Our Secondary Campus is on a purpose-built 25-acre site in Equine Park, approximately 20 minutes south of Kuala Lumpur with easy access from the MEX highway. Since its opening in 1997, our facilities have continued to evolve and incorporate the latest educational and technological developments to really enhance the student experience in a deep and impactful way.
Natural light, open ‘breakout’ collaborative areas, glass walls, multi-level seating, seamless access to technology and lots of space give a unique ambience to life at the Equine Park campus. Students are able to enjoy serene and tranquil social time whilst being given access to spacious, comfortable areas for learning that really allow them to excel, whatever their interests.
Classrooms in, for example, our Modern Foreign Languages, Humanities, English, and Maths departments are incredibly different from those found in most schools. For a start, they’re mainly glass. Why glass, when it’s so much more expensive than brick or concrete? Because glass makes learning visible. Student learning is visible from the outside and those glass walls give a fabulous writing surface for them to outline their ideas and theories before committing to paper (digital or otherwise). Students themselves chose the furniture we use, to make sure it’s comfortable, functional and durable, and when they need a little extra space, they can move to the breakout spaces to work with others in the comfort of beanbags, low level chairs or on high bar stools. Natural light helps ease the pressure of fluorescent lighting on the eyes and there’s even a chalkboard or two for those feeling a little nostalgic.
We are proud of what we do and our newly designed classrooms with their glass walls and interactive whiteboards are just one example of how we proactively and visibly share our learning and achievements with each other and visitors to the school.
The faculty spaces are managed in part by subject prefects - older students with a direct responsibility for a specific curriculum area. These prefect will organise interactive displays, pose problems or just be around to support younger students who may need a hint or two to guide them on their way.
Gas, water and electricity are a fundamental prerequisite for any school laboratory, and of course every one of Alice Smith’s ten purpose built laboratories does exactly that. In addition, however, we have breakout spaces so students can collaborate on projects and be inspired by the student-crafted displays showing cells, sparks and space. At Alice Smith, we encourage students to write on the walls - easily cleanable glass walls! - to help support their learning and ensure they are able to make their own learning visible to others.
Staff are supported by three full-time, fully qualified technicians who ensure the practical work that is crucial for students to really understand the world of science is in place and ready to support learning.
We have a fabulous Sports Hall with, three air-conditioned basketball courts which can switch to offering volleyball, badminton, five-a-side football or any other indoor sport for that matter.
Our 50m, 10-lane swimming pool gives students an opportunity to practice freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly, as well as their life-saving skills, or even kayaking. And when the weather’s not so good, our three floor multi-gym gives them an opportunity to use the cross-fit equipment, fixed or free weights or get on one of 20 bikes to improve cardiovascular function.
We also have a huge multipurpose sports hall which allows our gymnasts a place to leap, roll and jump or, our budding judo students a place to throw each other, or maybe a teacher or two!
We also have a climbing and bouldering facilities which allows student to reach for the stars using a rope, karabiner and another student to belay them; all under the watchful gaze of a fully qualified climbing wall supervisor.
In terms of outdoor sports facilities, we have a full-sized football pitch as well as a full size rugby pitch. We have 7 outdoor tennis courts which double up as netball courts as well as an international standard artificial surface for 5-aside field hockey. There’s also a multi-purpose grass area for softball. Or T-ball. Or touch rugby. Or even ultimate frisbee, all of which are offered as part of our curricular, or extra-curricular programme.
Our 8-lane synthetic athletic running track is certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the Alice Smith School is the first international school in Malaysia and the third in the world to receive this standard of certification.
Two purpose-built drama studios offer students an opportunity to gain confidence through acting, directing and operating LED lighting and sound technology. In addition, our Performing Arts Hall has retractable mobile seating to give audience members a comfortable, obstruction-free view of the productions our students put on every year.
Music enjoys very spacious facilities incorporating classrooms, recording studio and collaboration spaces for the innovative band programme which involves students learning the musical skills as well as the teamwork and artistry that is required for performances. Students also have access to a range of peripatetic music teachers in specialised soundproofed rooms for, for example, violin, guitar, piano and saxophone lessons.
Our Art students have a wonderful, vibrant space that not only inspires but acts as a gallery to really give them a feel of what artists in the ‘real world’ will experience. Ceramics and digital photography studios offer opportunities beyond the regular paint and pencil artwork, thereby offering students the opportunity to diversify the media they study.
