YCIS Pudong Partners with Glasgow Rangers

Written by: Damien Hehir, Co-Principal

During February, we were very proud to announce to the YCIS Pudong community that we have formed a new partnership with the Glasgow Rangers Football Club. Starting in April, YCIS Pudong will become the exclusive host school of the Rangers Academy in Shanghai.

Families who have been a part of the school community in recent years have seen YCIS Pudong make significant improvements to the sports programmes on offer. This has included putting in place a thriving swimming programme, building a competitive football programme for the Primary school, and opening up our campuses on Saturdays for our students and their families to join in a number of sporting activities. The school has been continually looking to grow our sports programme and the opportunities we provide for our students.

The Glasgow Rangers, commonly known as Rangers, are one of the oldest and most successful professional football clubs in the world. The club, currently managed by Steven Gerrard – who captained Liverpool and England – is one of the most recognisable names in the game.  Rangers have a record 54 Scottish League Championships, 33 Scottish Cup wins, 27 Scottish League Cup wins, one European Cup Winners’ Cup victory and three major European cup finals.

We were thrilled to welcome visitors from Glasgow Rangers to YCIS Pudong from February 19 – 21 so that the school and club could officially launch the programme. The Rangers Soccer Schools Manager, Gary Gibson came to Shanghai along with Ross Fawcett, a UEFA B licensed coach. Gary will continue to liaise with the school and provide support for the academy programme, and Ross will be the coach of the Rangers Academy.  Ross and Gary led coaching clinics in the PE classes from Years 3-10, ran a session with our Senior Boys and Girls, and met with parents at the ‘POP-In’ gathering. There were many opportunities for photos and autographs, and the students (and a number of staff) were very excited!

The YCIS Pudong Football Programme and Rangers Academy

Commencing in April, the Rangers Academy based at YCIS Pudong, Regency Park Campus, will offer coaching of the highest level to students from early years through Year 13. Their inclusive programme is overseen by UFEA B Licensed coaches and will give our students the chance to really progress in a thriving, motivating, and challenging environment. The Rangers Academy will be opened to the wider Shanghai community; however, YCIS families will be given priority placement and discounted fees. As the Rangers Academy Teams continue to develop, there will be matches arranged against other clubs in Shanghai, particularly at Century Park Campus where our football pitches will be developed over the summer.

YCIS Pudong students, parents, and coaches will also benefit from this partnership. As part of the arrangement, the coaches from the Rangers Academy will also be an integral part of our YCIS Pudong football teams as well. As our teams grow, the desire for more access to high quality coaching does too. The Rangers coaches will be working with our teams, and providing support and guidance to our YCIS teachers and parent coaches. We see this as an excellent opportunity for the entire YCIS community.

You can learn more about the Rangers Football Club at their official website.  Our current CCA provider, Multisport, will be working with us as part of this partnership and will share information with YCIS Pudong parents about how to sign up and join the academy very soon.

We look forward to commencing this incredible partnership, and to seeing not only our YCIS Pudong football teams continue to develop strongly as a result, but also to being able to provide new opportunities for our families who are looking for an elite football programme for their children beyond the school teams.

YCIS Pudong Students Help Care for Our Planet

The impacts of climate change and the awareness of the devastating effects that rubbish – particularly plastics – and pollution can have on our health, nature, and the oceans are becoming well known. However, there is still much work to be done, and for there to be a substantive change, great efforts need to be made by everyone — young and old.

Informing children from an early age about the importance of protecting our local, national, and global environments is extremely important. This is why the students at YCIS Pudong Primary recently took part in a school-wide Environmental Awareness Week to not only learn about this topic, but also to be equipped to inform others about how everyone’s individual choices are impactful and can affect plants, animals, ocean life, people, and more.


The week began with ‘Meat-Free Monday’, where students ate vegetarian options during their mealtimes. This was a great way of showing alternative diets to the students and helping them to learn more about the environmental impacts of meat production processes. The students enjoyed trying some new foods and appreciated being able to see how they could make choices that would benefit the planet.

