Forward Thinking

Malvern College Tokyo to offer students a diverse and engaging curriculum

An established leader in high-quality education, Malvern College has taken the winning combination of academic rigor and pastoral care around the world — from its home campus in Malvern, England, which was founded in 1865, to locations in Egypt, Switzerland and China (Qingdao, Chengdu and Hong Kong). 

Students in Japan will soon be able to experience a Malvern education for themselves, as Malvern College Tokyo (MCT), the school’s newest campus, will open in September 2023. The founding headmaster will be Mike Spencer, who brings to the job more than 20 years of experience leading schools in Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; New Delhi, India; and Maputo, Mozambique. Along with his sterling professional background, he is also an accomplished rhythm guitarist who takes inspiration from legends such as Leo Kottke, Mark Knopfler and Stevie Ray Vaughn — and from his daughter, Katie.


Spencer has helped schools in a variety of environments flourish, and this background gives him a thoughtful and respectful approach to developing learning communities: “I have learned that principles travel better than practices. Each and every school context is different, and it is very rare that one way of doing things works equally well in all environments. It is essential, therefore, to be clear about what one wants to achieve but not make assumptions about the best way to get things done. The cultural norms of any community need to be respected and understood as an important guide to help decision making and action.”

Education at MCT will be guided by five key pillars:

  • Full integration of the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum
  • A strong focus on technology-related subjects for all students
  • Entrepreneurial education
  • Sustainability
  • Bringing together Malvern’s British heritage and Japanese culture
  • We spoke further with Spencer about technology, entrepreneurship and sustainability at MCT. 


Addressing the importance of technology at the school, Spencer said that the MCT will prepare students for jobs that cannot yet even be imagined: “At Malvern we have an obligation to ensure that all students are prepared for the workplace of the future. Our commitment is to ensure that, within the resources available to us, we are able to introduce students to areas such as artificial intelligence, control technology, virtual reality and robotics.” 

But he pointed out that, along with recognizing the strong potential of technology, students will be educated about how to use it in a mature way: “We will ensure that all students are good digital citizens who have the skills and attributes necessary to protect themselves and others from unacceptable use of these powerful tools. It is essential that students understand what it means to use technology responsibly, and understand the need for cyber security, data protection and academic integrity.”

When it comes to entrepreneurship, Spencer pointed out that, at other schools, this area of study is sometimes viewed as simply an extension of business courses. However, at the MCT, it will be a part of developing an overall mindset, and this starts with the earliest learners: “It is well known that the very youngest students have a huge capacity for thinking creatively and at Malvern College we like to encourage this. Entrepreneurship begins with having good ideas and finding ways to put these into practice. It would not be unusual to find our youngest students engaged in play-based activities or visits beyond the school to see how a business works, or to imaginatively design their own artefacts to provide solutions to real or imaginary problems.”


Spencer pointed out that it is crucial for children to develop a sense of stewardship when it comes to the global environment. One of the ways that the MCT will instill this sense is through its Forest School program, which allows children aged three to six to spend significant amounts of time outdoors, engaged in a variety of activities. Further, with the school’s campus being in the Kodaira area, students of all ages will be able to experience the changing of the seasons and other natural phenomena. 

Spencer added that this early focus will carry forward throughout students’ time at the school, encouraging them to deepen their sense of responsibility to the planet even after they have graduated. “Malvern College Tokyo will certainly be ensuring that conservation, environmental protection and sustainability form part of our curriculum and our extra-curricular programs, so that young people who have a passion for stewardship will have opportunities to develop sustainable practices within and beyond their college years.”

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