I am writing to introduce myself and to say a little about my role in the future of SCBS and the Concord vision of education.
Firstly, I hope that you are your loved ones are well in this time of extraordinary global challenge. It is certainly not an easy time, but it seems to me that we learn a great deal about ourselves and what matters most to us in such adversity. I am sure that each of us has found the challenges different but considerable. That has certainly been the case here at Concord College in the UK. We have been educating over 200 students on our campus here and another several hundred virtually for several months now. This has been demanding for teachers, students and for parents, all of whom have had to make adjustments and compromises. While we have now become expert in digital learning and it present many amazing opportunities, I remain convinced that children flourish most when they have the opportunity to be taught in person by expert teachers for whom students have respect and from whom they are given respect. Let us hope that this return to ‘normality’ will soon be possible and that young people are able to return to school permanently.
It may be of interest for you to know a little more about me. After studying for my degree at Cambridge University, I have spent 32 years as an educator in some of the UK’s top independent schools. For the past 16 years, I have had the privilege of leading Concord College UK as its Principal. During that time, the school has developed into the UK’s premier international boarding school. The school’s academic results have greatly improved greatly, the education offered has become more sophisticated, the campus has doubled in size and demand for places has increased enormously, even during the current pandemic. Concordians have also gone on to study at the UK’s and world’s top universities, indeed, in the last five years alone well over 100 of our former students have gone on to Oxford or to Cambridge Universities, and the same number to Imperial College London.
In September 2021, I take on a new role as Global Principal of Concord College International. In this position I will have the privilege of shaping and leading the vision of Concord education around the world. As far as SCBS is concerned, this will mean that I will be able to give more time to the school, advising on the education provided and on development. I should also say that I hold SCBS close to my heart as I was deeply involved its original conception, its planning and now as a member of its Board. It is also my hope that the links between Concord College UK and SCBS will become more tangible over time. In particular,
- We hope that High School students at SCBS who are applying to top UK universities can receive guidance and support from students and staff at Concord UK. This might also involve help with mock interviews and training for pre-tests.
- More generally, we hope to develop further links between teachers and leaders at the two schools to share best practice and educational ideas.
- Concord College International is also setting up a digital platform that will share high quality specialist teaching materials produced by teachers here at Concord College UK. Pupils, teachers and parents at SCBS will have access to this material when it becomes available.
Thank you for taking time to read this and could I wish you happiness, prosperity and good health as we all look forward to the Year of the Ox. We will all need strength, determination and consistency to make the best of the challenges and opportunities that we face in the year ahead.
Mr Neil Hawkins MA (Cantab), PGCE