A British big-name school has recently launched their prep school in Singapore! Brighton College (Singapore) recently opened their doors here to plenty of fanfare. They officially began their first-ever term in August 2020 this year, bringing with them a reputation for pastoral care and a challenging and rigorous curriculum.
Deputy Principal Ms Lois Pugh talks us through how she’s finding the life and culture of Brighton College prep school in Singapore.
You relocated to help launch Brighton College prep school in Singapore; what were you up to before that?
I came here in January 2020 to join Brighton College following four years as Head of School at North London Collegiate School (NLCS) in South Korea. At NLCS, I oversaw the growth of the school from 150 pupils to just short of 400, and integrated a dual-language programme in the infant and junior school, as well as subject specialism in Years 5 and 6.
Before that, I held leadership and management roles at outstanding prep schools in the UK. I was the Deputy Head at the winner of the ‘UK Prep School of the Year 2018’, and more recently at Handcross Park, which is a member of the Brighton College Family of Schools and ‘UK Prep School of the Year 2019’.
What led you to the Singapore role?
I was initially attracted to the Brighton College family due to its aspirations and the opportunities it affords students through its academic and enrichment programmes. I was first introduced to the group whilst working as Head of Juniors at NLCS, where I had the opportunity to visit the Abu Dhabi campus.
When I was at Handcross Park, I was able to see how the values and ethos of a Brighton school are translated into the daily programme. When the role came up in Singapore, it seemed like a natural move!
Give us a peek into your classroom teaching style.
I’m a huge believer of allowing the child’s interests and curiosity to shape a lesson or unit. As such, I do a lot of ‘in-the-moment’ planning in order to deliver the objectives set in our curriculum.
Recently, the children have become fascinated with a particular storybook character, following an unintentional introduction earlier in the term. To capitalise on this excitement, I rewrote our English unit to centre around this text; the children have just completed an anthology of short sequels to the original story.
Similarly, after seeing how much the children loved their cookery sessions, Children’s’ Day become Junior MasterChef Day. So we centred all lessons around working out ratios for recipes and writing instructional texts, and then each child produced a three-course meal of their choosing. They then presented their dishes to their classmates who provided written feedback in the form of a newspaper article to their peers.
What are some of the key aspects of the Brighton prep school environment?
We believe in fostering a love of learning for its own sake as the foundation for success. Fostering a love of learning equips students for an unknown and developing world without boundaries.
We want our students to develop intellectual virtues of courage in asking questions, caution in forming opinions, open attentiveness to the words of their peers, awareness of the world around them and their place within it, and confidence in communication.
Our goal is to prepare students to face new learning throughout their school journey, so they have a life-long commitment to pondering the question of how, what or why.
Tell us a bit about your teaching staff.
Our outstanding teachers are recruited for the innovation and passion for the subject they share with our children. We all know that we’re here to provide learning opportunities to prepare our students for the world they live in, and to enable them to become excellent thinkers, innovators and problem solvers. Our overarching goal is for our students to be able to communicate with others, work as a team and have the skills needed to succeed at any senior school – and later in a 21st-century working world.
What type of kids and families are well suited to a prep school such as yours?
Families tend to be attracted to Brighton College for three main reasons.
- The small and nurturing environment of a Prep School, where each child is known and supported as an individual.
- The reputation of Brighton College – both academically and pastorally. We’re academically selective and our programme is ambitious for our children, but our focus on kindness is consistently mentioned by our parents.
- The English National Curriculum – families looking for rigour appreciate our approach to subject specialism in the Prep School, particularly in Years 5 and 6, where our classes enjoy specialist teachers for all core subjects.
What’s your favourite aspect of the school day?
I love how varied it is! All the children in our prep school have a morning of English and maths, and then an afternoon of specialist teaching including science, art, music, drama, cookery, PE/swimming or games. With these offerings and the high-specification facilities, the school environment has a real buzz of learning around it, which energises the children.
Brighton College are currently accepting applications for January and August 2021, places are limited.