Why are more and more elc parents considering Tenby?

December 8, 2008 at 4:08 pm 10 comments

With positive reviews about Tenby, more and more elc parents have made the decision to move their children from elc to Tenby.  And many more are considering. Why is that so when Tenby is only 3 months old?

If you read the comments from an ex-elc parent on thig blog,  you can  begin to appreciate why.  When all  teachers at Tenby are given laptops and access to internet and interactive whiteboards, and parents are given guided tours to all facilties at Tenby, we have justification to ask if elc is providing value for money.    

Contrast that with elc parents who have no forum for proper interchange of ideas and views with elc,  who discover that elc does not supply sports equipment or spends RM1600 on music  equipment in 2007, who are dissatified with state of the library, whose voices of discontent are treated with contempt, who are confronted with a take or leave it option. 

 We have never been told what Mrs Kaloo”s benchmark is for the “highest international standards”   that she says she is delivering us.  Is it an internationally recognised benchmark?  

Mrs Kaloo must be given the chance to explain. I will propose to Mrs Kaloo that she organise an urgent forum with elc parents to first explain and show to parents how elc is in truth providing all around education and secondly which recognised benchmark she is using when representing to us repeatedly that elc is providing all round education of  the highest international standards.   

I hope we can meet at this forum.

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elc “all round education” and money Mrs Kaloo’s report card

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stephan & Susie Gnagi  |  December 14, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Why we Left elc International School
    Two of our three children haven been at elc for an extended period of time. The elder one for nine years, the younger one for 7 years. The youngest one has only started classes earlier this term.
    For a number of reasons, we decided to withdraw our two elder children from elc before the notice period and move them to another international school in Kuala Lumpur. We left our youngest child there thinking that she had a nice teacher (she left in the meantime); plus we live just opposite the school. We only put a brief summary together for the readers of the elc Blog of our recent observations, as some have eventually experienced similar issues with the school.
    The main reason for our decision to withdraw our children is based on the secondary section, where we observed that the academic level is not at par with what should be expecting from an international school. We expect elc to educate our children to be able to continue their studies anywhere in the world at international level when families relocate, and to be academically and socially prepared to further their studies overseas. Furthermore, our decision to withdraw is based on personal experiences with the handling of disciplinary matters which were not in compliance with the school’s handbook, and the reluctance from the school to look into these grievances
    Over the past one year, we observed a significant decline in the performance of our son academically and socially, but it did not appear to the teachers that it was necessary to speak to us as parents and together look for solutions to solve these problems.
    Our son became more angry by the day. It showed in his behavior and the lies he told us. He was calling out for help. We tried in many ways to help; we even sent him to see a therapist who asked us to take him out of elc. Finally, as events unfolded and he saw that he could speak to us openly without being blamed, he started telling us about events that happened at school.
    As a private school and with the number of students per class, we would expect that the teachers actively monitor the progress of a child, as parents are possibly not always aware of the situation, as the child might not tell them the true facts of his/her performance and challenges.
    However, the more serious concern we have had with the school was related to the handling of disciplinary issues. A number of incidents took place where our son on his own, or together with others, was disciplined in various ways and even sent to detention for rather trivial matters. The Head of Discipline in the secondary section categorically refused to talk to us, and rather explained herself in lengthy emails. When you read these emails, you will realize that it is not worth reasoning with this defensive person any longer.
    After we had withdrawn our children from school, and on the very last day for them at elc, the extent of the school’s irresponsible approach towards discipline became even more obvious to us. Both children brought elc PE t-shirts to school to have their friends sign them as momento. As it appears, such practice is no longer allowed, despite the fact that the t-shirts belong to us and not the school. The teacher in the primary section explained this to our daughter and offered a practical solution to her, and she went to buy a Manila card board from the bookshop, to get her friends signatures and farewell wishes.
    In secondary section however, after friends and teachers (this proofs that neither the teachers are aware of such new regulation) signed the t-shirt, our son was humiliated in class by the Head of Discipline and taken to the Principal’s office. He was pulled and pushed down the stairs by her. This was witnessed by quite a number of children and teachers. Some of the comments made to our son by the Head of Discipline and the Principal we had heard before, and were not new to us. One that caught us off guard was that the principal told our son that ‘ as far as she is concerned, the Gnagi’s don’t exist then told to get our of her office.’ But given the fact that it was the very last day of school before the holidays and the very last day for him at elc, it was the very last chance for the school to punish him, with reason or not. For a couple of months, numerous incidents gave us the impression that our son was singled out and that for the smallest reason would be openly punished.
    Following this incident, we request to meet with Mrs Kaloo, and when the administration confirmed her availability to meet with us, the meeting itself took barely 5 minutes. There was no interest from her side to understand the situation, neither an offer to look into the matter, or even a sign of regret and apology. As commonly practiced, adults shake hands when meeting and when leaving, but customary courtesy seems not to be known to Mrs Kaloo. It was for both my wife and I the most unpleasant last interaction with the Principal of the school we have entrusted for nine years to educate our children, for which we have spent a significant amount. During this meeting, we wrote to withdraw our third and last child at elc. The very next day, we received an email from the school accepting the withdrawal and the cheque was ready the very same day.
    The above is a brief summary. Our conclusion is that the school takes no interest to go towards the parents to achieve the best for the children. The distrust between the school and the parents have to be resolved and the school has to be sufficiently objective to measure its own standards and performance.
    Stephan & Susie Gnaegi