During the week, one of the students’ efforts to raise awareness was through an incredible display – housed in the indoor courtyard at the Regency Park Campus – adorned with colourful animals and facts about the environment. The display also complimented the students’ UN Global Goals designs which are featured on the windows of the second floor of the Primary building. The Global Goals posters feature themes such as protecting the oceans, recycling, and building better cities. Although these were created before the Environmental Awareness Week, they demonstrate the students’ broader learning and understanding of this far-reaching topic.

The week culminated in a whole-school assembly, where the students gathered together to reflect on their learning, share their findings with their peers, and enjoy seeing everyone wearing incredibly creative home-made animal and environment-themed costumes that the students and their parents made for the event. Awards were handed out to recognise the creative costumes, and the week drew to a close with our Primary students having a greater understanding of what just one person can accomplish to make the planet a better and healthier place for all living things.

At YCIS Pudong, there are many opportunities for students of all ages to learn and do more when it comes to protecting the environment. Along with Environmental Awareness Week, there are subject-focused assignments and school-wide efforts that bolster students’ knowledge. In Secondary, one such example is the ‘Stop Single-Use Shanghai’ campaign, which began as an objective from the school’s Global Issues Network (GIN) Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) and is now overseen by students from another popular CCA, the Environmental Awareness Committee. The students have designed and hung posters around the school to raise awareness, have sold mugs to stop single use of tea/coffee cups, and are currently working on designs for an environmentally-friendly re-usable water bottle.

Another tremendous initiative has been the development of a portable eco-garden, something that was started from scratch at YCIS Pudong Primary and has been adapted by Secondary students from the Environmental Awareness Committee, who are hoping to develop a permanent eco-garden that can grow plants and utilise food waste to make organic compost. This work, again, represents a forward-thinking, collaborative, and caring mentality when it comes to sustainability and environmental awareness at YCIS Pudong.

Finally, the school is deeply committed to working with the Shanghai Roots and Shoots organisation on their ‘Million Tree Project’, which, as the name suggests, aims to plant millions of new trees in China. Not only have funds been raised at the school toward this great project, but YCIS students from Year 12 have also visited Inner Mongolia a number of times to assist in the planting of trees personally, and students will be going again in early March to help personally make a difference.

Students at YCIS learn from an early age that the future is theirs and the world is a beautiful and diverse place to live. The school provides students with much food for thought and aims to assist them in becoming globally-minded citizens, and having opportunities such as Environmental Awareness Week, to create their own initiatives that improve the lives and environment of others.  This fits perfectly with our school motto of “aligning with love and charity”.


Celebrating Community Through Photos

Written by: Amy Yang, Secondary Head of Chinese Department

In this Digital Age, the internet and social media have made photography an efficient and universal means of communication. We believe a good photo can easily and successfully help people deliver their message to the widest audience, regardless of age, language and cultural background.

In December, we launched our inaugural school-wide photo competition which was open to all YCIS Pudong staff, parents and Secondary students. The theme for this first photo competition was “Community”. The December holiday is a special season when people reunite with their families, friends, and the people they treasure. We wanted to see our school community members use photos to reflect their reunion experiences and stories with vitality and creativity. Consequently, the aim of this competition was to encourage people to explore their understandings of “Community”, so that we can share definitions of “School Community” together.


The competition lasted for one month. After the Christmas holiday, the school photo committee received around 70 photo entries from staff, parents and secondary students. Some made good use of light, some told good stories, and some enabled us to see communities from a new angle. All of them demonstrated a great sense of “Community”.

After consulting an external professional photographer and magazine editor, the name list of the Top 3 winners from each group was released before the Chinese New Year Holiday. We are pleased to congratulate the following Photo Competition winners:

Student Group – Top 3:

  • Ann – Y11
  • Hui Lim – Y8
  • Eli – Y9

Adult Group – Top 3:

  • Mr Perks – Teacher
  • Ruby Chen –Teacher
  • Nancy– Y6 Parent

All the winning photos were sold at the charity auction on the Chinese New Year Celebration Night held at Regency Park campus.

Meanwhile, a set of postcards titled “Community” was produced collecting all the Top 10 photos. They were named: “Dreams”, “Harmony”, “Home”, “Reflective”, “Faith”, “Together”, “Collective”, “Accompany”, “Retreat” and “Tradition”, with each photo providing a more rich and varied meaning of “Community”.

