Sixth Form at Epsom College in Malaysia:
LOOKING BEYOND THE HORIZON
The key aim for any educational establishment is to achieve the highest academic grades for their students. At Epsom College in Malaysia, a coeducational boarding school located near Kuala Lumpur based on the
British public school tradition, this is no different. ur teaching staff have extremely high academic expectations of our students and push them consistently to achieve their potential. However, building on the culture of the best British boarding schools, Epsom College in Malaysia expects more from their sixth form students than just a good set of A Levels. It aims to train them for university and for the wider world beyond.
Starting in September 2016, the sixth form team at Epsom have developed a number of innovative initiatives which encourage students to look beyond the A Level syllabus. These initiatives are part of the aptlynamed Horizons Programme, the aim of which is to enrich students’ College experiences beyond simply studying for A evel ualifications. t see s to create critical thinkers who will engage fully in the world around them and help them to challenge conventional thinking.
So what does the Horizons Programme encompass? What follows is a taster of some of the many exciting opportunities that are on offer to our students.
During the school day students are trained in teaching methods which are more akin to university study than traditional classroom methods. The ollege is piloting an bridge-style tutorial system for teaching in some of its top-performing subjects. The tutorial is a teaching method used at ford and Cambridge universities which involves students researching a topic and engaging with their tutor in an indepth discussion about what they have discovered. In this way, students are encouraged to ta e part in significant academic conversations as an active participant rather than a passive learner.
Lectures and talks run throughout the term during lunch breaks and encourage the students to engage with their academic subjects beyond the taught component of their courses. The speakers come from a range of backgrounds, from both inside and outside the College, and are encouraged to take controversial stances in order to challenge students’ thin ing. oth students and staff delivered talks on areas of their academic interest, focusing on topics as diverse as feminism in the twentyfirst century and the biochemistry of the human brain. Numerous academics have also visited the College to present their own cutting-edge research to the students, with topics ranging from modern terrorism to the human genome.
Students’ exposure to intellectual ideas and discussion does not finish at the end of the school day. In the evenings, the sixth form team run regular screenings of documentaries and televised debates. Students are encouraged to challenge the viewpoints presented to them and develop their own position on important issues. The aim is to build a ‘learning community’ within the Sixth Form Centre, for both students and staff, which brea s down the barriers of the traditional studentteacher academic relationship.
Students take inspiration not only from the teaching staff, but also from visiting student mentors. Undergraduate students apply for internships at the College from a range of higher education institutions in the UK. Their time at the College is spent supporting the academic development of our topperforming students through running one-to-one tutorials, giving feedback on university applications and involving the students in their particular areas of research. This allows the students access to invaluable experience of individuals who have first-hand information about the challenges of successfully applying to, and achieving at, top educational institutions.
Epsom College passionately advocates the idea that a good education is about more than just good A Level results. These are, of course, a major focus of sixth form study at the College but the Horizons Programme seeks to develop and enhance students’ learning beyond the A Level syllabus to allow them to engage fully with the world around when they leave the College. Life is out there: you just need to look beyond the Horizon!