It is our intention at South Island School to keep the art curriculum at the forefront of contemporary art practice. Students are challenged in a myriad of ways whilst working both individually and collaboratively exploring a range of art disciplines. The art department provides rich experiences for students from Years 7-13 where they are encouraged to express, to answer, to invent, to change, to revolutionize and to originate.
In the Lower School, Years 7, 8 & 9 work on year-long projects where they engage with a variety of media and techniques in a range of disciplines such as drawing, painting, printmaking and digital photography.
In Years 10 & 11 the General Certificate of Secondary Education is offered and in Years 12 & 13 we offer two pathways: The International Bacclaureate Diploma Programme and the Advanced Diploma Programme. Students are encouraged to consider the importance of both aesthetic and concept and to investigate the characteristics and qualities of materials in order to resolve meaning. We hold three major art exhibitions each year for the GCSE, BTEC and IB students and publish one catalogue for our IB students.
Through Drama and Theatre we aim to offer a wide ranging and stimulating syllabus that encourages performance and understanding, to realize the academic side of the subject not just in a written sense but in a practical sense too. We wish to make a difference in young people’s lives, to create life long memories beyond the classroom, helping them to make sense of the changing world in which they live. Drama can also raise self esteem and have a powerful impact on young people’s confidence, communication skills and team work. These skills are valued by employers throughout life and prepare students for the adult world. Creativity, empathy, negotiation and problem solving can be explored and developed through Drama and are valuable and transferable thinking skills. In Drama, “play” is an attitude to learning, where the consequences of failure are greatly reduced, in which questions have all kinds of answers. Ultimately we aim to support, challenge, guide and stimulate the students academic, cultural, creative and aesthetic growth through Drama in the lower and middle school, and as the students progress through IB Theatre.
Outside of the curriculum, students have an opportunity to get involved in drama activities throughout the year, have fun and develop their skills. The Making a Difference week offers varying opportunities, from visiting practitioners working with groups on “a play in a week” projects, to overseas trips working on specific theatre forms. In alternate years there is a major school production and in the summer term there are activities and workshops which culminate in a small scale performance for lower school students. There are opportunities to get involved in all aspects of the theatre making process from acting to makeup, design, costume, stage management and technical support. We have recently produced Jamilia Gavin’s Coram Boy, which was originally adapted for the National Theatre by Helen Edmunson with music by Adrian Suton. This was a challenging piece, involving over 100 students.
Throughout the year we have visiting artistes who work with our students in school and these have included physical theatre practitioners from Australia and New Zealand, a Chinese Opera performer and text based directors from England. In addition we are members of the International Schools Theatre Association and have attended Middle and High School Festivals throughout Asia and Hong Kong. Students who have been involved in this work have the opportunity to meet other young people from around the world, as well as take part in inspiring workshops led by internationally celebrated practitioners.
In addition to these events, we have very close links with the Drama Curriculum Departments of the other ESF schools and support each other in developing curriculum ideas and future planning. In the autumn term we have the annual ESF Drama Conference, which is aimed at post 16 students.
Drama students at South Island School have many opportunities to participate in Drama workshops. We have a rich tradition of inviting Drama practitioners into school to work with students. Australian based company Zen Zen Zo and Noa Rotem have visited us several times over the last ten years to work with students on different techniques such as Viewpoints, Suzuki and Butoh. New Zealand’s Red Leap have also worked with a variety of students on Physical Theatre approaches to devising. We have also been fortunate to work with Beijing Opera practitioners to begin to understand this rich practice.
IB Theatre students participate in an annual ESF Drama Conference hosted by different ESF schools where student led workshops are shared which directly support the IB Theatre course requirements of the Independent Project.
Most years we attend an ISTA Theatre festival in which students are exposed to workshops with world class Theatre practitioners. These are typically residential and take place over three days, culminating in a public performance. These are wonderful events and the students meet students from International schools all over the world.
South Island School Drama Productions
2010 The Courage Project – Whole School collaboration with Zen Zen
2010 Caucasian Chalk Circle- Lower School
2010 Kill Jill. Lower School
2009 Grim Tales-Lower School
2008 Sweeney Todd – Whole School Production
2008 The Willow Pattern
2008 Fa Hoi Fu Kwai – ESF collaboration performed in Tai Koo Place
2007 A Midsummer Nights Dream- Lower School
2006 Beauty And The Beast- Lower School
2005 A Christmas Carol- School Production
2005 The Pilgrimage- Lower School
2004 Joseph and His Amazing Technical Dream Coat- School production
Curriculum in Years 7 – 9
Year 7– In Year 7, students will develop their communication skills such as speech, gesture and facial expression and develop a growing awareness of how they are able to work in a range of groupings to negotiate, explore and create drama. Through practical techniques, students will gain an understanding of Greek Theatre, Shakespeare, mime, comedy and issue based work.
