Haileybury Schools, Tianjin, are two private schools sharing a campus – a compulsory curriculum Junior School (Years 1 - 9) called Tianjin Haileybury Elite School (THES), and Haileybury Senior School Tianjin (HSST) for the post-compulsory school years (10-12). We are located in Gaocun Village, about 50km from Beijing and 70km from downtown Tianjin, at the northern end of greater Tianjin’s Wuqing District.
Haileybury Schools, Tianjin, opened its doors in September 2013, and can be best considered a very close “sister school” to Haileybury, Melbourne, Australia. More than sharing some naming rights however, Tianjin campus draws very heavily on the rich and impressive history of Haileybury Melbourne, which itself was founded in 1892, and is now Australia’s largest school with 4 campuses in Melbourne, (Victoria, Australia) and a campus in Darwin (Northern Territory, Australia). This elite century-old school is widely praised for its advanced educational concepts and outstanding academic achievements and is a model of high-quality education in Australia. All that experience is available for the students at Tianjin Campus, as the VCE teachers here are regularly collaborating with their teaching colleagues in Australia; sharing strategies and resources, and attending conferences together. This ensures they remain at the pinnacle of best teaching practice. Tianjin Campus was not the first international venture of Haileybury Australia, and since their first offshore VCE partnership in 2002, they have many VCE partnerships in China, also the Philippines, Timor Leste, Vietnam and Vanuatu. But beyond the Australian shoreline, it would be fair to say that Tianjin Campus is its jewel, and makes the most significant contribution to enhancing Haileybury Australia’s reputation as a great world school.
Senior School: sending graduates to the world!
Senior students of HSST (Years 10-12) are taught by a mix of international teachers and bi-lingual national teachers. Lessons are taught in English, but bi-lingual teachers do have the advantage of explaining deeper concepts in Mandarin to ensure understanding. Apart from their study of Chinese (First Language), all of the textbooks and assessments are in English. Students follow an Australian curriculum from Year 10, and graduate with VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) which is administered by the VCAA (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, a statutory authority of the Victorian Government). They also qualify to receive the ATAR certificate (Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking certificate issued by VTAC, the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre for university enrolments). With government-endorsed VCE graduation, along with the ATAR certificate, the VCE graduate is a highly regarded student. These qualifications provide many wonderful opportunities for tertiary studies in the English-speaking world. Since the first VCE graduates in 2016, more than half of the graduates from Haileybury School Tianjin have been admitted to the top 100 world-ranked universities in the world. Haileybury's outstanding students can literally be found all over the world, in prestigious universities in Australia, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, and other countries.
Students will typically study a core of English (Alternative Language), Chinese First Language, at least one branch (of three) of mathematics, then choose two studies from additional mathematics, or Physics, Chemistry, Accounting, Business Studies*, Japanese (Second Language)* or Studio Arts*. About 60 different course combinations are possible allowing each student to focus on their strength and interests. At each end of lesson, students will move to their next class within the teaching building, and likely be joined by a different set of classmates, so whilst all students are assigned “Homerooms”, it is for pastoral care purposes, and does not define their program for the day.
Studies marked by an asterisk have their examinations in November (corresponding to the Australian academic calendar), but the majority of final examinations for the graduating class begin late May, with graduation in June (Chinese summertime) using the VCAA’s “Northern Hemisphere Timetable”.
HSST is a “laptop school”, which means the students bring their personal laptop to class and are being trained in the appropriate use of technology, have access to electronic textbooks (and the multi-media support they provide), can seamlessly access research, and in each of these ways are being prepared to be responsible and independent university students. Each student is individually assigned a “charging locker”, where they dock their computer overnight (or at lunchtime) for charging and security.
Defined by their Homerooms, each student is also part of a “House”, which provides many opportunities for sporting and cultural competitions, fostering friendly competition, but also opportunity for involvement, team spirit and togetherness, and leadership at a more personal level than, say, playing in an inter-school competition.
Junior School: a time of growth and development
THES (Tianjin Haileybury Elite School) has a Primary School (1-6) and a Middle School (7-9), approved by the Tianjin Municipal Education Authority. The curriculum meets the compulsory requirements of the relevant local education bureaus, and are supplemented with an extensive English program, along with other featured programs. Combining these with small class sizes, provides a high-end and diversified education experience for families with an international outlook. Our school aims to maximise the child’s academic ability, whilst fostering a love of learning through a growth mindset approach across the year levels. This of course is a continuous journey, developing characteristics such as integrity, respect and independence, balanced with collaboration, critical thinking, perseverance and resilience, whilst holding academic excellence and celebration of achievement as a priority. These qualities are needed in those that will be leading global citizens in the future, and students lay the foundations of this journey in Junior School and continue it into the Senior School.