    Reply
  • 2. michael and fabiana chow  |  February 18, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Our 3 daughters have completed one term in Tenby and we feel the need to update the blog readers about our experience in the new school.

    We received the report card of the first term. We were so pleased. The teachers did a great job in getting to know the students they have been working with. The profiles of our girls were so detailed and accurate. The focus was clearly on the student as an individual. The comments they made about them were deep and obviously thought through.

    For example, we were told at the beginning of the term that one of them needed in particular to improve on her math and in general build her confidence as that would consequentially bring about better academic results. Her teacher discussed with us her action plan (she had an action plan for our daughter’s confidence!!!) and gave us constant update during the term. We were working together with her, informing her of our achievements. At the end of the term, we heard from our girl that she loves math and the teacher told us that her results improved tremendously.

    We left elc with another of our daughters hating math and thinking that she was not cut for that. In her mind her elc class was divided in two groups – ”the clever ones” and the “not so clever ones”, “those who bring their brains to school“ and “those who leave their brains at home“. She thought she belonged to the second category. Her report cards in elc showed her relatively poor results in that subject.

    We were surprised to see instead in Tenby’s report card her results in math. We went to talk to the teacher trying to understand more. He is so pleased about her. He said she is one of the best in class, participative and interested. In Tenby, they also use a peer mentoring system, whereby the students who perform better are asked to help their fellow mates who struggle a bit. In our view, this is a great approach, it builds cooperation, team work, social awareness, compassion and makes learning a fun moment. Well, considering her achievement in math, she has been asked to mentor a classmate. What a jump!

    The after school activities list for the second term was also an amazing surprise. Activities were divided in groups according to different areas, ie. sports, games, societies, clubs, art, drama and so on. We had a selection of about 20 and the paid ones were very few and not necessarily the most enriching. Kids were asked to select a total of 2 activities from the different areas.

    Students run their newspapers, now open also to primary. Parents are also updated with newsletters from the management every 2 weeks sent via emails. In fact this is how we learnt about the employment of new teachers. Their qualifications and professional experience are fully set out. There is even a students’ council to liaise with the school!!

    Our girls still miss their friends in elc very much, and as parents, of course, we always wonder whether we are doing the right thing for them. But as we see it now it is clear to us where their happiness and serenity lie.

