It is my privilege to be the first Executive Headmaster of YK Pao School. Since my arrival in China in 2012, this School has been on my radar. All educators with any grounding in the changing face of Chinese education will, like me, have been noting the meteoric rise of Pao School with interest. It is no coincidence that nearly all the major school groups working in China today are now seeking to emulate the vision of Pao School's Founders and establish institutions for PRC citizens that prepare them for the international marketplace and gain them entry into globally recognized schools and universities.
I began work at Pao School in January 2017 and have already witnessed an array of amazing occasions: the celebration of Pao School's first Graduating Class; the first set of IB results being received (a highly creditable Average Point Score of 34, with a 96% pass rate); the first cohort of students heading to top US and UK universities (including to three Ivy League colleges and to Oxford); and the School's first major international accreditations by CIS (the Council for International Schools), and WASC (the US's Western Association of Schools and Colleges). I've been amazed at Pao School's ability to fill the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall and to produce such beautiful music involving some 500 students. I've revelled in school drama productions – four alone in the last week of the summer term at Songjiang. This is a School that delivers and a School that really does want to change the world.
Its Founders are visionaries. They have a clear view of what education can bring to China and have tirelessly set out to deliver it. Their investment of time, money and life force is now being repaid in significant proportions. I join the leadership of the School as Philip Sohmen steps back from the day-to-day executive work, and takes an overarching role. My job is to seek to bring the three campuses together as one school, and to ensure the strategic intentions and proposed developments are brought to fruition.
Pao School has a tradition of success that emanates from its namesake, YK Pao. Indeed, the School was founded on the 90th anniversary of his birth. He was the greatest of all the post-Second World War Chinese entrepreneurs who went to Hong Kong and, from scratch, built a commercial shipping empire second to none. His life and character have been memorialized in this School, where his spirit lives on. It is no wonder that Pao School is already producing students who are successful by any measure, and who also possess a genuine depth of character.
The School seeks to produce fully rounded students who exhibit compassion to others, integrity in their decision-making, and who can balance the various demands placed on them. We want to help students to become genuinely bilingual, not just with paper qualifications, but fully able to write and read at a sophisticated level in both English and Mandarin. Pao School wants to encourage its students to preserve a love and knowledge of Chinese culture and language, whilst at the same time preparing them for full immersion into the international world of the 21st century.
The School aims 'To build a world-class school for tomorrow's China, educating global citizens and future leaders on a foundation of strong values and academic excellence'. This is no empty claim. We see all our students as holding the future in the palm of their hands, and are committed to ensuring that they are prepared as well as possible to make the world they inhabit, in China or beyond, the best it can be.
It is an honour to be associated with the Pao family, and to lead this inspiring school. If I can be of any assistance to you in any matter at all, please do not hesitate to contact me at the School.