The International School of Penang (Uplands) – Providing Exemplary International Education in a Multi-Cultural Environment
International School of Penang

Every leading educational provider is focused on a certain goal, which helps it focus on attaining educational excellence and building bright careers for the students. Driven by the goal to become an international community that upholds its values and nurtures its members to become globally minded citizens, is one school – International School of Penang (Uplands).

Established in 1955, it is one of Malaysia’s oldest and most decorated international schools. The school delivers lasting educational experiences to over 500 students. It is dedicated to fostering a love of learning which will nurture the students’ intellectual, aesthetic, emotional, and physical faculties. The International School of Penang (Uplands) is committed to providing a safe environment for its students, free from abuse. It uses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified in 1989) as a framework.

A Vibrant Campus

Uplands’ campus is a purpose-built property on a four-acre site, conveniently situated in the developing resort township of Batu Feringgi. The campus is just 30 minutes away from Georgetown city. It is situated on a pleasant hill overlooking the idyllic beachfront. The campus is close to hotels, restaurants, shops, and new residential estates.

Some of the key offerings of the campus are science labs, indoor sports hall, swimming pool, school field, technology lab, and library alongside a purpose built climbing wall that was recently opened for student and community use. Uplands is the only school in Penang to offer this unique facility and opportunity for its learners. It also has a music studio, two performing arts studios, design technology workshops, and art workshops. Air-conditioned classrooms, multipurpose hall, dining hall, and garden playground are some of the other facilities, making Uplands an ideal institution to pursue studies in. The school has excellent boarding facilities located within walking distance to the school in a secure, gated community. The campus also provides fully networked wired and wireless internet connections.

Plethora of Academic Programs

Uplands focuses on providing students with excellent academic programs, which would help them to evolve as individuals and succeed in their careers. It provides impactful and dynamic primary and secondary programs.

Throughout the primary years students follow the IB Primary Years Program (PYP) focused on building young learners skills alongside developing understanding. The PYP offers an inquiry-based, transdisciplinary curriculum framework that builds conceptual understanding. Additionally, the school provides arts, languages, sports, and service opportunities culminating in the Primary Year 6 exhibition, which involves students working collaboratively in an in-depth inquiry where they identify, investigate, and find solutions to real-life issues and problems.

Under the secondary school program, Uplands proudly offers an international education that values excellence, integrity, and balance, encouraging students to live by the motto: Respect for Self, Respect for Others. In the Year 7-9 Middle School, the curriculum draws on best practice from multiple curricula around the world and is designed to build strong academic foundations and develop essential attitudes to learning needed for successful life-long learning. It also strives to grow these adolescent learners into globally-minded citizens by drawing on a diverse and eclectic range of contexts and resources when building skills and conceptual understanding.

In the High School, Uplands offers a multiple certification pathway through the High School. All students enrolled at Uplands in Year 10 commence a 4 year CIS accredited High School Diploma programme that is integrated with our 2 year IGCSE programme followed by the 2 year International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). This powerfully flexible High School Diploma program is tailored to suit an individual’s needs with the majority of students taking 8-10 IGCSEs followed by the full IB Diploma whilst others take a combination of these courses and elective courses such as accredited online courses or self-guided electives.

The school introduced the High School Diploma in August 2019 to complement its comprehensive IGCSE and IBDP programs. It is the recommended minimum graduation qualification for all students entering Year 10. All Year 10 students are encouraged to begin their program with the intention of meeting the minimum requirements for the HS Diploma.

Forerunners with a Foresight

Uplands thrives under the erudite leadership of Jacqueline North, the Head of Primary, and Emily Vallance, the Acting Principal and Head of Secondary. Under their dedicated leadership, the school concentrates on nurturing the students, enhancing their learning, and shaping their careers.      

While sharing her thoughts, Ms Jacqueline states, “We believe in developing young students as caring, inquisitive, and active participants in a lifelong journey of learning. We offer an inquiry-based curriculum that builds conceptual understanding through exploration and application of their knowledge in all curriculum areas.”

