The International School of Penang (Uplands)
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (March 2011)|
|The International School Of Penang (Uplands)|
|Batu Feringghi, Penang, Penang Island, Malaysia|
|Motto||Respect for Self; Respect for Others|
|Houses||Crag Hill School|
|School colour(s)||Dark Green Gold|
|Athletics conference||Federation of British International Schools (FOBISSEA)|
The International School Of Penang (Uplands) (ISP), commonly known as Uplands School or simply Uplands by its members (called Uplanders), is an international school in Penang, Malaysia. Founded in 1955, it was first situated on Penang Hill, moving to Gurney Drive and finally Batu Ferringhi in 2006.
Uplands occupies a five-and-a-half-acre site near to the sea in the tourist area of Batu Ferringhi, approximately eleven kilometres from George Town. Housed in new buildings from 2006, facilities include 36 classrooms, five laboratories, two drama rooms, two music rooms, two computer labs, an indoor multi purpose hall, a 25-metre outdoor swimming pool, and a games field. The school also provides firewalled wireless internet access for students and staff who use their own mobile computers at school.
Students are mainly divided into thirteen year groups. The school curriculum incorporates the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) for Years 1-6. In the secondary school, the school offers a wide range of subjects for the IGCSE (Years 10-11). For sixth form education, there is the choice between the Cambridge International Examinations (A-Levels) or the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) for Years 12-13. German, French, Japanese, Mandarin and Malay are among the language subjects offered, and there is a strong ESL programme for pupils for whom English is not their first language. The maximum class size is 25. Over one-half of the staff are expatriate teachers, many with previous international experience. A Special Educational Needs Department caters for children with mild learning disabilities. Uplands has recently been jointly accredited by the European Council of International Schools and NEASC. The school is authorised to offer courses leading to the IB Diploma.
Uplands has a student body that represents 37 different countries. They number in the region of 600, between the ages of 3 and 19. Student boarding accommodation is available nearby for children of eight years and above. Currently there are 20 boarders accommodated at the school, including sixth form (years 12-13) students who are housed separately. Year 1-11 students wear a green/khaki batik uniform with brown pants or skirts, while sixth formers only need to adhere to a black/white dress code. The school is split into three houses for academic and sporting activities; Crag (red), Hill (green) and School (blue).
The schools motto is "Respect for Self.Respect for Others". Uplands strives to ensure that the entire student body, as well as the faculty and members associated with the school, respect not only their own culture,traditions and beliefs, but also of others.
The founding of Uplands School dates from the period of the Malayan Emergency when a communist insurrection threatened the country’s peace and stability. Attacks by insurgents against rubber estates led the Incorporated Society of Planters (I.S.P) to seek a safe location where expatriate planters could send their young children to school while keeping them in Malaya.
Penang Hill was identified as a suitable location and the I.S.P leased the premises of the former Crag Hotel on Penang Hill to open a new Primary Boarding School for approximately 60 children in mid-January 1955. Among its first pupils were children from a small private school called Uplands which had been run from a bungalow on Penang Hill before 1955. This small school was subsequently absorbed into the I.S.P's new school. It is very likely that because the new School stood for high standards in education and was also at some altitude, it was seen as fitting that the name Uplands also be adopted and its students referred to as Uplanders.
The School had two parts - most of the buildings being at the Crag Hotel site, whilst the kindergarten was in Grace Dieu. Another bungalow - Hillview - was also converted to be part of the School in 1965 to house the growing number of students. One highlight of that period on Penang Hill was the visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 1972.
Students at Uplands were either full boarders, or, if their parents lived in Penang, weekly boarders. To take them back to the School, the Hill Railway had to be used. In 1976, day students were accepted at the School. A year later in 1977, the Secondary Department was started.
In 1977, Uplands left Penang Hill for its new home down at sea level, occupying the former St. Xavier’s Branch School on Kelawei Road in Pulau Tikus. The boarding house was set up nearby in a mansion along Burmah Road. Between 1986 and 1988 the boarding house was located on York Road, while the primary school occupied the Burmah Road site. In 1988 the whole school was brought together on the same campus after it acquired the use of the former St Joseph’s Novitiate, a heritage building facing Gurney Drive and the sea.
Although with the move down from Penang Hill, the name Uplands - no longer being quite as apt for its location - was retained to preserve its historical roots. Becoming known officially as The International School of Penang (Uplands) not only retains its heritage, but also illustrates its evolution into a modern School with an international curriculum, faculty and student body; at the same time retaining the initials I.S.P which it shares with its founders.
In 1996 the owners of the school premises on Jalan Kelawei indicated that they would sell the property for redevelopment. This was to lead a decade of searching for appropriate land, planning and overcoming setbacks to finally the realise the School’s vision to have its own permanent home. In December 2004, Hunza Properties (Penang) Sdn Bhd bought this parcel of land for RM97.86mil from the De La Salle Brothers for a high rise retail and residential project known as Gurney Paragon. The school constructed a new purpose-built campus in Batu Feringgi which held its first classes in August 2006. On September 9, 2006 the school was officially opened by the Chief Minister of Penang at the time, YAB Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon in front of hundreds of guests in the new Multi Purpose Hall.
Accreditation and membership 
Uplands is an IB World School, recognised and accredited by the following organizations:
- Malaysian Ministry of Education (MME)
- International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)
- Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)
- Edexcel International Examinations
The school is also a member of the Federation of British International Schools in South East Asia (FOBISSEA) and the Boarding Schools Association (BSA).