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Full Marks! Welcome Mr Wickes!

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Having achieved so much over the past five years, Malvern College Hong Kong is looking to the future with the arrival of its new headmaster, Paul Wickes

Ask Paul Wickes, the newly appointed headmaster of Malvern College Hong Kong (MCHK), what he is most looking forward to in the coming months, and he hones in on the pupils. “My style of leadership is one where I’m constantly walking around the campus and poking my head into classrooms and interacting with pupils, talking to them,” Paul opens. “You can’t lead a school from behind a desk. I’ve already scheduled a series of meetings with the pupils, year group by year group. The first thing I want to do is to hear from them.”

Originally from the south-east of England, Paul comes to MCHK with over 30 years’ teaching experience. An expert in English Additional Learning (EAL), he earned a B.Sc. (Econ) from the London School of Economics, followed by a post-graduate Diploma in EAL from RSA/ University of Cambridge. He continued his academic journey by obtaining a Master of Arts in Education from University College London. A WELCOME MR WICKES Having achieved so much over the past five years, Malvern College Hong Kong is looking to the future with the arrival of its new headmaster, Paul Wickes PHOTOS COURTESY OF MCHK Paul explains how he “fell into teaching” as a young graduate fresh from London School of Economics, and eager to see the world. He initially headed overseas, teaching English as a Foreign Language in Por tugal, where he subsequently set up his own school. A dedicated and ambitious educationalist, Paul went on to enter the Malvern fold in 2006 when he took up the role of Senior Housemaster and Teacher of Economics, Politics and Theory of Knowledge (ToK) at Malvern College UK – a position he held for over 12 years. Prior to joining MCHK, Paul served as Head of Site at The British School in Rio de Janeiro for five years, where he drew on his time at Malvern College UK to transform the school’s culture and raise academic standards.

Newly ensconced in Hong Kong, Paul is embracing two of his passions – the Malvern educational ethos and expat life. “The opportunity to rejoin the Malvern family was just too exciting to turn down,” he explains. “I lived the Malvern ethos for over 12 years and it’s something I’m passionate about, it’s something that comes naturally to me. At the same time, this is my third international posting. I spent six years in Portugal, five years in Brazil and now this is an opportunity to come to Asia, which is entirely new to me.

“There are so many things to do in Hong Kong, so many things to see,” Paul adds. “I’m looking forward to a really active social life, a really active cultural life and to getting out on those trails and getting some hiking in.”

Paul is joining MCHK as it celebrates five years of exceptional academic achievements. How does he plan to build on the solid foundation that has been laid? “What has been achieved in five years is really remarkable. I think my responsibility now is to make sure that the 5 Centres of Excellence and the Malvern qualities, like resilience, selfawareness, kindness, integrity and humility, are embedded in everything we do, on a day-to-day basis. We want to encourage pupils to take responsible and educated risks because that way they can be innovative, they can be creative, and they can do things in a way that’s dif ferent from the way they were done in the past.

“I’d also really like to build on Malvern’s global network,” Paul adds. “MCHK is in a very privileged position because we’ve got sister schools all over the world, including in Chengdu and Tokyo. We’ve got a fantastic opportunity to expand pupils’ global international mindedness, and give them – and their teachers – the opportunity to have exchanges.”

In joining MCHK, Paul is uniquely qualified to share his first-hand experience of Malvern College UK. “Even though MCHK is a day school, we’re able to copy the best elements of pastoral care that are given to pupils at Malvern College UK. And we’re able to provide a very strong programme of co-curricular activities, which is another feature of a traditional British boarding school. I’m looking forward to assisting MCHK transfer the values of Malvern College UK to Hong Kong students.

“One of the features of a Malvern school is its academic rigour – it’s got very high academic standards,” Paul adds. “But we firmly believe that a narrow academic programme won’t provide pupils with the soft skills and interpersonal skills that they need to be happy and fulfilled as individuals. When they’re doing their co-curricular activities, if they’re doing spor ts, for example, or they’re doing music or drama or robotics, they’re learning things like leadership and teamwork, independence, organisation and prioritisation.”

MCHK’s dedication to holistic education is wellknown, and it’s an approach that Paul champions. “Traditionally, education was often seen as a way of transferring information from the teacher to the pupils. It was a one-way process and a very passive process, in which the “best pupils” were those who were able to absorb the most information and regurgitate it in exams. That’s a very old-fashioned way of looking at education,” he says. “Now we know that we need to educate not just the mind but also the body and the soul as well.

“We want school to be exciting. We want it to be fun,” Paul adds. “We want the pupils to learn not just about maths and science which is important, but also to learn about the world around them, to learn about each other, to learn about themselves, to contribute to the local community and to understand their place in the wider, global world.”

Paul’s leadership style is centered on integrity, humility, mutual respect and leading by example. He is quick to point out that providing pupils with a strong moral compass is an essential part of holistic, whole-person education – Malvern students learn to do the right thing even when no one’s looking. “We should be doing as educators what we try to do as parents,” he says. “When I try to educate my daughters, I don’t just want to stuff their heads full of facts. I want to teach them to be well-rounded people that I’m proud of.

“That’s my aspiration: as the Head of MCHK, I want to do everything in my power to make sure that I’m proud of every single one of our pupils.”

Malvern College Hong Kong (MCHK) draws upon the rich heritage and ethos of Malvern College UK, a co-educational day and boarding school founded in 1865.

An authorised International Baccalaureate World School, MCHK provides high quality, holistic education for boys and girls aged 2 to 18 years.

To find out more and to read Paul’s mission statement, visit www.malverncollege.org.hk.

If you’re interested in learning more about Malvern College Hong Kong, the upcoming information session is scheduled on 19 September, 2023. This event provides a unique opportunity for you to visit the school, meet the academic team, and gain insights into the curriculum. For more details about the event and registration, please click here.

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