Merchiston International School (MIS): The Future of International Education in Shenzhen?

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

深圳市龙华区大浪街道石龙仔路12号(大浪时尚小镇)

Website: Merchiston International School, Shenzhen’s Website

Phone: +86 400 867 0177

Email: admissions@merchiston.cn

 

 

ISNS Scholarships: The Opportunity of a Lifetime

The International School of Nanshan, Shenzhen campus
The International School of Nanshan, Shenzhen campus

The International School of Nanshan, Shenzhen, is an exceptional school. Established in 2002, ISNS has grown from only 118 students to over 800, all of whom graduate and get accepted into top universities around the world. The graduating class of 2018 includes students who have acquired scholarships at such institutes as the University of Ottowa, York University and Queen’s University in Canada, and School of the Arts Institute of Chicago, Seton Hall University and the prominent institutions Stanford University, Northwestern University and University of California, Berkeley in the United States. Cumulatively, the ISNS class of 2018 has obtained over US$554,000 in scholarship offers up to April this year, which is testament to the outstanding academic achievements of the students.

In order to give back to the community which plays such an important role in the life of the school, ISNS has decided to continue their scholarship program for the upcoming academic year. There will be five scholarships available: four will be available to prospective IB Diploma Program (DP) students, and one will be available to a current student for the Diploma Program. Successful applicants will receive a full-ride and full-tuition scholarship at ISNS for the two years of the course, providing academic standards are maintained during the first year of study. This is a wonderful opportunity for both existing students and those considering a change of school for Grades 11 and 12, or for students new to Shenzhen.  

ISNS is renowned for being the first full continuum International Baccalaureate school in Shenzhen. Throughout Grades 1 to 5 (the Primary Years Program or PYP) and Grades 6 to 10 (the Middle Years Program or MYP),it provides a unique combination of the New Brunswick curriculum from Canada and the world-recognised IB framework. Students completing the Diploma Program also have the opportunity to complete a New Brunswick Diploma as part of their studies. The key difference between a regular IB school and ISNS is that New Brunswick curriculum topics are used as the focal point for the IB units of enquiry, thereby expanding the areas covered to include provision towards the NB diploma.

The scholarships and bursaries provided by ISNS this year have been increased to an incredible total of RMB3,000,000. The school fosters a culture of inclusivity and cultural diversity, and by providing this service they ensure that their program is available to as many students as possible.

One of the fantastic aspects of ISNS is that all educational visits outside of the school are included in the tuition fees – or, in this case, within the scholarship funding. Every year groups from Grade 6 to Grade 12 take part in Service as Action and CAS trips (MYP & DP) or Education Outside of the Classroom (PYP) residential trips outside of Shenzhen. Destinations include Foshan and Yunnan Province in China as well as places which are further afield, such as Indonesia and Japan. These trips give students the opportunity to learn outside the school environment and help them to become true world citizens.

The students also plan and carry out a project to help the local or wider community as part of the ‘Service’ aspect of the IB framework. In Shenzhen students have worked with Captivating International, a charity based in Hong Kong and Shenzhen who support poor families and girls in rural China, and the Sunshine Academy which cares for and educates abandoned Chinese children. One project by Grade 11 students involved the students visiting Cambodia and building a house to help deprived local families. Other projects have included helping farmers in rural areas of China and discovering the culture and communities in different regions of China and South-East Asia.

In addition to the excursions away from Shenzhen, students also have the opportunity to take part in activities both within and after school. An extensive Arts program includes more than 23 different arts activities such as choir, dance and visual performances; sports choices are just as wide ranging, with the school participating in various inter-school events organised by Shenzhen International Schools Athletic Conference (SISAC). These events and activities are complemented by the state-of-the-art facilities at the ISNS campus in Nanshan, including a 200-metre outdoor track, a fitness centre, a 300-seat auditorium, libraries, fully-equipped science laboratories, art and music centres, wireless connectivity in all classrooms and interactive learning resources.

This year the International School of Nanshan, Shenzhen, will celebrate the significant milestone of its 100th graduating student. ISNS wants to give back to the students and give parents and wider families the opportunity to become part of the school community. Scholarships for academics, athletics, most-improved, all-rounder, and demonstration of the IB learner profile provide the perfect chance to join ISNS and grow to be one of their successful alumni.

For more information about the scholarships visit the scholarship and bursary section of the ISNS website or call the Admissions office. Alternatively, email the ISNS Admissions team at admissions@isnsz.com.

