We are pleased to announce that Brian Curd has been appointed to be our new Assistant Head of Junior High. A founding teacher at Huili, Brian's extensive experience as an IGCSE Social Studies teacher has made him a true asset to our team. His wealth of experience in academic leadership and pastoral care make him uniquely qualified for this position, and we are confident that he will prepare our Junior High pupils for success. Here he is in his own words.
01 What excites you most about taking on this new position? I look forward to the new challenge. At previous schools, my leadership experience was more connected to academics and teaching and learning. Since joining Huili, however, a lot of my leadership experience has been on the pastoral side, so I am most excited about combining these two important components.
Our school prides itself on its unique holistic education, and academics and pastoral care go hand in hand. Pupils perform better when they have a secure sense of their own wellbeing, when they are mentally and physically healthy and when they have strong social relationships. I am excited about helping to combine these two areas even further in my new role. 02 You are a Social Studies teacher. How does your subject help to foster greater cultural understanding in our pupils? A lot of the prejudice and stereotyping we see in the world comes from a lack of empathy and understanding. The ultimate goal of Social Studies education is to teach our pupils to cultivate empathy for others and to be curious about the wider world. It is part and parcel of Huili's mission to make our pupils not only active members of their local communities but also global citizens.
Our curriculum teaches pupils to be more inclusive, which is one of our school's core identities. Inclusivity not only breaks down cultural barriers, but also makes our pupils more open and able to adapt once they go to university or enter their careers. 03 What do you hope to achieve as our new Assistant Head of Junior High? I was previously a Housemaster, and I would like to build on the work I did in that capacity. This means working closely with the Housemasters, helping them to provide individualised care for all pupils and building our Huili community. This also dovetails with the academic side. I want to work with our department heads to make sure our highest achievers are being challenged enough, so they are performing at a high level when they advance to High School. At the same time, I want to make sure that those pupils who may be struggling get all the help and resources they need to catch up and be prepared for High School as well. 04 How does Junior High bridge the gap between Elementary and High School? Junior High is a time when pupils start to push themselves academically. Therefore, it is the time when they need to start forming good habits. At these grade levels, we try to help our pupils build the study and social habits that will help them succeed in High School. Junior High is also the time when our pupils begin to form their own identities, so it is also important that we help our pupils in this capacity. We want to give them a clear sense of purpose, so when they advance to High School, they are excited about learning and fully engaged in their education. 05 What goals are you setting for the this academic year? I want to make sure our Junior High curriculum is geared towards preparing pupils for IGCSE. Because this is a bilingual school, we have to meet national curriculum standards, which are already quite rigorous. This presents an added challenge for our pupils as IGCSE is a completely different curriculum, and I want to help students bridge that gap.
I also want to develop pupil leadership. This means encouraging our pupils to take on leadership positions, such as House Captain. and creating more opportunities for leadership within the school such as in sports teams, CCAs, and house committees. Moreover, I want pupils to realise that a person doesn’t need to be in a formal leadership position to be a leader. Leadership is not a formal title but a way of life, and it starts with being a role model who demonstrates grit and our Huili values. 06 You have a wealth of experience in IGCSE and in Junior High education. How will this experience help our pupils advance to High School? A lot of our Junior High teachers have extensive experience in IGCSE and IB, and this is by design. I am an IGCSE Social Studies teacher, for instance, and, because I have that experience, I know what it takes for pupils to get high IGCSE scores. I've been preparing pupils for their grade 10 exams since they were in grade 6; not by teaching to the test, but by ensuring they have proficiency in the skills that they will need to be successful, such as analysis, evaluation, and communication.
One of my goals in my new role is to make sure that departments are working closely together to make cross-curricular connections to support our students’ learning process and prepare them for life in High School. Also, knowing the pupils personally makes a big difference. I have taught every grade 7 and grade 8 pupil at Huili, which are the next two classes that will be advancing to High School. I know their potential, their strengths and abilities, their areas of development, their personalities and their social dynamics. This puts me in a unique position to support our pupils on an individual level.