ESF The First 50 Years - People stories

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English Schools Foundation

36 years and counting

ESF long-serving staff: Martin Campion

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 June, 2017, 4:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 June, 2017, 9:02am

[Sponsored article] How does one sum up the numerous experiences, highs and achievements spanning 36 years with the ESF? For Martin Campion, it’s usually the small things that are the most deeply entrenched in his mind.

Memorable moments, for example, include tucking into a welcome meal after a hard day of trekking with students and colleagues in the jungles of Northern Thailand, teaching a great history lesson in which the students are completely captivated, or welcoming back a former pupil that is excelling in university. "These and many other similar experiences are all wonderful memories," says Martin, who relished the opportunity to experience a decorated teaching career and life in Hong Kong.

"I arrived here along with a substantial cohort of new teachers, so the transition was smooth and enjoyable," says Martin. He fondly recalls the early 1980s when he claims he knew the names of all the children in the school, when the staff in the ESF administration office could almost be counted on one hand, and how one Enid Bamforth handled all the human resources issues virtually unassisted.

Across the decades, Martin says the close working relationships with fellow teaching and administration staff have played an important role in his professional development, as well as give him a strong sense of personal achievement and satisfaction. Particularly beneficial, he says, are the "economies of scale" of being able to bounce ideas off colleagues across the entire Foundation, especially in regards to his current role as Head of Careers and Higher Education at South Island School (SIS).

ESF careers counsellors pool and monitor data on offers so that they can see if trends that might apply to their school and apply to others. They also share expertise and collaborate on enquiries and investigations to improve the service. "When I began my current tenure at SIS, I was a teacher turned careers master very much in the UK mould and quickly realised the ESF was lagging behind other international schools in this respect," says Martin.

He eventually campaigned successfully for the introduction of full time higher education counsellors, which has become the norm across ESF.

"These days, few international schools in Hong Kong have the range of higher education destinations that ESF schools deal with," Martin says. He adds that in a professional capacity, because of the ESF careers guidance platform that has been established, he has been able to develop as a truly international higher education adviser.

Martin believes it is rewarding to be part of an education system that furnishes students with an education that goes beyond the academics. "Students develop an  international outlook that effectively ignores the different ethnicities of their schoolmates, treating one another simply as friends” he says. "My children are the beneficiaries of an ESF education and now have a global network of friends they went to school with."

Looking ahead, while the ESF continues to develop in size and the scope of education it provides, Martin hopes the Foundation will retain its renowned not-so-secret sauce mix of providing a world class education at an affordable cost.