School Council

South Island School is part of the English Schools Foundation of 22 Schools in Hong Kong that operates within the ESF government ordinance.

The school is accountable to the Board of Governors (Executive Committee) of ESF but has its own School Council (local Governing Body) comprised of parents, community members, staff and students. The Chair of the School Council is an independent person and is appointed to the school by the board of Governors. The School Council oversees the strategic direction and the performance of the school.

The Council meets around six times per year. It has two sub-committees, namely Finance and Personnel (FP) and Learning and Professional Development (LPD) both chaired by community representatives. Among other matters, the FP sub-committee reviews the school’s annual budget, and recommends acceptance to the full council. It also reviews personnel matters and consider health and safety issues. The LPD sub-committee’s work is more aimed at, inter alia, curriculum development, teaching methods and examination performance.

Council Meeting Dates in 2017-18

  • Sep 18 2017 (Monday)
  • Nov 27, 2017 (Monday)
  • Feb 12, 2018 (Monday)
  • Apr 23, 2018 (Monday)
  • June 11, 2018 (Monday)

School Council Members

Chair – Nick Phillips

Nick Phillips is the Director of his own interim executive management company, based in Hong Kong. With a degree from Loughborough University (UK) and an MBA from Cranfield School of Management (UK), Nick moved to Australia in 1997 and then to Hong Kong in 2010, working in Corporate / Group Strategy, Executive Team and Board related roles. He is married with two daughters, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

ESF Learning & Teaching Adviser Kirsty De Wilde

Kirsty de Wilde is the ESF Secondary Teaching and Learning Adviser with a focus on implementing the IB MYP in five ESF secondary schools. Prior to this, she has held roles such as Vice Principal, MYP Coordinator, Head of Year and IB English teacher. Complimenting this, she had responsibility for setting up the University of Bath Study Centre and an English Language Resource Centre while at the International School of the Hague, supporting students and fellow teachers alike. Kirsty has been an educator for 17 years and has worked within the MYP framework since 2001. She has taught in four continents and is passionate about learning and teaching.


Community Representative – Robert Guy Ramsay

South Island involved me in 2011 as a “Community Representative”, meaning without children at South Island (although our children attend other ESF Schools). It has been a privilege to work with the excellent South Island teachers and such enthusiastic students and parents. My term ends in 2017, as Councillors serve at most six years.

I encourage parents and students to contact myself or other Councillors. ESF has excellent traditions of welcoming fresh ideas and faces.

My own schooling was in Kuwait and England before home to Scotland for university. I have lived in wonderful Hong Kong for nearly three decades.

Mobile: 9683 1967

Community Representative – Edward Middleton

I am a qualified accountant by profession, and am a partner in the firm of KPMG in Hong Kong.  My wife and I have a daughter studying at the Canadian International School – but don’t be fooled; my wife is Thai and I am English. I come from teaching stock, my mother having been a teacher and, indeed, during my formative years was the founder of a successful school in England, the Leicester Grammar School. I am delighted to be serving on the Council.

Community Representative – Darryl Siu

Darryl Siu is a banker at one of the world’s leading international bank with a role in managing the electronic delivery channels for the bank.

After completing his secondary school education at South Island School, he went on to receive his BSc from the University of Southern California and subsequently, an MBA from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Darryl has fond memories of his time at Quarry Bay School and SIS and would like to give back to his alma mater by volunteering his services to the School Council.

PTA Chair – Karla Lee

Karla is heavily involved as volunteer and project organiser for numerous charities. Her son is a Year 9 student and he has been enrolled in ESF School since Year 1. Tim is an active rugby player and is very interested in filming. Karla and her family have been enjoying the pleasure being part of SIS community.

Parent Representative – Janet Walker

Parent Representative – Pia Wong

Pia Wong graduated from South Island School in 1994, after which she received her BA (Hons) in Philosophy at University College London and Post Graduate Certificate in Chinese language at The University of Hong Kong. After 15 years working in strategy, PR and marketing, Pia joined as Executive Director of family literacy charity Bring Me A Book Hong Kong in 2010 (where she continues to work) and completed the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program after being awarded a scholarship from the Andy Chua Trust.