Many thanks to all the participants. Next year, we look forward to more people joining in and sharing beautiful moments and stories from their lives with us!

Year 7 Design & Technology Students Cook Up a Storm at YCIS Pudong Secondary


On Friday, February 22, Year 7 Design & Technology (D&T) students from YCIS Pudong Secondary took part in a fantastic interactive cooking workshop, which resulted in the production of an array of delicious food by the young aspiring chefs. Teachers and parent volunteers showed the eager students how to prepare and dish up around a dozen different recipes from cuisines across the world, including Chinese, Indian, Italian, and South American specialties.


The workshop tied to the students’ D&T classes, focusing on the five vital stages of production: planning, preparation, timing, manufacturing, and evaluation. Whether working on Resistant Materials, Electronics, Graphic Design, or Structure & Control projects, the students always start with a problem, research the topic, propose solutions, and make prototypes before they begin production. These same steps can be used for a Food Technology project. This was therefore an excellent opportunity for the students to manage the different stages of design and manufacturing in a potentially-new context, and to apply the theoretical knowledge they had learned in class into a practical process.


As in any food preparation process, before they began, the students had to ensure that all ingredients were present and ready to use, that everyone knew their roles, and that they were prepared to manage their cooking environments in a safe and hygienic manner at all times. Preparation included ensuring cleanliness of surfaces and equipment, washing hands frequently, separating raw meat from vegetables, and using equipment with sharp edges responsibly. Since timing is crucial in cooking, it can mean the difference between something being undercooked or burned — neither of which are desirable. Therefore, the students found that timing was of the utmost importance on the day. Finally, the manufacturing element began with the actual cooking. For the duration of the task, the students focused on precision and efficiency when following the recipes, as well as maintaining quality control, with the aim of producing food that looked aesthetically pleasing as well as being tasty.


The informative and practical session lasted throughout the morning, finishing just in time for lunch. The aroma of delicious, freshly-cooked food wafted through the school buildings, and suffice to say, all of the food was subsequently scoffed down by the hungry chefs and some teachers who had followed their noses to the D&T area! As is always the case at YCIS Pudong, the workshop provided the students with the opportunity to learn some vital skills and acted as a launchpad from which they can do some cooking at home, sharing their culinary delights with their families. Special thanks to the parent volunteers who took time out of their schedules to lead the workshop and impart their cooking knowledge.

When Worlds Collide…

Written by: Julie Greenall Secondary English Language and Literature Teacher

It was with some trepidation that our two Year 8 Mainstream English classes went to visit the K4 ECE children. Trepidation? Well, yes, because our Year 8 students weren’t sure what to expect: What would we talk about? How small are these little creatures? What if they hated us? Would they be scary?

Fears were soon assuaged. The students had a great visit! Lots of chat, lots of reading, lots of photos and even a few cookies. The 30-minute visit went by so quickly and the Year 8s can’t wait to visit again very soon.

This was the first stage of our Project Based Learning unit for which our students are creating a non-fiction book for K4 children. Educationally, this is all about learning to adapt language for different audiences. As well as creating this book, the Year 8s are also writing a blog post all about writing for small children, writing an email to the ECE Coordinators and writing a persuasive email to an imaginary literary editor. Each piece of writing requires different language skills, focusing specifically on what is the purpose of the writing and who is the audience.

Added to this is the challenge of working to the brief of producing the children’s book. What do you need to find out? How will you find out? You’ve met a problem. How will you solve it? Etc etc. Real-life skills, rather than total reliance on the teacher.

Visiting the K4s enabled us to meet our audience and find out what they were interested in. And some of the answers were quite surprising. We assumed we knew what sort of topics they would enjoy reading about, but apparently not; these readers are not going to be easy to please. We’ll return very soon with our completed books to see if they meet with approval!

Many thanks to ECE Coordinators Veronica Martin and Michelle Wang, and their wonderful team of K4 teachers.

