SCIPD Hong Kong 2009

Scottish Education delegation, trip to Hong Kong

Centre for University Partnership

Twenty first May took us to meet with reps from the centre for university partnership. The organisation foster relationships between schools and the faculty. In 1998 they started the accelerated school programme model based on a US model. They promote professional support in the form of partnership to the school community. Schools can apply for support for new innovative programmes from what they call the Quality Initiative. CUSP also works with schools who have been nominated via the Education bureau.

They have more than 800 partner schools so they work with about 80% of the schools. Lots of projects are in action

They also do centralised workshops with principals, work out planning, make good practice visits to China.

At the meeting were some school development officers. Their role with schools is to act as critical friends, assist with co-learning, sometimes do training, maybe facilitate some learning and at times counsel. They visit schools, do workshops with the schools, assist with collegiate lesson planning, class observations etc which are linked to a project being carried out by the school. They develop cross school workshops to assist in building learning communities.

The centre is also involved in assisting and guiding the current curriculum review work conducting collegiate visits, discussions etc

Each year different development officers have been going  in to schools to help develop the curriculum framework especially for English. In the past English was a seperate subject they are now trying to make it more meaningful so students understand how to use it in real life, and at the same time it needs to fall within the new secondary curriculum. Its a multi sensory approach to teaching and learning they are advocating.

An officer talked about her work. Last year kindergartens started to be reviewed by the government. Enquiry based skills are one of the elements of the new curriculum

A principal also talked about development work. Staff had originally been worried about the workload for new developments. Their starting point was self evaluation. They use their expertise to share and assist other nurseries preapre for external reviews.

A voucher scheme was recently introduced for kindergarten. If a kindergarten joins the voucher scheme they have to be involved in QA and quality review by the government. When they are reviewed the review findings are published on the web.

In 1998 a Quality Achievement fund was set up by the government at handover. Funding for CUSP comes mainly from the government. Hong Kong they said aspires to the work done in Early Years in Scotland particularly in relation to inclusion and transition. They hope to continue developing sustainable development work, a recognition scheme is now in place for schools in this area, they also hope to involve parents increasingly with establishsments in partnership.

They felt their society was a pragmatic one – high pressure and a busy society.

June 26, 2009 Posted by | Education, Hong Kong, SCIPD | Leave a comment

Tai Po Old Market Public School

We visited Tai Po Old Market Public School on the 21st of May. A primary in the new territories serving a local area. It was a thoroughly enjoyable session, staring off with their orchestra playing for us – they were great – some of them were so young their feet didn’t yet reach the ground from the chairs they were playing flutes etc on.

They have close links with several schools internationally including St George’s in Edinburgh. Their principal said the best way to learn about a school is through the students so after an initial session with the principal and other staff some of the young people showed us round the school in small groups. We watched a video about the school where there was a clear emphasis on the respect and trust they build with students. Their motto is “We are never content with the best we always strive to do better.” They have great links with the community through e.g their “farm” where the elderly are involved with planting etc. They believe each child is distinct and can develop their potential. Some of the things they have developed are making the school very open to the public, work on multiple intelligence and the use of praise. There are a wide variety of extra curricular activities. Over time they have worked closely with Archie McGlynn who was an HMIe looking at areas such as co-operative learning, problem solving etc. The school is very well resourced and has recently had a swimming pool built.

The school was established in 1964, starting as a small village school, they moved to the current new build 7 storey building in 1986 when the current principal was appointed. In 2002 the afternoon section moved to the present campus to become a whole school. They emphasise all round education, striving to provide each and every student with the most ideal environment to nurture the students’ moral, intellectual, physical, social, aesthetic, effective, spiritual growth.

The school is a neighbourhood school and recieves many applications for places but the system is that the ed bureau oversees the placements holding ballots etc. There is a wide range of student ability.

They often video conference with other countries. This year visitors from 6 countries have come to the school. In June a group of students from Ohio will be visiting the school.

The school emphasises two dimensions – the students learning and teachers professional development. There is an emphasis on improving learning, staff moving to facilitators to motivate pupils inside and outside the classroom with lots of self learning. They want to involve everyone in the school community to learn and share with each other.

Why the teacher professional development?

1. For school development

2. Enhance professionalism

3. Familiarise selves with the latest  teaching development

4. Broaden teachers horizons

5. Be the students role models

In terms of attainment the students do well but they feel they can never be complacent.

Annually teachers go oversees for professional development opportunities eg to Taiwan and Singapore.

They mentioned a Chinese saying they like

“Education is to be a role model and love”

The following are foci for teacher development work

  • Consider the schools areas of concern
  • Aim at improving learning and teaching
  • Aim at developing a learning culture
  • Arrange school visits and invite guest speakers
  • Consider the budget

This year they had done a lot of work on brain based programmes with an expert giving input to staff.

