By: Katie Roberts
“There will be no fizzy drink served in the Dining Hall at Epsom College,” says Jane Smith with a wry smile. As Head of Preparatory School at Epsom College in Malaysia (ECiM), Jane is part of the team that approves the daily menu, and she is adamant that the food be tasty, fresh and nutritious. Whilst kids might not like what they hear, it may be music to the ears of parents on the lookout for a new school for their children.
Opening in September, the purpose built co-educational Epsom College in Malaysia (ECiM) is modelled on the British style of education and will offer full-boarding, weekly boarding and day tuition for children aged three to 18.
The Malaysia expansion of the 150-year-old British institution is the pet project of Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandez, Chairman of Governors. The Epsom old boy and AirAsia founder, says that during his five years as a boarder he learned much that has shaped his ideas and beliefs. At the recent press conference to launch the school he joked, “I was sent to Epsom College to be a doctor, but started an airline instead.” As one of a team of investors that have sunk US$60 million into the development of the school, he wants to “replicate the Epsom College culture and experience in Malaysia, with the vision of making it the best.”
Boasting an all-British teaching staff, supported by local assistants and following the British curriculum, ECiM is set on 50 glorious acres, giving kids no excuse but to learn, grow and thrive with some of the best facilities in the country. Boarding is a major part of the Epsom experience, with a strong commitment to an inclusive, family-oriented and supportive culture. Experienced UK boarding house staff live alongside the students and are responsible for their welfare and progress, be it academic, social, co-curricular or personal.
Lessons will be taught in English and children must have a minimum standard of English to enrol, though there will be language assistance available. Jane Smith says class sizes will be approximately 16 children per teacher in the prep school and 24 in senior school, and children will receive more contact hours than at other schools. “Senior kids will be at school from 8am to 6pm daily, with plenty of sport and activities for them on Saturday mornings too. Prep students will have the option of after-school care and activities until 6pm,” she says.
Headmaster George Martin says the school will take critical aspects of the UK education and bring them here. “I want it to be the best in the world; there’s no point aiming for anything else. Kids will be pushed to achieve the best results. They have an outstanding faculty recruited from the best schools in the UK and inspired to come here and teach. These children will be tomorrow’s leaders and have access to extraordinary facilities.” This includes 18 science labs, a 600-seat theatre, 20 rehearsal suites, two rugby pitches, a swimming pool, 10 badminton courts and more.
Students from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and even Europe have registered for the school, which is located in a quiet, suburban setting 15 minutes from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.