Year 8 — Throughout Year 8, students will deepen their understanding of how they can use their communication skills effectively. They develop their critical thinking skills and crucially, their empathetic imagination; learning to see, think and feel another person’s point of view. Trust is built by working together in an ensemble – essential skills for the real world.
Year 9 — Students are introduced to two key practitioners Bertolt Brecht and his Epic Theatre and Stanislavski’s system and Naturalism. They continue to develop their understanding of devising within an ensemble and building their skills independently. Towards the end of Year 9 students should be able to take on a myriad of roles in a scene study.
Year 10/11- Follow the CIE IGCSE course, with a focus on the actor, director and designer.
Year 12/13- Follow the IB Theatre Course, which is a rigorous academic and challenging course, which aims to develop sophisticated practitioners of the art form with a life long appreciation.
Throughout the school year, we run extra curricular Drama activities such as stage make up and lower school drama activities.
We, as a school, are also fortunate to host The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) classes every Monday at school. LAMDA is the UK’s leading statutory speech and drama awarding body, recognising achievements in communication and performance in over eighty countries. LAMDA classes are suitable for all ages and all levels of experience. We tailor the class to the individual as much as possible and ensure that students have fun whilst also exploring text and dramatic devices. Skills acquired in class will enhance many areas of their learning and presentation skills. They will attain lifelong skills in a world where the ability to be a good communicator is becoming more and more important. Please contact Drama Department for details.
South Island School has a long tradition of excellence in Media and particularly in the development of strong film making skills. The Film, Television & Media Department won a total of sixteen school ‘Oscars’ between 2009 and 2011 in the ESF Film and Hong Kong Schools Film Awards. The film ‘The Ascension’ also won a top prize in the prestigious 2012 IFVA Film Awards as well as several short film competitions worldwide. More recently the work of IB Film students, Caitlin Chan & Mehr Chughtai gained the attention of local social media curator, Localiz with the girls hired to produce promotional material on behalf of the company. They went on to win the inaugural Hong Kong Young Writers Award in 2015, with their IB Film, Float.
With a clear brand of quality well established in Hong Kong, the department recently embarked upon its most ambitious project to date, namely the Next Generation South Island Digital . This small business initiative provides an authentic experience for students and deals with genuine clients, including real deadlines. Crucially, these are paid commissions in which the department offers either promotional videos or short documentaries for clients at a cost of $6,500 per film. To date, the department has serviced the video needs of such varied clients as Y-Rock, The Belgian Consulate, Plastic Free Seas, The English Schools Foundation, The Hong Kong Institute of Professional Photographers, Equip-Me and many more. The business hopes to expand in years to come with plans to support the development of film and media education in local schools as well as connections with alumni working in the field.
The infrastructure of the department, which is based on the 8th floor of D Block has changed radically in recent years. With the advent of a senior school course in BTEC Creative Media Production, the construction of a TV studio was necessitated and can be found at the back of D81. This is a multipurpose space and can be used as both a classroom and TV studio. BTEC students have been involved in some exciting live broadcasts in recent years covering such events as Cooking Competition, Sports Day and Live Debating using a hi-tech Tricastor, sometimes connected to a live feed. The successes in BTEC has been largely due to the efforts of teacher, Larisa Curran. As a former television editor, Larisa provides professionalism in supporting students to develop their skills whilst also linking with other filmmakers in Hong Kong, such as Jennifer Deayton of Bodega Media. Jennifer also supports the department as benefactor of the annual Film & Media Award Ceremony held each year in May. Larisa has been ably supported by Sally Stanton in the delivery of this course.
D82 forms the hub of IB Film Studies and the teaching space of HoD, Iain Williamson. The room is equipped with a state of the art HD projector, surround sound system and electronically controlled white screen. The quality of student work associated with the department can be seen via the Wall of Fame on the 8Th Floor corridor, which contains the names of award winners going back to 2004 although in reality the school has had a strong media culture since the mid 1990s. The department has continued to grow in recent years with students also opting to study Film & Television via the BTEC pathway alongside already well-established and successful courses in IB Film and GCSE Media Studies.