Pia is driven by a deep desire to make a positive impact on society and to support the local communities in which her and her family are a part of, including South Island School where her eldest son started Year 7 in 2017.

Teacher Representative – Syrita Nicholas

Syrita Nicholas is a Upper school Psychology, Lower school Individuals and Society teacher and Leader of Individuals and Society Faculty and is the current Chair of the Staff Association.

She has been teaching for a total of 13 years but previous she worked with children (during further studies) as a Playgroup leader, respite support for Cambridge Social Services and Youth Worker. Before moving to Hong Kong she taught in a girls school in inner London and headed a growing Psychology department.

In 2008 when she moved to Hong Kong she came directly to South Island. Her  husband currently works at Sara Roe Jockey Club and her daughter is a student at Bradbury so ESF is very much part of her professional and personal life.

She has been a member/ lead various groups within school from ICT, AST, ALT, Leading international MaD Week trip, Co-ordinator of T&L internal CPD that focus on teaching and learning developments. She is also very keen to implement her coaching and well-being training and philosophy into leadership, teaching and personal life to support work life balance.

Teacher Representative – Neil Picknell

Neil Picknell is a Physical Education teacher and Head of Bahay House at South Island School. He has been teaching for 12 years and moved to Hong Kong in 2008 from St Pauls College in West Sussex, England. He has previous experience as an IT teacher and School Sports advisor to primary schools. He has coached many sports teams at South Island, led MaD and Sports trips abroad and has supported the schools links with outside charities and primary schools. His real passion is football, helping to coach many successful school teams in the HKSSF championship and ESF tournaments.

Teacher Representative – Ben James Edwards

Teacher at SIS of Individuals and Societies, Inter-Disciplinary, Global Perspectives, Personal Project and Soon IB Global Politics – my academic background, beyond teacher training, is in Anthropology and International Relations. Before coming to Hong Kong, I worked in overseas development aid with the Australian and Swedish governments as well as various INGO’s on educational and civil society projects in Laos and Nepal. My other interestes and responsibilities include environmental sustainability and coaching rugby at SIS and in my free time I enjoy hiking and reading historical fiction.

Student Representative – Austin Gigi 

Austin Gigi is our current Head Boy. Over the years at SIS, Austin has expressed his devotion to enriching the wider school community by being a member of the House leadership team and becoming one of its Heads of House Council. His passion for empowering the school’s student voice and global issues have led him to be the Head Organiser of the TEDxTSIS conference at SIS, as well as being one of the members of the head teams of student-led initiatives in Hong Kong giving him opportunities to interact with other schools and the local community. His interests in debating, public speaking and Model United Nations have allowed him to engage and become aware of contentious issues around the world. He has also represented the school in debating, MUN and cricket throughout his time at SIS.

Student Representative – Mahira Kumar 

Throughout her time at South Island, Mahira has displayed her passion for the written word as Head Editor for the school newspaper, South Island Express. She shares her love for the English language with the community through volunteering at various charities and teaching at local primary schools. Such experiences allowed her to help empower the youth and really integrate with the social fabric of Hong Kong’s society. She believes in the importance of effective communication and that behind every event or masterpiece, there is a story to tell – a unique narrative she wishes to shine a light on. From her time organising a TEDx style event for SIS40, she was able to help create an event that celebrated our school’s past, present and future. Currently, she is on the Head Team for The Innovation – a position that allows her to express the value and significance of art and design with the wider community. She has also represented the school in Model United Nations and had the opportunity to coach and play on the school Netball team.

School Committee Members

Parent Representative – Helen Donovan

Helen Donovan is a qualified accountant and has worked in various accounting firms in Hong Kong, China and Singapore.  She has two children, the elder one has recently joined South Island School.  Helen currently administers the philanthropy activities and scholarships of a family foundation.  Her husband Patrick works in an investment bank.  Rugby is deep-rooted in her family.  Both children play rugby.  Patrick is a director at Hong Kong Rugby Union.   Helen is also heavily involved in the local rugby ecosystem.

Page updated on 19 December 2017