Here’s what some of the Year 8s thought:

“I enjoyed talking with the K4 children; they were fun. They didn’t let me talk much; they kept interrupting!” Lin Kai Shen

“I learned that I have to re-think my book! I thought I knew what small children liked to read, but apparently I don’t!” Bryce Carey

“The children were very well behaved, but I don’t think they enjoyed the book I read to them. I now know that the book I create has to really grab their attention.” Yilin Chen

“I learned from the visit not to underestimate the little ones. Even though they are small, they can read books with a bunch of words in them.” Alan Fieller

“After the visit I decided I should add more pages because they read faster that I expected. I also should put some small pictures in the photos for them to find as they lose interest very quickly.” Shuyang Fei

“One little girl was really intelligent. I asked her a few questions and she could answer them quickly. It really made me feel great because she actually listened to everything I read to her.” Christy Chen

“I learned that the K4 students are really hard to entertain” Bethany Watson

YCIS Pudong’s 3rd Annual Summer Programmes Fair 

Written by: Timothy Gartz, MSW LCSW / University Guidance Counselor

On February 25, we held our 3rd annual YCIS Pudong Summer Programmes Fair at the Century Park campus. With over 30 organizations represented, the school community was given a great opportunity to learn from a wide-variety of Summer learning options right here in Shanghai and around the world. From Music, Film and the Arts to Language and Education, Sports, University Prep, Global Culture and Service Opportunities parents and students across Year 7-12 were able to actively engage with a wealth of knowledge shared by each of our Year 13 students and professional representatives.

For Mr. Gartz the organizer and host of the event It was a joy to see our students’ excitement, the energy that filled our hall and the transfer of ideas that were shared. While the offerings were extensive a few of the organizations stood out to our students. One Harmony Plus, offers IDEAL (Immersion Discovery Envision Action Leadership) that is a cutting edge, immersive course in the world of startups, technology, business, and innovation offered in collaboration between Stanford and UC Berkeley. While Immerse Education shared their prestigious programmes at the University of Cambridge and Hult International University’s Pre-UniX Summer Challenge sees young people come together, roll up their sleeves, and get hands-on experience in solving a global company’s challenge as creatively as possible in either Boston, London, or San Francisco.

Yet, you don’t need to travel overseas to participate. Summer Programmes and internships are offered right here at home in Shanghai including: Community Center Shanghai’s internships in Family Health and Psychology, short career focused courses at NYU Shanghai’s High School Academy, and Team Education’s College Application Camp CAC! and SAT intense revision and booster programs. Others also offer opportunities to gain confidence and personal skills in education and college prep including: Elite Education, KE Foundation, New Horizons and Princeton Review while Language classes and Sports camps are also available with Mandarin House, That’s Mandarin, Multisport and Children’s Boutique (Tennis).

We were appreciative of all who came and the outstanding presentations of our Year 13 students who brought a wider scope and breadth to the fair. Bobby Cheung Y13, shared his experience at Berklee College of Music, Shiqi Wang shared her experiences at Duke Summer Session, and Haochen Xu and Oliver Robinson shared their experiences with Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and Summer Discovery (UCLA) respectively. Other students shared ways to step outside the classroom and learn new skills and confidence with wonderful diversity from Rustic Pathways global trekking to Embry Riddle’s Aeronautical Flight School.

To drive home the impact of the fair a few of our students share their thoughts: 

For Rhena Gan in Year 9: “The fair was exciting and very interesting from Chinese, the Sciences, and Sports; there was such diversity in what we can do and participate in”.

In Year 11 Haley Chu: “I was happy to learn from Team Education Consultants about two summer programmes and the opportunity at Summer@Brown which I applied for. The representative was very knowledgeable and I learned that this programme is more independent than others offering an actual pre-college experience”.

For Nathan Wiltshire Y12: “The summer programme fair is really interesting because there were more options than I would have thought and the professionals there were very friendly. I was surprised to see the Football Rangers Club and MultiSport since I enjoy athletics so much”.

These are just a small collection of the various responses of our students and the impact the fair had on them. Mr. Gartz encourages students to discuss these options with their parents to take further advantage of what was offered. Such programmes can make a difference in academic success and university preparation, self-confidence, and global exposure.

Staff Focus: Andy Clapperton, YCIS Pudong Head of Learning

Written by: Roseline Yang, Community Liaison Officer

Andy Clapperton joined YCIS Pudong last August in the role of Head of Learning, a new position that seemed to have been designed for just this kind of person; able to settle quickly within our organization, bringing new ideas and enthusiasm. Right from the beginning, he organized a social event for staff to discover Shanghai’s French Concession on an “Amazing Race”. More recently, you might have seen him on stage at the Pudong 21 event.

