between day and boarding school. They will be taught by an international mix of expatriate and local academic staff.
More than just another new campus in Malaysia
Spanning over 10 acres, the international school will consist of 10 buildings housing the main hall, academics, creative arts and science, library, dining hall, student residences, auditorium as well as sports and recreational hall. Other facilities include a lawn amphitheatre, swimming pool, tennis courts, sports track and field, drama studios as well as music and art rooms.
What will set Concord College International School apart, however, is its ethos. “We have an incredibly clear ethos around the words: rigour, kindness and creativity,” says Hawkins.
Hawkins was the principal of Concord College from 2005 to 2021, during which he steered it to become one of the top performing schools in the UK with consistently high school league table positions for A Level and GCSE.
The Good Schools Guide 2017 described it as “near perfect a place as you could want for the student who is … academic.” “This is where the next generation of global high flyers is being nurtured. If you want your offspring to have a chance in this stratosphere, want them to engage with issues outside the shores of the UK or just want them to make lifelong international friendships, then look at Concord. It is in a league of its own.”
As Global Principal of Concord College International, he is responsible for the strategy, education, regulatory compliance, marketing and development of the international college. At Concord College UK, he redefined the ethos and aims of the college to place a greater emphasis on a holistic approach to education. He plans to do the same with Concord College International School.
“I think the very best schools in the world have a driving ethos,” he says. “That’s it, and then every action within the school by staff, students, and parents should feed into that ethos.”
Rigour, kindness and creativity
Rigour was what turned Concord College UK from a good school to a world-class institution. “It’s a desire for high standards, in all things. So that might be in academics, behaviour, expecting the staff to do the very best for the children,” Hawkins said. “Rigour is just as resonant in Asia, because it comes from the Confucian tradition of preparation for examinations and so on.”
High expectations can be tough on children. It could lead to anxiety, stress, and more, adding on to the pressures they face from social media – which brings Hawkins to the importance of kindess.
“Children need us to be kind, which sometimes is being warm, giving, understanding and having empathy for whatever it is they’re experiencing. Sometimes it’s parents continuing to push when children are lazy at school. Children may not like it at that time, but it was the right move in the long run,” says Hawkins. “If you can teach the heart, the head will follow.”
Learn more about Concord College International here.