Staff do proffessional development for 2 or 3 days each Summer holiday, on Friday afternoons and during school development days during school session.

200-300 students from the school stay behind for the extra curricular lessons provided.

New teachers have mentors in the school who observe lessons, and give feedback etc

Some have been involved in lesson studies (based on variation theory) see a previous post. They felt this was a lengthy process but very beneficial and that the proffessional support provided by the Education Insititute during lesson studies helped co-operative planning. When doing this staff will discuss areas which are difficult to teach and through the process look in depth at how students learn.

During the session some teachers will help peers by giving demo lessons eg on questioning skills. At times they will invite in experts to evaluate the lessons going on in the school and they also invite parents in to observe lessons.

The Education Bureau asked them to become a profession development school in 2004 as a pilot. There are now around 7 or 8 of these schools in Hong Kong. A supply teacher is porvided to the school and one of the school’s staff goes out to 3 nearby schools and helps with their curriculum development work.

The school is a theme based sharing school and teachers from other schools visit weekly to share with the teachers in this school. Last session the foucs was on meeting individual pupil needs.

The visitors to the school last year in terms of numbers were huge 80-90 oversees visitors last year alone.

The principal felt the impact of staff development has been:

  • Teachers have the same focus/goal, common targets and direction
  • The school culture minimizes differences of teachers
  • Professional growth
  • Construct a professional learning culture
  • Strengthen the development of a learing community

The staff and principal worked long hours – the principal worked from 7.45 to 10/11pm daily. Most teachers working till around 8pm daily.

Exams are very important to the primary and teachers often worry that students won’t get into a good secondary and this means they may have poor life chances

Currently they have a fund for staff development which they fundraise for and have sponsors, last session this was around £80000

She felt that developing a learning school has no end point it is

always developing and quoted Elmore

“Improvement is a function of learning to do the right thing in the setting where you work

June 19, 2009 Posted by | Education, Hong Kong, SCIPD | , , , | Leave a comment

Jockey Club Primary visit

114On the Tuesday we visited Jockey Club Primary which was also situated in the new territories and set within the same campus as the kindergarten and college. We met with a teacher there Miss Chung who had taught there for 7 years. She had a BEd (4 year course) and had majored in English and her minor was in Chinese and General Studies. During her time  studying she went to England for 8 weeks immersion in the language to assist in her English major. There are also immersion programmes at college in mainland China..

The primary was established in 2002. There is an induction programme for newly trained teachers within the establishment. The challenges in the school were things like the high expectations of attainment from society and from parents, the time needed for teacher co-planning. The teacher day began at around 7.30, the school day ends at 3.30 then the teachers plan and more time for planning is always needed. She felt she would like additional time set within the timetable for collaborative work between teachers. Teachers can leave the establishment at 4.30 but many stay much later. The school has joined several programmes to assist in the educational reform programme. Everything can’t be done at once so the principal and school board choose the focus. The Ed Bureau give the school lots of autonomy and the schools implement their policies. Within the school a lot of work had been done on cultivating an atmosphere for improving reading. Next session they would be carrying out work to look at small class teaching. They had already held workshops on how to teach small classes (approx 25 pupils). They use positive behaviour strategies and always try to talk and encourage the children. Society is changing with increasing numbers of parents with less time at home due to work commitments. Additional support needs are met within class with some setting for eg English. Miss Chang is currently completing an MA at a part time college course two evenings a week after school. The school encourages professional development. There is a professional development committee and the school writes a development plan. Parents volunteer and help with eg library books. The PTA recently held a parent picnic with the children and parents and also fundraise. No pupil council yet but on agenda. The school is externally reviewed by the Education bureau and this was done previously about three years ago – similar to HMIe and assists in self evaluation. We also toured the school – and met with the principal. A few photos below give a flavour.






June 5, 2009 Posted by | Education, Hong Kong, SCIPD | Leave a comment

Kindergarten Visit

105112079On Tuesday 19th May we visited the Hong Kong Institute of Education HSBC Early Childhood Learning Centre where the principal is Mrs Edith Leung Yuk Ian. The Kindergarten is within the wide college campus area as is a primary. Its situated in the new territories.

The principal works there part time as she  also works training Hong Kong Teachers. We saw a video befre our walk round which the establishment has produced about the activities and learning which take place. Funding source is the Hong Kong Bank Foundation. There are 160 children attending with a mix of full and part time places. The nursery istelf contributes to training of nursery and teaching staff in Hong Kong. Their mission is to put into place innovative teaching. There is a strong emphasis on developing good reading habits, lots of work is undertaken with the children on questioning, exploration of their learning experiences. There’s an emphasis on developing problem solving skills for instance through a recent topic on bamboo where the children were involved in a variety of problem solving experiences. The children have learning portfolios and teacher assessment is recorded with detailed progress an online databank is used by staff to assist in this recording.