    Reply
  • 3. Communication from the Principal  |  February 19, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    This letter (from Michael and Fabiana Chow) and indeed a trip to theTenby International School website has, for me, highlighted something that is sorely lacking in elc International School, and that is a communication between the principal and parents. At Tenby, the principal, through the website, writes to the parents at least once a month, if not more often, to update parents on latest events, ECA issues, policies and anything else of interest or necessity to the parents. These newsletters are open to the eyes of the world public so you can imagine that there is nothing hidden. The school is quite obviously run wiith a policy of openness and honesty.
    At elc, however, although we are nearly half-way through term two we, as parents, are yet to have any correspondence from the principal herself; not even the usual “welcome back” letter that usually comes after a long school break such as the christmas holidays. The “elcecho.com” website has been set up already which is the perfect base for communicating such correspondence but yet has not, to date, been utilised for such a purpose.
    It makes one wonder why it is that the principal does not see fit to begin and maintain a channel for openness and communication between herself and the parents since the means already exists for her to do so. Here’s hoping that the principal can take a leaf out of her competitor’s book and emulate the process put in place by Tenby of openness and honesty and start communicating with parents on a regular basis through the “elcecho.com” website.

    Reply
  • 4. michael and fabiana chow  |  March 8, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    This week our Year3 and Year 5 daughters came back from school and told us they were running to be Student Councillors.
    We welcome the idea, it teaches the children that they have a role in whatever society they belong to and therefore they also have a say, no matter how young they are. School is their society. A truly international spirit! Their opinion matters to the school and the students are encouraged to share their thoughts.
    In order to be voted they were asked to prepare a speech before their fellow mates and teachers. They were given guidelines for the Student Councillors Nomination speech which we would like to share here.
    “The speech should include the following:
    Introduce yourself…
    • Who you are
    • Why do you want to be a school councillor?
    • How would you get ideas for improving the school from the children in your class?
    • What skills do you have that would help you do the job of a school councillor?
    • Why is Tenby School important to you?
    Talk about an issue….
    (here are some ideas: improving playtime; recycling things; improving the look of the school; improving lessons – or choose one of your own which improves something for students in school)
    • Introduce what you want to talk about
    • State why you have chosen this topic
    • What is wrong with this topic / issue you have chosen?
    • What would you like to change or do differently?
    • How would your ideas for change improve things for the children in Tenby School? Why?
    ……”
    We were so amazed by the content of these guidelines. Students, even so young, are encouraged to have their own opinion, to forward constructive criticism, to speak up for what they feel it is right, to be independent thinkers and especially to have a participative role in their societies and being proud of that.
    Our girls prepared their speeches, in a power point presentation which they downloaded in their thumb drives and presented to the school. Their speeches included among the rest …”I will not be scared of having my opinion and sharing it. I will listen to other students’ opinions with respect…..”
    Tenby is really turning our children into open minded, international and responsible citizens, and all this only in one term and a half!

    Reply
  • 5. michael and fabiana chow  |  March 19, 2009 at 1:23 am

    As Tenby school started the basketball court was equipped with only two posts. By the second term, the court had been covered and fenced. Students don’t waste time chasing balls anymore. There are 10 fixed posts now, 4 of which at a lower height, additional 2 movable and adjustable height posts (kind of the ones the elc Parents Association purchased for elc primary students and gave to PE department to use in 2006) and extra 4 posts in the indoor gymnasium. We had the chance to witness a basketball training in Tenby. There were 42 kids, each with a ball!

    Reply
  • 6. fabiana chow  |  March 29, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    ERRATA:
    In 2006 the elc PA did not purchase 2 movable and adjustable height basketball posts although it considered and sought quotations as there was none for primary students to use.

    The PA instead bought the t-ball set, as also in this case, there was none available in school for the students. T-ball is one of the major primary fobissea competitions.

    Reply
    • 7. fabiana chow  |  April 27, 2009 at 11:01 am

      In September 2009, Ms Jayne Moore (previous head of elc Art Dep) will be joining Tenby International School as Head of the Art Department!!! That’s where the good teachers are going!