Our Media Studies and Computing departments occupy the Steve Warry Centre. The former hosts two spacious classrooms along with generous breakout spacious and a suite of Mac for video and photograph editing using industry standard software, thereby giving students a real taste of life in the world of media and advertising. Entering our computing area, students could be forgiven for thinking they are entering the world of Google or Apple, with a funky breakout space, astroturf flooring and beanbags to inspire the creative juices.
A few years ago, people were eschewing libraries because they felt the immediacy of access to information that the internet brought meant libraries were surplus to requirements. We felt that a library - a place of literature and non-fiction books, periodicals, magazines, graphic novels, movies and study rooms - still has a place in the modern school, and so evolved our two-storey resource hub that offers students a comfy place to curl up with a book, a venue to collaborate with friends on a History project, a zone to get engrossed in a graphic novel, or place to simply sit and research. We have three full-time adults to support students in whatever they need to support their learning and will always be able to provide parents, students and staff access to newspapers from around the world at the touch of a button.
Our library features different zones including glass collaboration rooms, study pods, booths and sofas giving students (and parents) the choice of where to sit and how to research.
The use of space can impact learning and teaching; therefore, interactive and effective pedagogies require spaces where ease of communication and the capacity to work with others face-to-face or online, are fundamental features of the design.
As students mature, they have more time for independent study, which inevitably means they need space for that independent study. Our senior students actually helped to design this space so we could ensure it would meet their needs:
Individual study areas
Sixth Form students have study periods during which they will often want some quiet time to complete tasks, revise for tests or catch up with some background reading. As a result, we’ve met their needs by giving them a quiet study zone.
We found that students loved the study booths that appear elsewhere in our school so we built some custom booths in their Sixth Form area. This allows study but in a more collaborative way. Students can now be seen quizzing each other in preparation for a unit test, collaborating on a shared piece of work or even just sitting and chatting whilst having a snack and a coffee.
At Alice Smith, our students work hard in and out of school. They need to learn the skills we all require to know when and how to relax, so we have a more comfortable aea which consists of comfortable chairs, sofas and bean bags to let them unwind.
We have an amazing lecture theatre that seats over 120 students. This allows a whole year group to attend sessions on a variety of topics. Our programme incorporates lunchtime lectures from universities around the world, where students find out about life, courses and study from a variety of institutions from Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia. In addition, our lecture theatre provides an opportunity for students to present to their own peers.
Our students even told us what furniture would work and so we have a genuinely purposeful space, designed by students that absolutely meets the needs of those who use it.
Schools are about learning, but at Alice Smith, it’s not just the students who do so. As part of our campus development, we were determined to create a purpose-built space for staff to work with visiting experts from around the world, with colleagues from the region and with each other. Our PLC provides a quiet, flexible and inspirational place for teachers to learn alongside each other resulting in staff who are not only up-to-date with their practice, but often lead others in their practice.
All that learning is hungry work and to support students and staff, we have on-site caterers who provide lunch for students and staff. There’s always an appetising Asian delight, mouthwatering Western dish or scrumptious vegetarian plate to choose from at lunchtime, nevermind the ever popular noodle stall. The student deli offers a range of treats including pastries, sushi, salads, fresh fruit, juices, steamed buns and spring rolls. We also have a coffee shop for adults and older students should a caffeine pick-me-up be required first thing in the morning.
The campus is blessed with lots of green space, trees and plants which offer a calm environment. Watering all that grass requires a lot of resources, but we have a system which harvests rainwater which is then used to keep the playing surfaces in tip top condition. Our campus has LED lighting, building management systems and movement sensors which help to reduce our carbon footprint and our electricity bills meaning we can spend more on resources for our students. We’ve got hand-driers in toilets which means that paper waste has been reduced significantly and water management on campus means that water bill too have reduced despite campus growth.
In a bright tropical country such as Malaysia, it naturally made sense for us to tap into free sunlight, so we have solar tubes lighting up our sports hall and solar panels which give us free electricity.
Alice Smith families are increasingly living close to the school and we’re encouraging students to cycle into school whenever they can. To make this as safe as possible, we have provided students with a dedicated cycle lane which also means we’re reducing traffic in the area.
Students have helped to lead initiatives such as recycling and will continue to push us to continue to invest in our green initiatives, not because it saves money, but because it’s the right thing to do.