There was a creative corridor where there were areas for children to experience creativity through play and where their work was exhibited. They were promoting emphasising cultural experience and also doing much on the arts. Some lovely shadow play was done using ohps and large screens with the children creating shadow drama etc. There was a parents resource centre, PTA and volunteer parents involved. They had been working in the library recently sorting, organising the lending library. Parents could view what the children were doing through two way mirrors and CCTv systems within the nursery and this was used to assist in reporting on progress to parents – a group fo partnes would observe the children at play and then meet with the principal and teachers to discuss the progress of the children, share, communicate and teachers would also model ways of playing with the children. It was felt this classroom observation and discussion with the parents was psositive and the parents found it helped them work with the nursery and with their children. Lots of outdoor play going on with a planting/cultivation site, big sandpit, cycling track, outdoor playground and a picnic area. There was also a multi functional playground area where children were involved in water play and also where they could try ceramic art work. The nursery had a large children’s library and older children would read stories to younger ones there. There was a chef on site who cooked healthy snacks and lunches. The children had a soft toy playmate called Zippy who helped with social and emotional wellbeing – something liek persona dolls. Toddlers were learning basic living skills – a big seated buggy was used for walks. The little ones were getting onsite toilet training.

The principal is a lecturer who has been seconded. The teaching staff have their BEds or are training for one. Staff had made several visits abroad to see good practice and to share and learn.

The centre has opportunitities for student teachers ti work there and volunteer. Its seen as being a very open training centre. They feel they have a clear emphasis on developing and nurturing early childhood theory and practice.








June 5, 2009 Posted by | Education, Hong Kong, SCIPD | , , , | Leave a comment

British Council

We were really pleased on the Monday evening to be invited along to an event at the British Council to celebrate the Scholarship for Excellence students who had been studying in Hong Kong for a year. Lots of information about this opportunity on their website. The 2009 application period seems to now be over however this flyer gives an idea of the opportuntities for those looking at this in a year’s time Several of the students spoke about their experiences and it had clearly been of benefit to those involved.



June 5, 2009 Posted by | Education, Hong Kong, SCIPD | Leave a comment


Looking at some of our photographs there seem to be an inordinate amount of pictures of food… Here are just a few – really enjoying the one of John who struggling with noodles and chopsticks was being assisted by a waitress with a pair of scissors! Come to think of it John seems to be involved in most of the food photos, not that I’m saying he enjoyed the food or anything…





203And here’s our delegation in all our glory, sleep deprived, overheated and too full of food…


June 5, 2009 Posted by | Hong Kong | Leave a comment

Meeting with Education Bureau on Day 1


Some photos here from out visit on the Monday to the British Council.

O038On the Monday we also had a meeting with Education Bureau officials, so see some images from there too026


This included a briefing on Hong Kong education system and curriculum development – Mr K C Tam, Principal Education Officer, Mrs CHAN Siu Suk-fan, Senior Education Officer (External Liaison), Ms Sarah NGAI K C, Chief Curriculum Development Officer (Kindergarten & Primary)

A briefing on teacher development by Ms Y S CHAN, Chief Professional Development Officer (Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualification [ACTEQ] & Professional Development)

A meeting and discussion with Mr CHEUNG Pak-hong, Chairman of ACTEQ and Principal, Munsang College (Hong Kong Island)

We were briefed on the new secondary system (NSS), curriculumn reform and teacher education partnership. Full details can be found on the Bureau’s website.

Our CfE approaches and Hong Kong’s reform approaches are both centred around the young person. Hong Kong have 7 learning goals we have 4 capacities. There are many similarities with the new Hong Kong model and Scotland’s model. The key learning areas for the Curriculum Framework’s Basic Education (P1 to S3) are Chinese Language Ed, English Language Ed, Personal, Social and Humanities, Science Ed, Tech Ed, Arts Ed, PE and Genral Studies. Involved are generic skills, values and attitudes and 5 essential learning experiences. There is a stress on balance and these balanced considerations involve reflecting on desirability v feasibility, short term v long term, localisation v globalisation, academic/social curriculum goals v economic curriculum goals, central curriculum v school based curriculum.

4 key tasks are stressed – reading to learn, project learning, IT for interactive learning and Moral/Civic education. Through the 7 learning goals of the curriculum they discussed a triangle diagram called the golden trinity and these are the curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. A key emphasis is placed in developing and building teacher capacity – in the development of students, the development of teachers and in school development. There is also an emphasis on tripartite partnership between schools, the education bureau and tertiary institutions. This helps schools, colleges and universities have an understanding of each other. Universities are working collaboratively on research work looking at teacher development, learning etc. There is also an emphasis on three guiding principles – capacity building, relationship building and culture building. The strength of teachers continues to be built upon with active capacity building involvement.