Ms Emily also adds, “It is a privilege to be leading such a diverse, dynamic and distinguished school alongside my exceptional colleagues in the Senior Leadership Team and leaders, teachers, and enabling staff throughout the school. Uplands has provided over 65 years of excellence in education as a non-profit organisation that prides itself on providing opportunities for our learners to flourish and find their success. We are a truly international community that appreciates and values the rich, multi-cultural diversity within our school and endeavours to celebrate this diversity as we strive towards our mission of  “nurturing our students to become globally-minded citizens.”

Why Uplands?

The International School of Penang (Uplands) is proud to provide excellent education to its students from ages 5-18. It has worked collaboratively with the parents to articulate what makes Uplands such a special place to work and learn. One of the various reasons one should choose to enrol their child at the school are the low student-teacher ratio ensuring each student gets quality attention from the teacher. Accordingly, the IGCSE and IBDP results are consistently significantly better than the world average.

The school offers different courses such as PYP, IGCSE, High School Diploma, and IBDP in the same campus. Hence, the students get a variety of options to explore. Uplands upholds the motto of unity in diversity; as such, the school welcomes students from over 40 nationalities worldwide.

Over 80% of students are international which brings a global perspective to the community in the school. Subject-matter experts teach every topic with utmost dedication; they ensure that each student learns properly and excels in every subject.

With equal emphasis on academics, sports, cultural, and service opportunities, Uplands ensures the overall development of the students. The school takes every opportunity to excel in its endeavours and nurture the students efficiently. It offers over 75 extra-curricular activities and eight competitive sports in a safe and caring learning environment. Furthermore, the school offers admissions to world-class universities and scholarships.

Ensuring the Safety of Students

The International School of Penang (Uplands) is committed to ensuring that all its students are provided with a safe environment that enables them to achieve, thrive, and develop. At Uplands, the management considers the welfare of each child to be paramount, and it is the school’s stated intention to be proactive and diligent in ensuring every child in the community is kept safe from exploitation, abuse, or harm.

It follows the Safe School Policy, which believes it is important that schools should not only try to do something about violence against children after it has happened, but they must take action to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Uplands relies on preventative practises such as student and staff education to reduce risk and promote student well-being. The management believes that as educators, they have the opportunity to observe and interact with children over time on a daily basis. It opines that it is in a unique position to identify children who need help and protection. As such, it has a professional and ethical obligation to identify children who need protection and take steps to ensure that the child and family avail themselves of any services needed to remedy any situation that constitutes child abuse or neglect.

Emphasis on Health and Well-Being of Students

The International School of Penang (Uplands) ensures that the students stay safe and healthy and actively carry out their curricular and extracurricular activities. The thorough, spiralled health and wellbeing curriculum provides a comprehensive platform for introducing and discussing personal, social, health, wellbeing and citizenship issues with the students and a co-tutoring system in Secondary ensures that each student is cared for by two tutors who support their holistic wellbeing. This is overseen by a dedicated Head of Year who is an important and necessary part of bridging the school-home divide with parents.

Uplands’ matrons and Boarding parents are vital in ensuring that the boarders experience a warm and friendly home-like environment upon returning from school. They are available to boarders 24-hours a day and accompany the younger students on trips to the market or mall for shopping, talk with them, and provide the link between the boarder and the parents should they need to call or make arrangements to travel home. In addition, Uplands assures the health of its boarders by assigning a caring on-site nurse who provides medical treatment as appropriate for minor healthcare issues, arranges doctors’ appointments, and manages student medication.

Academic tutors are important in supporting the boarders in their studies. Subject-specific tutoring can be arranged through the boarding house and is both efficient and effective in enabling a boarder to achieve their academic goals.

Accreditations and Achievements

Uplands has received many accreditations and recognitions due to its dedicated endeavors towards academic excellence and student development. It is an IB World School and is therefore accredited by The International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), which is also recognised by the Malaysian Ministry of Education and permitted to foreign and local students alike. The school has received accreditation from The Council of International Schools (COIS), a global organization that ensures high-quality international education. It is also a member of The Federation of British International Schools in Asia (FOBISIA), The Association of International Malaysian Schools (AIMS), and The Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA).

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