Concord College Celebrates Double Success

Posted: 10th January 2024

A Shropshire school ended the year on a high after picking up two prestigious national accolades. As it looks forward to another successful year, what makes Concord College so special.


THE second the barrier rises revealing beautifully kept grounds any visitor will recognise that this school is a happy place.


Approaching the grand buildings that comprise Concord College first impressions are reinforced as groups of students and staff go about the day, navigating their way around the meticulous 73-acre campus, all sporting smiles and a cheery demeanour.


It’s as if the college sits on lay-lines and this unique atmosphere recently captured the attention of not just one set of judges but two.


Staff and students at Concord College, in Acton Burnell, near Shrewsbury, were thrilled to be named winners of the Independent Schools of the Year Award for best International Student Experience. They were equally delighted to collect the West Midlands Independent School of the Year in the Sunday Times Parent Power Guide, the accolades bringing validation to what they already knew.


Their school provides an academic haven for learners from around the world and is home to young people from 40 nations including the UK.


They are more than happy to share that Concord College provides a unique experience blending academic excellence and the opportunity to be involved in a huge number of activities, societies and competitions across and beyond the curriculum – all of this within a vibrant, diverse, inclusive and overwhelmingly kind environment that also benefits from cutting edge facilities for study and boarding life.


Principal Dr Michael Truss explains: “International boarders appreciate the way the college understands their needs, whilst the college’s British students also thrive on the opportunity to become part of a global community in the UK.


“We strive to deliver a full British curriculum, but with an eye on international perspectives. The aim is to draw on students’ knowledge and backgrounds to give each a fuller and more rounded view.


“It is wonderful to be recognised in these latest awards specifically for the added dimension that being an internationally-focussed community brings to a school. The sense of shared experience in learning together with people from all over the world is central to our vision and is a hugely powerful and important part of what makes Concord College special.”


As a global community, students are encouraged to maintain and share elements of their traditions from home with friends.


Top golfer Quinthara Rivai is finding herself in full swing as she studies to achieve her goals in medicine while succeeding on the fairways.


The 17-year-old from Indonesia is studying A levels in biology, chemistry and maths before reading medicine at possibly Exeter University.


With a handicap of just three, Quinthara has won competitions in Thailand, Malaysia and America but sees her future lying in surgery rather than making the final cut in golf.


“When I was young I was often looked after by my aunt who was a doctor which left me attracted to the hospital environment,” she says. “I fancy trauma medicine or general surgery and had some amazing experience during an internship in the operating theatres of Jakarta.


“I shadowed a surgeon who is also a pop singer and a photographer who would sing as he performed eyelid surgery, which helped as we could be in theatre for up to four hours.


“Concord College is great and the teachers are very supportive. I don’t think I would get as far applying for medicine without them.”


Budding dentist Fuad Shitta-Bey is able to get his teeth into his studies as he pursues a dream to help others.


“I’m attracted to dentistry because of the conversational aspect of the job and to help improve people’s self-esteem,” says the 17-year-old, of Hertfordshire, who is studying A levels in biology, chemistry and economics and hopes to read a degree at Manchester or Cardiff.


“My sisters came to Concord College and I decided to come here in 2018 and was amazed how kind everyone was. The academic standards are so much higher than my old school and, because it’s not the biggest school, it’s like a family, where everyone knows everyone and is friendly. I also like the school ethos of kindness, creativity and rigour.”


A love of animals is keeping Jane Kim on track as she studies with a view to becoming a vet.


The 17-year-old, of Seoul, South Korea, came to Concord College from Singapore after being attracted by the academic focus of the school.


“The academic side at Concord has been really strong I don’t think I would have become such an academic person without it,” says Jane, who is studying A levels in biology, chemistry and maths and hopes to study at the Royal Veterinary College, London.


“I found a second home here which I haven’t had at a school before. I’ve developed some great friendships and will really miss it when I leave.


“I would like to be a vet because it encompasses so many of my interests and there are so many paths you can follow. I did work experience at Dartmoor Zoo and the ethical debates around zoos interests me, such as the types of enclosure and how they are restrained. I’m also interested in veterinary surgery on small pets and wildlife.”


