Merchiston International School (MIS) is the first of its kind in Shenzhen. Priding itself on providing a British education and boarding system, MIS is the first overseas campus of Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. With a history of over 185 years, MIS combines experience and knowledge with modern facilities and up-to-date technology, creating a unique setting for students to fulfil their learning potential.
Having only opened in August this year MIS already has around 200 students currently on roll, with the capacity for up to 1,200 students. The specially designed building is spacious and airy, centred around The Colinton Atrium that stretches to the seventh floor. This provides an area for the whole school to congregate and joins onto The Castle Hall auditorium where assemblies and presentations are held.
Extensive sports facilities include a basketball court, badminton courts, tennis courts, a fitness suite, an indoor swimming pool and a running track which starts inside then leads out of the building and around the football pitch. These facilities are used for a range of extra-curricular opportunities as well as Physical Education lessons which follow the English National Curriculum. MIS sports teams are already taking part in local competitions against other schools and will likely follow the example set by Merchiston Castle School in having a fantastic sporting reputation.
Sweeping staircases and a bank of glass elevators lead students, staff and visitors to the other levels of the school. Here can be found Science laboratories set up with state-of-the-art equipment, Design and Technology rooms, a Dance studio, a Music suite with individual practice rooms and a black box theatre for Drama. This is alongside the school library which – although already substantial – is still a work in progress. When complete it will be on two floors: one section for the Juniors and the other section for the Senior students. The library has several spaces for quiet study which the students are welcome to use whenever they need to. The Librarian and Library Assistant are always on hand to help students with any request they have.
Enticing murals decorate the corridors leading to the Art rooms, produced by the students from various classes. Each classroom has a wall of windows facing into the corridor along which students’ work is displayed and it’s easy to see the light open rooms waiting to be filled with eager children. The classrooms are all multi-media with either interactive whiteboards or interactive televisions set up for use by teachers and students alike. All students in the Juniors section of the school get a tablet to use in lessons and for their studies; students from Year 7 upwards have a laptop each.
The youngest members of the school, aged 5-7, have open classrooms leading out to an enclosed play area, suitable for outdoor learning as well as playtimes. Colourful and useful displays decorate the walls, interactive televisions are ready to be used by teachers and students alike, and up a spiral staircase is a mezzanine floor waiting to be converted into a habitat for the latest topic.
Once students reach Year 3 they usually board at the school during the week, and from Year 7 it is compulsory. This is what sets MIS apart more than anything else – it is the only British International boarding school in Shenzhen. From Year 5 students are allowed to stay at school during the weekends and can take part in the numerous activities on offer; everything from tree climbing and slack-lining to French cooking classes to visits to Window of the World. Sundays are more relaxed and students focus on completing their homework while being supervised by the teachers on site.
The curriculum at Merchiston International School is based on the English National Curriculum. At the Juniors level this is integrated with the International Primary Curriculum and Merchiston Castle School Edinburgh Juniors Curriculum. This ensures that every student develops valuable learning skills, creativity and international-mindedness which are then extended and enriched. In the Seniors, Years 7-9, a program is being developed based on the English National Curriculum with a focus on cultivating English skills to ensure students will be ready for the IGCSE exams at the end of Year 11. In the final two years at MIS students study for Advanced Level (A Level) examinations. This curriculum gives students an ideal starting point for their future prospects, especially for those wanting to study or work abroad in the future.
MIS goes a step further than most schools when welcoming prospective students. Not only are they given a full tour, they are also given the opportunity to take part in school activities for a day or even two. Students from Year 3 upwards are able to board at the school; this can be daunting for children who have never stayed away from home before. To show potential new students that living at school can actually be great fun whilst also being a valuable learning experience, they are invited to spend a night at school and take part in the usual evening activities. This way they get a real feel for the school and what it would be like to attend, as well as having the opportunity to make new friends from all over the world.
Outside of lessons MIS prides itself on the extensive program of Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) on offer. There are two sessions every day at the end of lessons and after a short break. The youngest students choose from options such as gardening, cooking club, board games, tennis, Maths, gymnastics, martial arts and Chinese culture and language clubs. Students in Years 3 to 6 have a wider range of activities, including calligraphy, swimming, French, Spanish, yoga, IT and multi-sports, as well as the opportunity for the same clubs at a higher level than the younger years. Seniors students have a more challenging range of options: Science, creative writing, jewellery making and drama, to name a few, alongside external competitions like the Mini United Nations (MUN) and activities with a whole school impact such as the School Yearbook Club.
MIS ensures that parents are also involved with the school as much as possible. To this end there are Parent Forums once a month on a variety of topics, such as Learning outside the Classroom, Inclusive Education and Additional Support, and Boarding Life. There are also regular tours of the campus for prospective parents.
For further information or to visit Merchiston International School please see the contact information below.
Chinese and Pinyin Name: 深圳曼彻斯通城堡学校 （shenzhen man che si tong cheng bao xue xiao）
Address: No. 12 Shilongzai Road, Dalang Sub-district, Longhua District, Shenzhen
Website: Merchiston International School, Shenzhen’s Website
Phone: +86 400 867 0177
Email: [email protected]