      Reply
  • 8. Stephan & Susie Gnagi  |  April 4, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    It has been one term since we left elc International School and our children have made very positive progress at Tenby International School.

    We mentioned in our earlier posting that the reason we left elc was because of the difficulties we experienced with our son. In a short time, his attitude has changed and his academic performance has improved tremendously. His homeroom teacher describes him as “respectful, co-operative, punctual and he takes an active role in class participation”. It has been a long time since he is so excited to share with us about his day at school. Finally, he has nothing to hide from us.

    As for our daughter in Year 5, her performance at school has been very good. Her homeroom teacher says, “She has made good progress this term. She is a pleasant and well motivated pupil who shows a keen interest in working independently, in pairs, in small groups and whole class situations.” She has also become more a confident child.

    Our daughter in Early Years has also in this term learnt to read and her mathematical skills have improved. We noticed that she gives both her class teachers a hug at the end of her school day. This shows us how much she appreciates them.

    Tenby International has so far provided our children with very positive environment and it shows in their performance. It took our children a while to realize that they can speak up for themselves.

    All our children have made new friends at their new school. However, they still miss their friends from elc very much.

    Reply
  • 9. michael and fabiana chow  |  May 16, 2009 at 1:27 am

    Our children have been practicing artistic gymnastics for the past 6 years or more. For the past three years, our eldest, Martina, had been asked by her coach to participate in competitions to start agonistic gymnastics. Unfortunately, she could never participate because elc international school has not registered with MSSS (Majilis Sukan Sekolah-Sekolah Selangor).
    All schools register, government, private and international schools for a cost of RM2 per student. Registration to such council would allow all children of the school to participate in all sports competitions, individually and as a team, regardless of whether the training takes place in the school or not. In fact, selection to national teams for all kinds of sports disciplines follow the “school route”. Young athletes participate in inter-schools competitions, the best are selected to be part of the state teams, state teams compete among each other and the national team gets then formed.
    Sport competitions are a fantastic ground for moulding children’s character. They learn about fair competition and competitiveness, they learn about aspiring, working hard for reaching their goals and achieving them. They learn about coping with failures and shaking hands with the winner, accepting other people’s success. They learn to evaluate themselves and assess their performance. They learn positive values in a positive environment.
    Tenby, on the contrary, registered with MSSS within the first few months of activity. The gymnastic coach approached the school, the school immediately took action, compiled forms and got in contact with us. The general feeling of this experience was very positive. The phone calls we received from the school were very polite and obliging…we had the feeling that we were doing them a favour to sign those papers …and not the other way round, that they would give our daughter, finally, a chance to compete.
    Martina finally took part in her first competition and brought her first medal back home and to school. Here we are now thinking of the competitions she had missed out in the past, the exposure she would have gained if she had joined agonistic gymnastics when she was asked. Luckly we changed school in time for her to join the real competitions of under 15.

    Reply
    • 10. Mom  |  May 16, 2009 at 4:11 am

      Dear Michael and Fabiana,
      1.Margaret once gave a speech in which she said that it would be great to have international schools in Malaysia become part of the local school community or events. How better to do this than to get elc international, pay the RM2.00 per child fee to MSSM to register the school and be part of it?
      2. My son, Michael is a MSSM medal prospect but cannot take part in MSSM because of elc’s continued refusal to register. So he loses out again.
      3. I spoke to Mr Notaras who said he could not do anything about it. He said he had already referred it to Margaret’s daughter Asha.
      4. I spoke directly to Asha. She said that MSSM was making it difficult for them to register. That is bull as evident from Tenby’s registration. Yes, maybe for Asha RM2.00 per child is difficult. but does she expect MSSM to make it free just for elc?
      5 Asha looks the every bit of a person who has not and does not take part in sports. That is her prerogative. But when you are given the power to make such vital decisions for a school such as participation in MSSM, she needs to know that sports is a vital component of a child’s education. Then again, we cannot blame Asha as she is not qualified to run a school. She is a trained chef. Her business would be F & B not schools.

      Reply

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