Andy, I really like how you facilitated the discussion with the student panel at Pudong 21. It seemed like it was very natural for both you and the students to be on stage answering questions in front of a large audience.
Thank you! To be honest, the natural thing is to be nervous on stage being watched by so many people, and in particular an audience that is extremely invested in what you are saying. I suppose what makes it feel natural is practice, and at school our students get a great number of opportunities to give presentations, explaining and justifying their points of view, and also receiving feedback so they can improve. Articulating their perspectives in a thoughtful way is key to success in the IB Diploma, and it was wonderful to be able to work with students in Year 6 who are already building confidently towards this.

I know that you are the Head of Learning in the Secondary School. Can you tell me a bit more what your role consists of, since it is a completely new position?
A key part of the role is working with the Heads of Department in Secondary to oversee the curriculum, but I believe the job title ‘Head of Learning’ – as opposed to ‘Curriculum Coordinator’ – was deliberately chosen in order to broaden the focus. Learning isn’t about an end result, a test score. Learning is a journey of self-improvement through reflection and action. I am very keen for students, parents and teachers to keep the dialogue around this as a process, because if you get the reflection and the follow-up right, then the test score will sort itself out. You have to put the horse before the cart, if you like. So, the Head of Learning role is academic, but importantly it is also strategic.

That is why you are part of the team for the three-year strategic plan, right?
Yes, I am excited about Pudong 21. I think that it is an ambitious plan and it is fun to be part of. I am involved in a few of the different task forces, and I’m particularly enjoying the work we have been doing on developing Learning Communities. We are in the process of defining what learning means to us as a school and continuing to find effective ways to bring this to life. This has meant working with a whole range of people, and of course, learning a great deal myself!

Wow – a lot to take on! But I understand that this rhythm of work is not unknown to you from your background. Can you share a little bit about where you come from?
Yes, I suppose it’s fair to say I have always been keen to get stuck in! I have been in Shanghai for over 9 years now in various roles: Head of Department, Head of Years for IB, CAS Coordinator, and also running the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, of which I am a huge fan. I first arrived in China working in Beijing from 2003 to 2005, and I have taught different languages since then, though mainly Spanish. I did surprise a few students the other week when I helped out in a Chinese lesson!

I see you are like Janelle or Dora with multilingual skills! Where are you from and how did you learn these languages?
Actually, I grew up near Liverpool in the UK, but I always wanted to see more of the world. I took a gap year volunteering in Cuba when I was 18, and I chose to study Portuguese at university so I could go and spend time in Brazil, which was a wonderful experience. And if I’m honest, I started learning Chinese simply because I wanted to be capable of ordering all the amazing food that surrounded me when I moved to Beijing.

What do you think about YCIS? What brought you to our school? What do you like the most?
Professionally, I decided to move to YCIS for the great opportunity of this new position – I love taking on new challenges in life, and the prospect of being able to define the role was very exciting to me. In the interview process it was very apparent that the school is a supportive and close-knit community, both in the classroom and on a wider level. I had heard this from friends as well, and it has certainly not disappointed!

Ok, one last question: what do you like to do in your free time?
Travel and cycle. Preferably both at the same time!  When I was in China the first time I stumbled across a passion for biking when I was exploring southern Yunnan, and got this crazy idea into my head that I could cycle home to the UK when my contract in Beijing ran out. So that is exactly what I did, and I have been riding all over the world ever since. I love being in the outdoors, I love the diversity of cultures, and I love the fact that you get to see places at a relatively slow pace because you see so much more.

Ah, cycling – that makes sense now, as you led the biking activity during our Wellbeing Staff Retreat before Christmas. I know you have a website documenting your cycles – now I’m eager to read more! Check it out here: https://www.zi-xing.com/

YCIS Pudong Alumni: Jonathan Lau, Class of 2017

When his family relocated to Shanghai in 2007, Jonathan Lau and his twin brother, Samuel, started in the Primary programme at YCIS Pudong. Ten years later, the boys graduated, and Samuel went off to study International Management at Warwick University school in the UK, while Jonathan headed to Switzerland to study at the École Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL). We recently caught up with Jonathan to discuss moving abroad (again), his university studies, and how snowy Switzerland compares to Shanghai.