Starting in August 2015, the department launched a new foundation course for Year 9 students. The course is now going into the third year with a massive six classes and over 115 students attracted to the subject, studying a range of topics from photography and advertising to news and film.
This has led to the formation of a brand new course for students in Years 10 and 11 starting in August 2016, which is accredited by the Agence France Presse (AFP) and contains several other partner organisations. Our replacement for the rather outdated GCSE Media Studies course is MEDIA: Media Education Digital Innovation and Affiliates. The key here is providing authentic learning opportunities for our students including real projects, real clients and real deadlines. This builds on the success of Next Generation South Island Digital whereby we set up a series of commissioned briefs for our students. The money then goes into the purchase of new equipment and our training programme to support local teachers and students not so fortunate to have access to the tech and theoretical ideas provided for our own students. This training is set-up and executed by our students. We have also found that the addition of a commission has risen the quality of student work whilst also gaining much more buy-in from clients.
The success of the department was also achieved thanks to the technical support offered by full-time technician Abby Wan. Abby is also based on the 8/F and works tirelessly to support students, whilst also supporting major technical events lie our multi camera unit as part of the BTEC course and the SIS Film Awards.
With the emergence of new media technologies, the subject has never before enjoyed such high levels of resonance in the lives of our students. The department itself has been quick to make use of Web 2.0 and 3.0 applications as well as developing critical, textual analysis skills in our students. We make full use of Google classrooms, Evidencer as well as our own departmental wiki www.esfmedia.com .The latter is one of the top Google hits on the internet when searching for IB Film Studies. In more recent years, the department has also been centrally involved in supporting the growth of digital portfolios. Using the Evidencer platforms, film and media students are encouraged to exhibit and curate work, which connects with the approaches to learning (ATL’s) found at the heart of our learning model.
Along with our excellent examination results, which are some of the best in the world in both GCSE Media Studies and IB Film Studies, we also increasingly offer digital literacy and media literacy skills for the younger students in Years 7-9 to also gain access to this crucial part of their education. Currently, digital citizenship units are taught in Year 7 and Year 8 InterD. We hope this is just the first step in creating a robust media literacy strand in line with the 2016 ISTE standards.
About Music Department
At South Island there is extensive provision for music making outside the classroom. A range of orchestral, instrumental and choral ensembles and activities exist to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate in performances of repertoire appropriate to their experience and musical preferences. There are frequent public events to showcase the talents of our students, both in school and in venues outside.
The main ensembles include:
Chamber Orchestra – an advanced level orchestra which performs classical repertoire from the Baroque to the present day. Places in this orchestra are awarded on audition and rehearsals are held on Friday afternoons.
Wind Band – open to all students who have played a wind instrument for at least a year, this group rehearses on Friday afternoon and performs at all major school concerts.
Vocal Academy welcomes singers of all ages and interests. Vocal Academy students perform in all school concerts and are also frequently invited to perform in events outside of school. A sub-group of this, Chamber Choir, consists of auditioned students who require a greater challenge. Rehearsals take place on Tuesday mornings.
In addition to the groups listed above there are also frequently other small ensembles, such as string quartets and vocal groups in existence, often run by students supported by the music staff.
The performance calendar obviously changes from year to year, but many events have now become a part of SIS tradition. In term one, the school competes at the annual inter-house MusicFest. The Christmas Concert involves a significant proportion of the school community with a range of contemporary and traditional numbers. Proceeds are donated to charity. The Spring Recitals provide a platform for all our main ensembles and many of the smaller ones. It also provides an opportunity for our IB and IGCSE musicians to perform publicly. The musical year is brought to a close by our themed Gala Concert, in which all the main ensembles perform, with opportunities for collaboration with other arts forms. In 2016, the evening had a Latin theme, and in 2017 Drama, Dance and Music collaborated in performances on the theme of peace. In recent years, two musical productions, ‘Coram Boy’ and ‘Guys and Dolls’ have been staged. As well as these major events our students are also often to be found performing in a range of other situations such as the Awards Ceremony, the Hong Kong Cricket Club carols event, HIV Red Ribbon Day events, other schools etc.
For our more advanced musicians, the department run a Spotlight Series programme, Students on the programmes have the opportunity to attend concerts, participate in workshops with professional musicians, talk to professionals about being a working musician and studying music.
SIS is also a member of the International Schools Choral Music Society and has participated in all 9 festivals since its inception in 2008, travelling to Shanghai in 2015 and Zhuhai in 2016. In 2018 our musicians will attend the festival in Suzhou.
Recent photos and videos of Music Department events can be found on our Twitter feed @SISHKMusic