Haileybury Schools Tianjin covers an area of about 50,000m2, (5 ha) and the building facades are in “old English” architectural style, dominated by two 6-story high towers. Internally, the classrooms are modern, with excellent 6G wifi, electronic whiteboards and numerous dedicated science laboratories, and specialized classrooms for art, music drama and dance. This aesthetic impresses many first time visitors, and provides the perfect backdrop for education excellence.
A boarding school
The vast majority of students are 5-day boarders, with a handful of “weekend boarders”, and an increasing number of “day students” from the local area. Dormitories are usually 3-4 sharing, and each dormitory is equipped with private bathroom facilities. In a typical week, boarding students arrive on shuttle buses late Sunday afternoon and depart on Friday afternoon at 3:30pm. As a boarding school the additional time is available for the sporting and cultural activities that round out a child’s education. Within the four dormitory buildings “life teachers” care for the students but also help even the youngest students develop a sense of achievement, resilience and independence in a caring atmosphere. Some “day students” will depart school just before dinner time, but many (particularly MS or SS students) will stay for “night study” or other special activities that have been organized after dinner.
Facilities and featured courses
Haileybury has the excellent sporting and performing arts facilities that would be expected in a high-end private school. These provide a platform for each student to develop in an all-round way, with a variety of special featured courses such as academic competitions, sports, art, science and technology, and life skills, etc. Interests and hobbies are selected to nurture the needs of students' individual growth. It is impossible to give them all due credit, but here is a brief introduction.
Sports In the sporting area we have an indoor six lane 25 metre, heated swimming pool, (ozone purification) for the compulsory swimming lessons for Primary School students (and activity lessons for older students). Learning to swim is a very Australian activity and our little tadpoles love it. Above the pool level is a full-sized indoor basketball court which is the main venue for our NBA Playzone Basketball partnership. Also inside the gymnasium complex is an exercise gymnasium, a training room and a “continuous climbing wall”, where the students will never be more than a metre from the mat, because as they climb the “wall” rotates towards them at their own pace! Outside, a 6-lane athletics track surrounds the artificial-turf football (soccer) pitch, which is the venue for training for the Juventus Football Academy classes that provides professional football coaching.Through our partnership with RebSport, activities such as indoor curling, and rugby are offered. There are a number of outdoor basketball and tennis courts, two golf driving nets and a nine-hole mini golf putting course. For the primary school students there is a soft-base adventure and climbing playground, with mini football and basketball courts.
The Arts Fostering the Performing Arts, the school has two dance / drama studios and dedicated music and arts studios. Our performing arts education partnership with the Creativo Centre provides for quality training of budding performers. Much of the practice will find its way onto the theatre stage, a beautiful, tiered seating auditorium that caters for 500 people.
STEM In 2021, Haileybury opened a dedicated STEM laboratory, equipped with computers, 3D printers, astronomical telescopes, programming material kits, scientific experiment kits and other equipment to challenge students to further develop their innovative and practical abilities in an integrated environment.
IELTS Whilst this internationally recognized language testing system is not required by VCE graduates for application to Australian universities, preparation for the test does provide essential training in listening, reading, writing and speaking that complements the core VCE English courses, so providing students further opportunity to apply for other overseas universities, and possibly migration. Recognising these advantages, Haileybury offers IELTS as a compulsory part of the Year 10 English curriculum. Year 11 students will also be given opportunity to study IELTS as an “activity class”.
Western and Chinese management
As “westerners” Haileybury very much appreciates the privilege to operate in this environment – particularly the post-compulsory years where we deliver the VCE curriculum to graduation. We have a balance between western and Chinese management, and remain very respectful of the local requirements. We closely follow the local academic calendar, and are compliant with all regulations. We have a commitment to supporting Chinese Culture, and many of our weekly customs, from Flag Raising and National Anthem on Monday mornings, to night study in the evenings are rooted in Chinese educational culture. What is locally called, an international school with Chinese characteristics, is something we strive to achieve, as this demonstrates the best balance in an international school.
A final word
Whilst we are naturally proud of our campus, Schools are more than buildings and facilities. Schools are made up of people; passionate staff and young minds ready to be motivated and inspired. The School motto is “Every student matters every day”, which is a statement of our commitment to pastoral care. Particularly as a boarding school, we are very mindful that parents are entrusting the school their most precious possessions for 5 days per week, 40 weeks per year, and we take that privilege seriously.
If you are an international teacher seeking an east-meets-west teaching experience, we invite you to send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org