The École Hôtelière de Lausanne, the first and oldest hotel school in the world, is widely regarded as the best hospitality school across the globe. Can you tell us about your studies?
I am studying for a BSc in International Hospitality Management – a management course focused on the hospitality industry. I am currently in my second year and will graduate in 2021. I participate in daily classes in various management courses such as Financial Accounting & Analysis, and Micro & Macro Economics, but also more practical classes such as Human Behaviour & Performance, and Business Communications. My day-to-day studies also involve meetings with my classmates as there are many group projects in university.

What inspired you to study hotel management at EHL?
I decided to study international hospitality management when I discovered I had a passion for the hospitality industry when I was in High School at YCIS. In Year 11, as part of the Job Shadow Programme I was able to work at the Parkyard Hotel, and it was a terrific experience that cemented my interest in future studies and a career in this industry. As EHL offers an incredible hospitality management course, I was sure that continuing with my studies here would help prepare me to start a successful career in the industry.

How did your experience at YCIS help prepare you for university, both academically and beyond the academics?
The IB (International Baccalaureate) programme played a key part in preparing me academically as courses such as Business Management gave me a solid foundation of skills and knowledge. Beyond academics, I would say that participating in sports teams throughout my time at YCIS taught me how to stay committed and determined in achieving goals that I set for myself, and to continuously seek to challenge myself in joining new roles in my university, such as becoming a Student Ambassador and an Admissions Assistant for my school.

How did you find the transition from YCIS to university?
Adapting to student life on campus was actually quite easy as both YCIS and my university have diverse environments with students from all over the world.

The level of academic intensity was also not difficult to adapt to as the IB programme prepares you well for that.


How has your experience at YCIS helped you meet new challenges?
YCIS taught me how to adapt to new environments with an open mind. During my time at the school I was able to travel to many places through the Education Outside of the Classroom (EOTC) excursions, IB trips, and ACAMIS sports tournaments. For me, it is important to face challenges with an open outlook and see these as opportunities to learn and grow.

There are three times as many people living in Shanghai than there are in the entirety of Switzerland. Can you tell us what it was like to adjust to life in your new city?
There is a huge difference between the cities. The biggest difference would definitely be the lifestyle, as Swiss people really focus on family time and relaxing on weekends (you can see this because most shops and restaurants are closed on Sundays), whereas, Shanghai is one of the busiest and most vibrant cities on Earth. I would say that finding a good place to eat on a weekend takes much more effort in Switzerland!

In general, though, I adjusted to my new life in Lausanne quite naturally because the school environment wasn’t that different than what I experienced in high school at YCIS.

As part of my course, I also completed a six-month internship at The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto, and I had the chance to explore a new culture and immerse myself into the local lifestyle there for half a year, which I enjoyed very much. At first, adjusting to life there was harder as I was there alone, without my classmates and peers because we all chose different locations for our internships. I had to go to work alone, finish work alone, and spend my off-days alone in the beginning because I was new to the city and I basically knew nothing and no one. So, I had to adapt to being alone for the most part in the beginning because my colleagues couldn’t be with me all the time, unlike my friends in high school and college whom I get to see almost all day every day. However, in the end, it was the most amazing professional opportunity I have had so far, and I really enjoyed the experience.

As you finish your second year at EHL, what are you learning that you enjoy the most?
The class I enjoy the most is Human Behavior and Performance in University because I have the opportunity to learn how humans behave under certain conditions and how we can affect them, which is especially important as human talent is crucial in the hospitality industry.

What do you plan on doing after you graduate?
I am looking forward to starting my career in the hospitality industry as a Management Trainee.

What do you miss most about Shanghai?
I miss my friends and the food, of course! I also miss the student life I had at YCIS, especially being able to participate in ACAMIS tournaments and different activities with my friends. Fortunately, despite being in different cities, countries, or continents, I still keep in touch with many of my YCIS classmates who I have known for many years, including Ian, Davy, and Jerry.