A historic year for Sutton Valence School

11 January 2017

A New Year - and a new school in the SVS family! Over Christmas, a historic agreement in the annals of Sutton Valence School was signed between Lambe Education Limited, the company set up to act in this matter on behalf of the United Westminster Schools Foundation and Sutton Valence School, and Hopeland International Kindergartens (HIK) the independently owned Chinese education provider, whose project leader and director is former Old Suttonian, Karl Yin.  Sutton Valence School and HIK will work together for the next ten years and indeed for many years beyond, in setting up the first overseas venture in Sutton Valence’s long history: a new and exceptionally high-quality preparatory school in Tianjin, the HIK SVS International School.

This is a ground-breaking and visionary project of the very first stand-alone preparatory school as a UK - Chinese collaboration in the whole of China, and the first to integrate international and Chinese pupils for shared activities, as well as teaching them separately, in the same school. The agreement also involves commitment to discussion of a senior school on the SVS model to follow in Tianjin within the next two years. These are very exciting times as we step onto the international stage, with the distinctive Sutton Valence educational ethos being sought after and recognised in China as well as in the UK.

We are providing our educational philosophy, curriculum and materials, as part of the licensing and services agreement, and HIK is the owner, employer and provides the site and investment. This agreement comes into effect when the school is opened to pupils in September this year.

Alongside the legalities, we have already appointed Mr Peter Ferrier as the Founding Head and we have, in the last month, appointed almost all the international teachers for the first year groups in the school.  They are likely to be visiting the Prep and Senior Schools in May for a week to gain insights into the teaching and learning methods which are so successful in our schools.  The new school building is being renovated to a high specification and we are expecting this to be finished in May 2017.  The new school website is written and will go live shortly and pupil numbers look very healthy already. Parent meetings held by HIK for current HIK Kindergarten parents, even before the official public launch, show an exceptional take-up and we are likely to start the school not only with the first two year-groups as planned, but also with a potential further year group. The pace of preparation will increase during the next eight months through to September, with Peter Ferrier arriving in Tianjin in April, and all staff receiving induction and training for two weeks in August.

Bruce Grindlay, Headmaster, and Karl Yin, HIK Director, are the driving force behind this exciting project.  The Headmaster comments, ‘This is an incredible step in the history of the Sutton Valence School; we are privileged to be making history and we can look forward to exchanges, shared curriculum projects, and HIK SVS International working closely with Sutton Valence Preparatory School'.  Karl Yin is also visionary about the new school: ‘HIK provides high-end education with exceptional standards and we are so very proud to be working in association with Sutton Valence School. I am doubly proud because it was my school too. This is a lasting partnership which promises to be mutually so beneficial’. 

Dr Mike Walker FRSA
SVS International Co-ordinator

Prep School Senior School

Prep School, Senior School

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