Leung Wai-ming loves his students - he has donated more than $500,000 to San Wui Commercial Society School in the past four years. Since joining the Sheung Wan school in 2000 as principal, Mr Leung, 45, has funded the renovation and reading programmes of the school, including cushioned playing corners, English story books, and overhead projectors. He even used his own money to hire two extra teachers last year to cut class sizes. His dedication attracted a donor, an anonymous businessman who gave $1 million to hire five extra teachers and introduce small-class teaching in Primary One to Four. Starting from this term, Primary One and Two students will be taught all subjects in small groups, while numbers will be cut for Primary Three and Four students in Chinese, English and Mathematics classes. Mr Leung believes students should be taught in groups of fewer than 16 - less than half the standard class size of 34 pupils - in their first three years at primary school. 'The period to nine years old is essential to childhood development. If they are trained to think of themselves as losers, they will remain losers in their hearts,' Mr Leung said. Formerly headmaster of the Tung Wan Mok Law Shui Wah School on Lantau, which admitted students with behavioural problems, he quit when a 10-year-old boy told him to stop caring. 'He asked me to stop wasting my time on him because he was scum,' he said. 'Like his peers, he had no hope because he had been told repeatedly by teachers and adults that he was useless. It really broke my heart.' Mr Leung believes the mainstream education system is too examination-oriented and class sizes are too big. 'Small-class teaching is not only a matter of better academic performance, but more care and encouragement. All children have their own talents, and it is our responsibility to nourish them,' he said. Mr Leung said small classes should be promoted in all schools. 'Instead of spending money on language and IT, the government should put more emphasis on the mental development of children. 'Look at the students as if they are your own daughters and sons, and you will understand how I feel. I am not just training children to find a better job, but lead a better life. It makes me happy to see my students smile.'