by Amy Zhang
Last Thursday, Leading Your International School had the honour of visiting Yingya St. Peter’s School, Hainan, China. Thank you to Catherine Cooke – Head of School (Foreign) for taking the time to join me in a leadership discussion about the school’s start-up journey and its exciting plans for the future.
Walking around the campus, I was immediately immersed in a noticeably strong atmosphere that was a combination of traditional Chinese culture and International flavour. The marvellous campus covers all ages from Kindergarten to High School. You can clearly see that the students are excited, happy and engaged! At Yingya St. Peter’s School, education seems to happen naturally. There is a professional focus on holistic education with the school aiming to ensure high-quality academic standards through a rigorous academic system.
As a diverse and innovative international school with multiple pathways, Yingya St. Peter’s School was developed in partnership with the Hainan Provincial Department of Education. Building upon the millennium-aged academic foundations of St. Peter’s School, York in the United Kingdom, the school employs a blend of Western and Chinese teaching methods and philosophies coming together to deliver the Chinese National Curriculum and International GCSEs and A’Levels. ‘We strive to protect the children’s nationality and identity, then nurture their global perspectives – that’s the beauty of international school education’ Catherine told me.
Within the beautifully designed teaching building, Catherine took great pleasure in showing me around the facilities that the school provides for their ‘future global citizens’. The school follows ‘designing follows learning’. In terms of spatial layout, it accommodates an educational innovation environment, providing a diverse range of educational content, including international courses, interdisciplinary teaching, and practical experiences. In the rich extracurricular expansion courses, students can fully experience and recognise the real world.
‘We provide a series of data media classrooms to enhance students’ digital research capabilities’ I am told. Courses in fashion design, woodwork and pottery serve as excellent aids to help students become craftsmen of the new era. Additionally, facilities such as marine science labs, geography labs, and astronomy VR labs help students understand the mysteries of the Earth, conveying the concept of development by jointly building a global community awareness of life on Earth.
Of course, there are extensive sports venues such as a golf course, an ice hockey rink, archery ranges and fencing facilities, constantly encouraging academic exploration and the development of students’ growing potential. Yingya St. Peter’s School really does enable students to acquire an in-depth knowledge and broaden their horizons, helping to cultivate their global awareness and competitiveness.
As Catherine reminded me, ‘Our vision is to build an innovative world-class, educational community for today and generations to come.’ – something that resonated with our own approach to sustainability. From a leadership and school management perspective and with extensive cooperation from the school’s HR department, Catherine is focusing on building an innovative international school that recognises an evolving world that responds to the divergent needs and skills of its students. From the outside looking in, it certainly appears that the school is on an upward curve.
On behalf of Leading Your International School, I’d like to thank Catherine, all of the staff and students at Yingya St. Peter’s School, Hainan for making me feel so welcome. I look forward to coming back in the years ahead to see the even greater levels of progress that have been made.