Malvern College Tokyo Has an Eye on Excellence

The halls of Malvern College Tokyo (MCT), which opened the doors of its campus in Kodaira to students a little over a month ago, are bustling with activity—teachers are guiding young learners through lessons, sports coaches are inspiring children to give it their all on the field, and the school’s leadership team are ensuring that everything runs smoothly—inside and outside the classroom.

And the school has high standards to uphold. Since Malvern College was founded in 1865 in Malvern, England, it has been renowned for not only encouraging its students to excel in their classes but develop the personal characteristics that will serve them as they go on to university and flourish as adults. It does this by instilling its students with the key Malvern Qualities, which blend seamlessly with the values supported by the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, which MCT offers at the primary and secondary levels.

Curious to know more about the latest activity on campus, GoConnect spoke with three members of MCT’s leadership team— Ewan McCallum, Deputy Head & Head of Senior; Aidan Leach, IB Middle Years Programme Coordinator; and Jason Bentley, Head of Prep and IB Primary Years Programme Coordinator—to learn more about how the MCT approach aligns with their educational philosophies, the positive developments they’ve seen at the school already, and what they’re looking forward to in the future.

Excellence in Many Forms

Ewan McCallum, Deputy Head & Head of Senior

McCallum, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, has an academic background in history, a master’s degree in education, and an MBA. He has taught in schools in England, Washington DC, and Shanghai, and has also served as an educational consultant focusing on teacher education and curriculum in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

One of the things that he finds inspiring about MCT is its dedication to the IB curriculum, and its vibrant location: “I think [the IB] the best education for the very nebulous world that our pupils will inherit. And I think the idea of an international school in Tokyo, which is such a vibrant, dynamic city is wonderful. I think it encourages thinking that is out of the box and entrepreneurial. The blend of the education here, and the setting of this learning community is really exciting.”

He also feels that one of the hallmarks of a Malvern education will be that it will enable children to be excellent—in many senses of the word: “When I talk about excellence, I think any excellent school should enable their pupils to go to the world’s best universities. But there’s so much more to that story. We should allow them to do things that are excellent in many ways, whether it’s the arts, starting a business, or learning to become a pilot.”

Although McCallum arrived in Tokyo less than two months ago, he was busy for months planning curriculum and recruiting teachers. And even in the short time that MCT has been in session, he’s thrilled with the drive and dedication of the teaching staff they have assembled. “The team of teachers we have built here—their approach, their passion, their compassion, and their care for their pupils and for each other—is remarkable. The work they’ve done is remarkable.”

As the year progresses, he’s looking forward to seeing the curriculum adapt to the children, helping them get the most out of their education: “What I hope we can do is enrich and deepen what we do here every day—to be as excited and engaged and innovative as possible for our learning community.”

Encouragement and Support

Aidan Leach, MYP Coordinator

Leach began his career as a biology teacher in West London and has served in school leadership positions in both the UK and Japan that have included high achievement coordinator, middle school principal, and deputy head of school. In addition to degrees in sport and exercise science, he has a master’s degree in educational leadership. 

He was drawn to working at MCT because of the opportunities it presents to bring the best aspects of a British education to Japan. “I am very excited about working with pupils, parents, and colleagues to create and share a unique school that are reflective of Malvern College’s traditions and values with high academic standards, but also a school which respects and embraces the environment and culture of Japan, and works with the needs, interests, and talents of MCT pupils to give them all a meaningful, relevant, and successful education.”

While he is encouraged by the curiosity and intellectual rigor of his science students, what has most excited Leach so far is the way that the older children support their younger peers. “What has really impressed me, and it is something I have experienced for the first time in my 13-year teaching career, is how well our Foundation Year (lower secondary school) pupils interact with our younger prep (primary) pupils. This includes, for example, talking to them and reassuring them during quite long bus journeys to and from school, and encouraging and supporting younger pupils to eat more of their lunch every day, even though they are usually delicious!”

Looking forward, he hopes to create opportunities for MCT students to connect academic material with crises that societies around the world are facing. “One area I am really passionate about is linking what we have learned in class to wider, real issues or problems in society which most young people care about, such as photosynthesis and climate change or malnutrition and poverty. I believe this makes learning more authentic and helps to embed certain attitudes and actions in young people which will serve them and their communities well in the future.” With this in mind, Leach is connecting with organizations he has worked with in the past, including Second Harvest, Tokyo English Lifeline, and the Enoshima Aquarium, to arrange volunteering and fundraising experiences for pupils.

Building Wisdom and Confidence

Jason Bentley, Head of Prep and PYP Coordinator

Since graduating from university in 1997, Bentley has worked as a homeroom and specialist teacher for students ranging in age from three to 13 and has held leadership positions—such as PYP coordinator, assistant principal, and principal—at schools in England, Germany, and Norway. He has Certificate of International School Leadership from the Principals’ Training Center in London and Miami.

For him, the fit between MCT’s approach and his beliefs about education is a natural one. “The Malvern College Tokyo vision and Malvern Qualities strongly align with my experience and philosophy as a seasoned IB PYP educator and leader. Over my years in this role, I have witnessed the transformative power of nurturing students who embody these qualities. I know that what we are doing at MCT will have a positive and enduring impact on the lives of all young people who learn and grow with our school.”

The school year is still young, but Bentley is inspired by his fellow teachers and staff’s dedication to developing the curriculum and getting to know the students better. “Fresh perspectives and innovative ideas adorn our table every day, promoting a conscious environment of continuous improvement.  Our genuine concern for the well-being and success of our pupils is evident in every interaction. Teachers, and indeed all staff, take care to get to know each pupil as an individual, understanding their unique needs, challenges, and strengths.” 

And this is what he sees as central to the future of Malvern College Tokyo, and what it can offer its students. “The relationships we build with our pupils lay the foundations for their future success. By acknowledging each student’s individuality, we provide a tailored educational experience that addresses their specific requirements. This fosters a sense of self-worth and confidence, enabling them to navigate challenges with resilience. One day, our pupils will look back at their time with Malvern College Tokyo with great pride, just as they will look to the future with wisdom and with confidence.”


Recommended: Children Learn Valuable Financial Literacy Skills at Malvern College Tokyo, Social-Emotional Learning: A Key Component for Educating the Whole Child and The Heart of a Quality Education at Malvern College Tokyo

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