Applications close on 31st May 2018, so get your applications in quickly for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Chinese Name: 深圳南山国际学校
Place Address: International School of Nanshan Shenzhen -11 Longyuan Road, Taoyuan Sub-District, Nanshan District, Shenzhen 518055
深圳市南山区桃源街道龙苑路11号
Place Phone: +86 (755) 26661000

Shekou International School – A Community of High Quality Learning

Shekou International School is one of the most well-known international schools in Shenzhen. It is a not-for-profit private school which funnels all proceeds back into the school, which is clearly seen in the state-of-the-art facilities which are renovated every year. Established in 1988, SIS has a reputation for high quality education for expatriate children from around the world, and it prides itself on its Secondary Program and exceptional level of university acceptances.

If you ask the students what they like about SIS, they’ll tell you it’s the small, caring learning community where teachers and students form relationships and share a love of knowledge. They’ll also tell you that at SIS students have an opportunity to take on projects, service learning and challenges that they might not be able to tackle in a larger school.

Staff will tell you that SIS is a unique community because of the exceptional students, and the fact that their colleagues are passionate educators is a given. 75% of the faculty have a master’s degree or higher and it is not uncommon to see SIS staff presenting at leadership conferences throughout Asia.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program is studied at both ends of the school – the Primary Years Program (PYP) is taught from pre-Kindergarten to Grade 5; the Diploma Program (DP) is taught in Grades 10 and 11. The curriculum in Grades 6 to 9 is based on the US Core Education Standards, and adapted to extend children’s learning from the Primary Years Program to the Diploma Program. Focused around enquiry-based learning, the IB program gives students a firm foundation in the PYP, during which they learn how to ask the right questions, how to find answers, how to collect, collate, organise and analyse data, make interpretations and conclusions and then evaluate their findings. Students become eager, autonomous learners by Grade 5, which stands them in excellent stead for their progress onto the DP course.

The aim of the Diploma Program is essentially to prepare students for university. It is an exam-based program which matches university expectations from around the world, and is linked directly to the enquiry-based learning students have done in previous years. Alongside six subject areas – Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics, and The Arts – within which students can choose one or two courses, there are also three core areas of study which every student has to complete. The DP core aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills.

The Theory of Knowledge (ToK) is possibly the most important aspect of the DP core skills students learn at SIS. This course teaches students about the philosophy of knowledge and education, it explains how different people learn and produce new knowledge, and how that knowledge is used and communicated. The Theory of Knowledge links to all curriculum areas studied, as well as any future studies the students may complete. It is often a favourite subject of the students as it gives them an opportunity to critically examine different topics, have discussions with their peers and teachers and talk about their own opinions on a range of matters.

The second core area is Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS). This can be conducted as three separate projects or combined into one which includes all the elements. The aim is for the students to become involved in the local community in an innovative and productive way, by using their imagination and creativity to design and carry out a project over 100 hours supported, of course, by the staff at SIS. Robert Stearns, the Head of School, has a great deal of experience in this area, and has guided students in projects such as arranging for refugees in Hong Kong to learn how to kayak.

The final core area in the IB Diploma Program is the extended essay. This enables students to demonstrate and put into practice many of the skills they have learnt at SIS by allowing them to choose their own research question, plan their line of enquiry, carry out their research and present their conclusions. The extended essay is also an impressive piece of writing that can be used to aid university applications.

In addition to the study programs throughout the school, SIS also runs a ‘Week Without Walls’ program of their own design. During this, students from Grade 4 to Grade 12 spend a week at another location either in Hong Kong, mainland China or Malaysia. This enables the students to put into practice their skills as global citizens, as well as giving them invaluable cultural and adventure experiences.

A strong advisory program throughout the school ensures that all students’ needs are provided for, whether academic, social or emotional. Paula Brunning is the High School Counsellor at SIS and part of her purview is to help the students find the best university match – not just within the country they want to live or the subjects they want to study, but also which university would suit their personality and character the most. The acceptance rate is extraordinary. One hundred percent of students from SIS are accepted into university and most of them get into their first choice of university, whether they apply to the USA, the UK, Canada, other European universities, Korea, Australia or Hong Kong.

The students themselves believe that SIS is a great school with a rewarding study program. One student explained that the IB Program exposes you to different subjects, is challenging and rigorous, and it makes you a better critical thinker. Other students share similar positive opinions: The teachers are all caring and professional and have a good relationship with the students; SIS has a comfortable environment and is student driven; it has small classes where everyone is friends and it feels more like a family; it’s easier to find your own voice at SIS than in a bigger school; the environment pushes you to be a better student.

In a rapidly growing city where the choices for our children’s education are ever-widening, SIS provides an established and reliable study program which ensures students have the best possible opportunities in the future.

Chinese Name: 蛇口国际学校
Place Address: Jing Shan Villas, Nan Hai Road, Shekou, Shenzhen 深圳市南山区蛇口南海大道鲸山别墅
Place Phone: +86 755-26693669