Chan Siu Suk Fan talked about background information on the reforms and also some of the very similar issues we encounter – for instance workload issues in times of change. The policiea re very clear and where they are moving and the message is very much don’t muddy the water by doing uneccesary things – build on strengths and improve any areas of development. Many workshops are being carried out on the how of curriculum building and design. Leadership is seen as the key to continuous improvement

June 5, 2009 Posted by | Education, Hong Kong, SCIPD | Leave a comment

Variation and Learning Studies

During our visit to the  Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) where we met with Dr KO Po-yuk, Associate Professor and Dr Priscilla LO, Lecturer from School Partnership and Field Experience Office (SPFEO) they explained their learning study model. Key references for this are:

1)     Marton, F. & Booth, S.P. (1997). Learning and awareness. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.


2)     Marton, F. & Morris, P. (eds.), P. (2002). What matters? Discovering critical conditions of classroom learning. Goteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis.


3) (2004).  

Ference Marton, Amy Tsui, Pakey Pui Man Chick, Po Youk Ko, Ling Lo, Ida Ah Chee Mok, Dorothy Fung Ping Ng, Ming Fai Pang, Wing Yan Pong, Ulla Runesson

Classroom Discourse   

and the Space of Learning, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.


4)      Lo, M.L., Pong, W.Y. & Chik., P. M. P. (Eds) (2005). For Each and Everyone – Catering for Individual Differences through Learning Study. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.


Other references:

This was of particular interest to several of us and may be something we can adapt and investigate further in some of our authorities. Attached here is a cut and paste from the website documentation which gives an overview of the approach.Background on Learning Study Project

June 5, 2009 Posted by | Education, Hong Kong, SCIPD | Leave a comment

E-mail comments

Joanne sent the following excerpts from SCIPD visit delegates e-mails since the visit  which give a flavour of the continuing positivity about the usefulness of the opportunity:


Thought the whole experience was brilliant.   The aspect that I am going to take forward in my practice is a variation on the variation theory to develop an action enquiry around improving learning and teaching based on the idea we saw.  If anyone else would like to work with me on this let me know.  I don’t want to go too deeply into the theory, but see this as having real potential in developing a framework for peer mentoring/teaching. 

I will have some discussion with our Ed Psych or probationer mentors and would be pleased to share ideas with you.


I’m going to try to write up notes from visits on blog.

I had a fantastic week and emphasise what a pleasure it was to be with such a great group of people. I know we will all meet again soon but happy to keep in touch and provide any support/advice (either professional or shopping!) to anyone in the future.

I would be grateful if you could pass on my thanks for the wonderful opportunity that I was part of.


Still reflecting on what we saw, what a wonderful opportunity the week was.


 I feel we have created a collegiate network that will be useful for the future not only in sharing good practice but also in allowing us to draw on each others expertise in relation to future challenges.


An experience of a life time and a great CPD opportunity.

The variety of visits and activities made the most of the short time we had with our colleagues in Hong Kong.

This is a trip which I will always remember, not only for the wonderful opportunity it offered in visiting

Hong Kong’s Educational Establishments but also for the camaraderie and sharing of experiences it allowed

with colleagues from all over Scotland.


In summary, we’ve plenty to share about what we learned and how we’ll use what we learned and plenty to share anecdotally about what we experienced too in the miniscule amount of ‘free time’ we had.  As we debriefed for the final time of the visit –in HK airport at 10pm, before our long flight home the group unanimously felt it had been an exceptional professional and personal  experience.

May 30, 2009 Posted by | Education, Hong Kong, SCIPD | | Leave a comment

Back home

So we returned about 7.30 am Saturday morning, all exhausted, swollen feet and a bit bloated from all the indulgence in Chinese food! However back to normal after a good sleep and some fruit and veg… Johnny in the Chinese restaurant next to my flat asked me if I thought the food in Hong Kong or his was better when he spied me in the street, I avoided that question! So over the next few days write ups/notes/photos of the various visits we made will appear here and then hopefully our reports over the next few weeks. Lots to tell. Its been a fantastic opportunity for reflection over the past week and in many ways also a reaffirming experience for our values and beliefs that we show in our daily work here at home. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves, Hong Kong and how things are done there, reflected on how we go about things in Scotland and its been one of those life changing experiences which will start to impact on us as we think and reflect over the next few weeks. We also learned how well students learn English in Hong Kong. On the last day I was talking to one if the hotel porters who said his English needed work. It seemed pretty good to me, so asking what the problem was he said “I need to work on my joining words and prepositions.” Prepositions? I speak English all the time and I’m less articulate then he was in my native tongue…
Nice link here to TCPD. Thanks for that Con

May 25, 2009 Posted by | Education, Hong Kong, SCIPD | , , | Leave a comment