A taster day proved to be life-changing for Vidhi Jain. “I’d been to schools in London and Durham and when my dad got a job in Shrewsbury I tried out Concord College,” says the 17-year-old, head prefect, who is studying A levels in maths, chemistry, biology and English and hopes to read natural sciences one day.


“It’s very different from my old school. The environment is so vibrant and lively, the food is really good as well and there is no uniform. Teachers really accommodated me on the taster day and made sure I had a buddy to look after me.


“I’m now looking to make the very most of my time here where I think I might have wasted it at another school. As well as the academic side there are a lot of extra-curricular activities and I take part in a host of events. I’m president of the school speech society, in charge of a debating team, which competes in external events and am also involved with the Model United Nations.”


Nain Chow ‘stumbled’ across Concord College when she was looking to move from her school in Hong Kong.


“My old school wasn’t for me and I fancied a change from Hong Kong,” recalls the 17-year-old, who is studying A levels in biology, chemistry, physics and maths.


“My dad is a doctor and with my interest in sciences and interacting with people I’m considering medicine too. Concord has been very supportive and even has a medical society ensuring we are offered experiences such as talks and mock interviews.


“It is also a very friendly place where people are only too willing to help you when you need it. I also like the diversity of the place and living among so many other nationalities where you can learn about their values and cultures.”


A career in investment banking is the goal of keen footballer Gareth Fung who is following in his father’s footsteps by attending Concord College and in his mother’s by aiming for a top job in the financial sector.


The 18-year-old is studying economics, history and geography and hopes to read politics and economics at either the University of Philadelphia or Stamford in America.


“I go to the US over the summer as I have family there, near Los Angeles and San Francisco,” says Gareth, who plays centre midfield and used to play for Hong Kong.


“My dad came to Concord 38 years ago and a lot of the children of alumni gave me some great feedback so I chose to come here as well. I arrived four years ago and from the first day it has been fun ever since.”


He says Hong Kong has been affected by COVID and as his mother is a banker and his father owns a telecommunications business he’s seen how issues like this impact on society prompting him to look at a career in which he can find solutions.


“Being at a school with so many nationalities has been an eye-open,” he says. “The cultural differences are very interesting and seeing the different values and behaviours has proved good for my learning.”


Calvin Tong is also enjoying the rich mix of nationalities, his friends ranging from Canadian, Italian, Ukrainian and Korean to English, Australian, Turkish and Azerbaijanian.


“It’s a breath of fresh air,” says the 15-year-old, who joined the school from his home in Hong Kong and plans to stay there to study A levels. “You get new perspectives. People think differently from you which is fun and we all bounce ideas off each other.”


His friend Joseph Truss agrees. “It’s a new experience for me too,” the 15-year-old says. “Very quickly nationality stops meaning anything and they are just your friends.”


Day pupil Hugh Morgan, 17, of Church Stratton, says it is surprisingly simple to integrate into the school adding: “It’s easy to talk to people sitting next to you in class who can speak different languages. I’m taking A levels in maths, chemistry and physics and we are all just students studying at the same school and it’s a great atmosphere.


“It has helped me learn about other cultures and how to fit in with them so it’s a really good learning experience. It’s a useful skill as I hope to go into chemical engineering which could take me all over the world.”


Angela Yan, 17, of Shanghai, China, arrived at Concord College for a summer school and is now studying A levels in maths, further maths, economics and English literature with aspirations to read a degree in psychology, a masters and a Ph.d. She says: “It is certainly very different. You do gain greater perspective, we understand we have difference and just agree to disagree.”


For day pupil Alfred Hennell-Cole, of Shrewsbury, being at Concord College is the perfect opportunity to develop his language skills – not to mention invent his own .


The 18-year-old is studying German, Spanish, English literature and language, hopes to study German, Spanish and linguistics at university, with a view to working in academia or interpreting.


“I love it here and it’s much better than my last school for having an international atmosphere,” says Alfred who also plays the piano, cricket, golf, badminton and chess.


“You have so many nationalities here and I really enjoy that. I can talk to my friends in Mandarin and I’m even learning Welsh. You have a ready audience here to practise your languages and I’m even constructing my own complete with phonology, syntax, vowel harmony, verbs, adjectives and nouns.”


Dr Truss adds: “Concord is very much a global family and whilst many of our parents can’t easily attend fixtures or concerts, the college has years of experience in helping them feel part of things.”


Categories: Concord College School News