Meet Joe Alsop, Head of Senior School, Kellett School Hong Kong
Updated: Jul 1, 2021
We kick off our Education Matters series in Hong Kong with Joe Alsop, Head of Senior, Kellett School. We find out what has been his favourite moment since taking up this post over 2 years ago and a little bit more about the Mini MBA programme introduced this year for those in Year 12.
How long have you lived in Hong Kong and where were you prior to Kellett?
This is the start of my third year in Hong Kong. I am originally from London where I commenced my teaching career but have spent the later part of my life In the West Country. Before joining Kellett I was Head Teacher at the highly successful mixed comprehensive school, St Augustine's Catholic College.
Have you always wanted to work in education?
In a way yes. On completion of university I was considering two career paths, the first was to complete officer training in the British Army and join their Education Corps. This seemed like quite a natural step to take as I had been in the Army Cadets as a young boy and then joined the Territorial Army whilst I was studying at University. The second was to complete a PGCE and begin a teaching career in schools. Both education-related but very different pathways! At this time, I also worked as a volunteer for the Rainforest Foundation and this enabled me to get into schools and work with students, which I simply loved. This helped me decide between the two choices and I have not looked back since.
Your personal motto in life?
When I worked at St Augustine's we had a wonderful quote from Oscar Romero adorning the Sixth Form Centre wall. The quote was "Aspire not to have more but to be more". It’s not mine, but I find that it helps to keep me grounded and is something that I have used a great deal when working with students.
Your greatest achievement?
Without a doubt it has to be my two beautiful children!
Top three apps on your phone?
Sadly I probably spend too much time on my phone than I ought to, and than is good for me, but in first place we have 'Flipboard' an app that streams the news topics that interest me, in second place, YouTube, and in third place it is probably 'Google Maps', which has helped me enormously navigating Hong Kong. I have deliberately left out work-related apps!
Your favourite school moment whilst being in your current position?
There have been so many and so to pick just one is extremely difficult. That said, the first time that I experienced a Kellett Annual Concert was very special indeed. To see the incredible talent across the three schools, being performed at such a high level, and in front of a large community audience, was just inspirational.
Favourite place to be in school?
Easy. Anywhere where children are 'lost' in learning, and by that I mean utterly absorbed in what they are doing.
What is the best advice you would give one of your new school joiners?
For new students I would always encourage them to seize every opportunity that comes their way. Sometimes It can be too easy to hold back in life and if you have the courage to try new things there is a chance that you might stumble across something that you love and are good at.
What makes the Hong Kong International School so special?
I have been fortunate to work at Kellett Kowloon Bay campus which, whilst a phenomenal building, more importantly is a community of students and staff who aspire to be the very best that they can be. This has been recently highlighted during the class suspensions due to Covid-19, where the teachers have shown their creativity and adaptability in ensuring that high quality learning continued at home and the students displayed their determination and resilience to adapt to change. Kellett, like so many International schools in Hong Kong, has a wonderful cultural diversity amongst its student body and it is so special being able to share, celebrate and understand difference.
This year sees Kellett introduce a Mini MBA programme for pupils in Year 12. What does this involve and what do pupils gain from it?
The Mini-MBA seeks to help students understand the practicalities of the world they will join after higher education, and dip their toes in when they are applying for part-time jobs and internships. Over the year we look at Business Performance, Marketing, Strategy and Personal Impact through taught lessons, talks from industry leading executives, academics and young entrepreneurs and the launching of our own fully-fledged business in which all Year 12s have a chance to be stakeholders. At the end of the course students will be able to read balance sheets, income statements and cashflow statements, have experience working with a personal stylist to put together an interview outfit and have been through mock interviews based on their newly constructed LinkedIn profiles. They will have worked on the marketing and launch of their own Kellett-branded app and developed an appreciation for the kind of strategic decision-making which has been brought into sharper focus by the experiences all businesses have had reacting to the pandemic.
Kellett School was founded in 1976 as a not-for-profit association by like-minded parents, in order to provide a high-quality British education to the English-speaking community in Hong Kong.
Today, Kellett, the British International School in Hong Kong, educates over 1300 students from 4 to 18 years in the English National Curriculum. Kellett offers a truly outstanding education, evidenced by by a BSO Inspection, membership of HMC and IAPS, as well as exceptional public examination results. A broad curriculum, coupled with a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, ensures that all students from Reception through to I/GCSEs and A-levels achieve their personal best.
To find out more about Kellett, or to join one of their virtual tours, please contact the admissions team here.
Read more of our Education Matters series here