WAS Changzhou and Wycombe Abbey UK: Charting a Collaborative Future

School News December 25, 2023
WAS Changzhou and Wycombe Abbey UK:   Charting a Collaborative Future

Dec 5 Tuesday, WAS Changzhou warmly welcomed the management team from Wycombe Abbey UK, opening a new chapter of collaboration for future in-depth exchanges.


Building on the past, a promising future for the sister schools' collaboration

Mr Patrick Sherrington, Chair of Wycombe Abbey International, Former Chair of School Council, visited WAS Changzhou in June of this year and returned for another visit. As an old friend, he has witnessed WAS Changzhou's journey of progress over the past decade.

Ms Jo Duncan, Headmistress of Wycombe Abbey, and Miss Cat Hoyle, Housemistress of Wycombe Abbey, visited WAS Changzhou for the first time. It's worth noting that Dr Paul Silverwood, Executive Headmaster of WAS Changzhou, and Ms Jo Duncan had previously worked together at Benenden School in the UK, adding a sense of serendipity to their collaboration.

In the years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sister schools frequently engaged in online interactions, co-hosting online 3D art exhibitions and Digital music concerts.

With the world returning to normal, the gates of WAS Changzhou are finally wide open to students and staff from the sister school in the UK. Dr Paul Silverwood joyfully shared the recent speech experiences of C. Poulton (G11 Hawking), an "Engage with China" scholar from the UK, and Head Prefect K. Jia (G12, Dove). They presented campus life in each other's native language during an education sharing session, which intrigued Ms Jo Duncan.


A condensed day of witnessing the excellence in the WAS system

The Wycombe Abbey management team, accompanied by Mr Mitchell More, Assistant Head (Pastoral), first toured the beautifully designed campus. They were impressed by the grand scale of the Sports Dome and the Rowing Centre.

Rowing coach Mr Pascal Frieh introduced them to the boathouse, equipped with 32 carbon fiber and kevlar composite rowing boats and 6 sailboats. He mentioned WAS Changzhou's participation in the Henley Regatta in the coming year, expressing anticipation for the opportunity to visit Wycombe Abbey UK with our students.

Subsequently, together with Mr Ralf de Bos, Deputy Head (Pastoral), they discussed in detail student well-being, boarding life management, and electronic device control. As Designated Safeguarding Lead of their respective schools, Mr Ralf de Bos and Miss Cat Hoyle focused on the impact of electronic devices and social media on the growth of adolescents both in China and the UK. They shared insights and management practices.

Mr Ralf de Bos also introduced that WAS Changzhou has appointed five prefects, each assisting in one of the Five Aims (Pastoral, Academic, Enrichment, Extension, and Community). A. Chen in charge of Pastoral (G12, Cavell) is actively collaborating with housemasters, housemistress and tutors.

The Wycombe Abbey management team also stepped into our vibrant lower school and upper school classrooms for observation.

In Upper School global perspectives class, students freely discussed the similarities and differences of the French and American revolutions. In an English class, students were learning the importance of cross-referencing news sources. In the science lab, students used a "simulated lung" to study the interconnections between the lungs, chest, and spine during human respiration.

In a lower school school maths class, a lively division Q&A competition was underway. In a lower school global perspectives class, teachers set up intriguing spy tasks for students to understand the various roles of water in nature and society. The students ran around, negotiated, and collaborated to collect all the clues.

Additionally, the Wycombe Abbey management team, along with sixth form student representatives and "Engage with China" scholars from the UK, had lunch and discussed future academic plans together. They also enjoyed a pleasant afternoon tea with lower school students.

The children felt a strong connection with Mr Patrick Sherrington, who had visited several times. They enthusiastically shared their interesting experiences, such as participating in football training and caring for piglets after school, showcasing significant progress in academics and language skills.

At the end of the day, Miss Cat Hoyle exclaimed, "What impressed me most about WAS Changzhou is its floatation. In the canteen during mealtime, students from Kindergarten, Lower School, and Upper School orderly take turns dining, and various campus facilities are used alternately by the whole school. Campus life here is well-organized, much like in a university, where learning and boarding seamlessly complement each other."


World education experts discuss the essence of holistic education

Wycombe Abbey, a prestigious boarding school for girls in the UK, was founded in 1896 and was nominated by The Times as the best school in the UK. One-third of its students receive offers from Oxford or Cambridge annually.

The school's educational goals, established by its founder, Dame Frances Dove, over a century ago, focus on academic excellence, developing talents in creativity, physical ability, and social skills, and instilling a sense of responsibility through teamwork in a happy, fulfilling, and caring community. To extend the benefits of such teaching philosophy to more children, Wycombe Abbey established the International Affairs Committee and, looking to China, founded its first sister school, WAS Changzhou.

On the same day, a parental meeting with the Headmistress of Wycombe Abbey UK was held on the campus. Over a hundred parents of current WAS students attended the meeting, engaging in face-to-face discussions with Mr Yuan, Director & Vice President of WAS Group, and global top education experts from Wycombe Abbey UK. Parents actively raised questions about school management, child development, and academic planning. The two schools shared similar perspectives on many issues and provided practical advice.

Ms Jo Duncan shared that children should be given enough freedom and space to willingly do certain things on their own, rather than being forced. If a child faces difficulties in time management or has not discovered their passion, mentors and college directors at the school provide professional support to guide and help them become better individuals. Miss Cat Hoyle emphasized teaching children how to use electronic devices and social media scientifically, responsibly, and with a sense of duty.

Mr Patrick Sherrington also introduced the diverse club activities and sports programmes at Wycombe Abbey UK. He believed that outstanding children would not devote all their time to studying. Sports, drama, music, and art all contribute to academic prayer, and skills in different fields complement each other, achieving mutual success.

Regarding the collaboration between the two schools, Mr Yuan mentioned that even before the pandemic, teachers from Wycombe Abbey UK had come to WAS Changzhou for short-term teaching. Additionally, WAS Changzhou has consistently collaborated with Wycombe Abbey in recruiting outstanding teachers globally. In the near future, the two schools plan to initiate more comprehensive exchanges and interactions between teachers and students.