Every school has a legacy that they are proud of. It is often that case that well-established schools that possess a long pedigree have learned how to offer a superior educational experience. Any educational institution that has had time to grow over 100 years has enjoyed a superior opportunity to acquire experience and insights into the components of superior education. Founded in 1903, Branksome Hall boasts a 117-year tradition in educating and shaping young girls to become independent and powerful learners and leaders.
The Jeju Special Self-Governing province is a special governing authority within South Korea. During the course of 2012, the Province was searching for globally prominent schools to become a part of Jeju’s Global Education City. Branksome Hall accepted the country’s invitation and in 2012 opened its only sister school in the world, Branksome Hall Asia. Branksome Hall and her sister school Branksome Hall Asia (BHA) share the same vision and mission and interact through yearly exchange programs. Since 2012, BHA has been building a great reputation as one of the top international schools for girls in the world, accomplishing monumental successes that include consistently strong university results. Ranking among the world’s best boarding institutions, this independent girls’ school is nestled on Jeju Island on a 94,955 m2 campus.
Envisioned to fashion a pre-eminent educational community of globally minded learners and leaders, BHA is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School that prides itself on its innovative education through its IB continuum programs. Students between 3 and 19 years of age progress through the PYP (Primary Years Program), MYP (Middle Years Program), and DP (Diploma Program). BHA is accredited by The Council of International Schools and the Western Association of Colleges and Schools, and within 8 months of its inception was certified for all IB programs that it currently offers. “With IB at the heart of our three educational programs we challenge our students to focus on identifying problems of the real world and how to address them through many different forms of solutions including design, collaboration, and debate,” says Dr. Cinde Lock, Principal, Branksome Hall Asia.
Today, BHA offers a boarding program between Grades 6 and 12. Each boarding student is placed in one of the four boarding houses and these facilities are modern and aesthetically pleasing. The school’s well-trained staff is always present to support each girl. Every boarding student is assigned to a group of 10 girls and is counselled by one member of the staff. Teacher Dons live on campus to provide support at all times. Each boarding student can benefit from BHA’s boarding programs including supervised study halls, in-house activities, outdoor activities, open swimming in the Olympic-size swimming pool, design studio, library, indoor gym, and art studio. The students are provided apt academic support by their don and qualified teachers. The students are provided with social counselling as appropriate.
A CASE of SPICE
BHA offers a unique after school program, dubbed CASE. CASE stands for Creativity, Activity, Service Learning, and Enrichment. The program aims at providing learning and experiential opportunities (both inside and outside of the classroom) for students across a range of disciplines. The depth of this program is considerable, as130 programs per term are included in the four areas. The school is focussed on nurturing leaders of the future and this focus is accentuated through the school’s SPICE, which is BHA’s unique program differentiators.
SPICE stands for S – Service Learning, P – Pathways of Opportunity, I – Innovation, C – Culture of Care, E – Empowerment. “Our SPICE commitment sets BHA apart from other institutions. The nurturing of academic excellence, paired with the school’s commitment to the personal growth of each student, provides girls with unlimited opportunities to follow their passions and dreams in order to make a better world. Girls who graduate from BHA become tomorrow’s most influential female leaders,” explains Dr. Lock.
Encouraging the students to tap into their creative repository and foster innovation, BHA offers a Design Program that utilizes the design cycle to foster the solving of real-life design problems with feedback from teachers and professionals. This student-centred methodology helps them successfully transition into university and beyond. In Grade 10, students can choose to take Digital Design or Product Design or choose both courses. Design is integrated across the MYP Curriculum and plays a key role in interdisciplinary units across the MYP. Students also apply the design cycle to solve problems in various subject areas. This learning process involves students researching projects and interacting directly with professionals (that include engineers and doctors) in real-life contexts to design, refine, and test the products of student work. “We gently push our children to step out of their comfort zones.
For instance, game designers often look for new ways to adapt existing games to create new experiences for players. One way to accomplish this is to use technology to improve or enhance the game experience. Grade 6 students undergoing the Physical Computing unit will have the opportunity to use physical computing to improve an existing game that will be shared within the school community,” adds the Principal. The school also uses various methods to bolster the student’s learning experience via design thinking, learning technology, design tech, Makerspace, STEM-V, and technological enhancers such as cutting-edge facilities in design tech and adapt tech skill sets such as coding, product design, 3D printers.
BHA’s Interdisciplinary Units
BHA houses several interdisciplinary units (IDUs) that are implemented in Grades 6-10. These units are developed by referencing two or more disciplines (subject areas) that are combined to approach a problem, where students are collaboratively challenged to either solve a problem, explain a phenomenon, create a product, or raise a new question that would have been unlikely to be achieved through investigation of one discipline. These units are incredible opportunities for students to collaboratively engage in critical thinking about several issues. Through an IB education at BHA, students can find their real passion and interests. The identification of their individual interests and passions ensures success in their chosen university pathway, happiness in their future careers and creates inspiring, global citizens. Being an IB-centered place of learning, BHA holds to extremely high standards when hiring qualified teachers. “Holding a Teaching certificate is, of course, mandatory, and they need to be IB certified and trained. We have a rigorous training program once hired through PD (Professional Development) policy so that teachers can grow as they educate leaders of the future. We also offer a competitive package to add more reasons to join our great community,” comments the Principal.
BHA has enjoyed several significant achievements. Among these are those related to the accomplishments of our IB graduates. About 96% achieve the IB Bilingual Diploma (compared to the 23% world average) and most BHA students achieve the IB Diploma. Additionally, BHA students have won the Boston Science award and Korea Talent Award apart from winning several other National Speech Contests and numerous sports competitions (KISAC, JISAC). BHA students identify and solve problems in real-life situations. According to the IB Learner Profile, the school fosters well-rounded education based on inquiry, to tackle real-world problems. Through their time at Branksome Hall Asia, the students are empowered to find their voice and vocalize their opinions and thoughts, and they are ready to take on real-world issues and are not afraid to initiate and lead changes to shape a better world.
“We are also proud to announce that Branksome Hall Asia is the only IB Continuum School in Jeju that won the International School Award 2020 for supporting students as future thinking innovators,” commented the proud Principal. Looking Ahead, BHA intends to continue empowering women by being a leading IB Girls International World school. The school also plans to continue with its International Merit Scholarship for non-Korean students and to offer its Annual Service Fair. A top-shelf international school with a sterling legacy, Branksome Hall Asia has been blessed with more than a decade’s worth of experience and brilliance. The school understands the importance of this pedigree perfectly well and is on its way to set milestones and continue as a beacon of excellent education.
The Principal (Head of School) at Branksome Hall Asia. Dr. Lock has been a teacher and administrator in Canada, and in International Schools in Trinidad, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Korea. Dr. Lock holds a Doctorate Degree with a speciality in curriculum and assessment. With 28 years of experience in education and a Ph.D. in Education and Mathematics from Queen’s University, Dr. Lock remains passionate about students and their learning.