Master’s Letter | LT2024 | Week 11

Dear Parents


I am struggling to comprehend how we have reached the end of another term at MCM already. Time has certainly flown by, but so much has been achieved this term: Concerts and sports tournaments, theatre trips and shows, themed days and field trips, an exchange with MCUK, a triathlon, Marlborough Miles, Outreach, Mock Exams, FoMCM events etc. etc. etc. – the list goes on. I wanted to express a heartfelt thanks to all the beaks, support staff and parents that have made all these things happen this term. Marlborough College Malaysia is so much more than a school – and it is the combined efforts of the whole community that keep it a buzz with all these amazing activities.


As we pack away classrooms for the holidays, we are already getting ready for the summer term. Not only is iGCSE and IB preparation in full flow, but we are looking forward to having the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) visit us to carry out a British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspection. This inspection is focused on making sure that our practice and policies have the best possible impact on your children. If all goes as planned, in addition to ensuring we continually improve our provision for pupils, it enables us to offer a wider range of opportunities for professional development; making us even more attractive for first-class staff. The Lead Inspector will be visiting twice next term. Once on his own as a preliminary visit and the second time with the complete team. Before that, he will be sending out a survey for pupils and families to complete. The pupils from Year 5 to Lower Sixth will complete their survey in school. We are alerting you to this now as the turnaround to complete the survey is quite tight. We expect the link to be sent to you on Monday 15th April when we return after the holidays. The completed surveys need to be submitted by Friday 19th April. Please note that the surveys will be confidential, and will be returned direct to the Lead Inspector. As always, please don’t leave it till the survey if you have concerns and we could improve the educational journey for your children. You want the best for them; and so do we.


Today I was able to introduce the Senior School to its new set of prefects and heads of houses, as our Upper Sixth move away from these responsibilities to focus on their IB examinations. I have worked in many schools, and they all have prefects, or pupil councils, or student committees – but, genuinely, I have never worked in a school where the prefects have such a real and positive impact on the culture, atmosphere and running of the school. This outgoing team of prefects are all about actions, not words – and have facilitated numerous positive changes within the College. 


Sixth form girls will have trousers as part of their uniform next academic session, boarders have a revamped chapel, in the form of Connect and Connect Unplugged, how we can make the best use of Saturday mornings has been a heated topic of discussion within the Senior School leadership Team, and wellbeing sessions and assemblies on racism were a significant pastoral focus in the Michalemas term. The prefects help the College run smoothly, they are our ‘pupils-eye-view’, and they have had a positive influence on everything from spirituality, food and wellbeing, to sport, the Arts and the library. They even spend time with our Prep School Pengawas – helping to develop our school leaders of the future. Their influence and the change that they have facilitated is quite significant. Equally, our Heads of Houses. They are perhaps the unsung heroes and perhaps do not always get the recognition and credit they deserve. They are the heartbeat of their houses, and are required to be positive all of the time. When they lose a house competition, it is their job to lift spirits and ensure defeat is taken humbly and respectfully. They lead assemblies, set the tone, rally the troops and nurture a sense of belonging. 


Our prefects and heads of houses have been outstanding, they will be missed, and I want to thank them all for their positive influence and service to MCM. 


As you will be aware, from August 2024, Rachel Eaton-Jones will move into the position of Second Master and I am very pleased to share with everyone that we have appointed Mr Christopher Wilson to replace Rachel Eaton-Jones as Head of Prep from August 2024. Mr Wilson is currently the head at Town Close School in Norwich, UK, and previously Lockers Park School, Hertfordshire, UK. He has also previously been a housemaster and teacher of Maths. Chris will be coming out to Malaysia with his wife and two daughters aged 12 and 9. His wife, Hayley, is a trained dance and ballet teacher. He is also a keen sportsman – Rugby, Hockey, Golf, Cricket, Squash. A full, professional, biog can be accessed here.


It is with a great deal of sadness that Jacqui Lowden, our Director of Admissions, External Relations and Development, will be leaving Marlborough College Malaysia at the end of this academic session, to return to the UK. Jacqui has been instrumental in facilitating our growth out of the pandemic, and plotting us firmly on a positive trajectory. The College is in a very healthy position today thanks, in no small measure, to the great work that Jacqui has undertaken with her team. She will be missed by many, including myself, but particularly by those in the Marketing and Admissions department. Paul, Jacqui’s husband, has also been a huge asset to our Barton Farm, giving of his time freely, and making sure pupils get the most out of this amazing resource. He has also been involved in ‘A Play in a Day’ and English Language workshops. Of course, we wish them the very best for whatever the future holds for them and, in the summer term, we will find the time to say a proper farewell.


However, I am pleased to say that Jacqui Lowden will be replaced by Suzannah Denness, who has been appointed as our new Director of Marketing and Admissions. Suzannah is currently the Director of External Relations at King Edward’s School, Witley, and previously the Director of Marketing Services at the French International School in Hong Kong. Again, a fuller biog can be accessed here.


These are two significant appointments, and we look forward to welcoming Chris and Suzannah, and their families, into the Marlborough community, in due course.


Finally, I wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday – good luck to our Hundred and Upper Sixth who will be head-down – I hope – preparing for their exams. We are thinking of you. And for those of you that are enjoying Ramadan at this time… Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri! …when the time comes.


With best wishes,

Mr Simon Burbury

Master of Marlborough College Malaysia


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