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The new Tanglin Highlands Programme

by | Jul 5, 2024

As part of its Centenary in 2025, Tanglin will launch the Highlands Programme at the new Tanglin Gippsland campus in Australia. The Highlands Programme is a 5-week immersive programme designed as the pinnacle of a Year 9 student’s Middle School education at Tanglin.

Mark Cutchie, the founding Head of Tanglin Gippsland will head up the programme which will focus on fostering three essential attributes: curiosity, confidence and community. Experiential learning has long been recognised as one of the most effective educational approaches, and as Year 9 is a formative year for development, the programme will empower students to apply the skills they have acquired and challenge them to cultivate new ones.

What makes Australia the perfect location for the Highlands Programme?

The Tanglin Gippsland Campus nestled in the heart of a lush, green expanse provides the ideal setting. The 15-acre campus is dedicated to educating students about climate change and sustainability, and the developed campus will incorporate sustainable builds, the use of solar energy, composting food waste and tracking water usage. The rural setting will offer students the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature. There will be an expectation that personal device use will be minimal as students are encouraged to maximise the experience of living in the natural environment during this transformative 5 weeks of independent living.

Mark explains how the location of the Highlands programme will offer students something different, ‘Just being in the Australian Bush is a unique challenge, and I hope that students will embrace it with enthusiasm. For those new to this experience, simply attempting it is a significant achievement to me. For others, it’ll be an opportunity for them to push their boundaries and test their physical and mental limits. I believe that these challenges can help students develop resilience, grit, perseverance, and expand their understanding of what they are capable of.’

Experiential Learning in Australia

An extended residential wilderness programme will be a different learning experience from a typical co-curricular trip or school expedition. Five weeks of independent living in the Australian bush will provide an immersive natural experience designed to empower students and build their resilience whilst gaining an unforgettable experience that leaves a lasting impact. Tanglin decided on a 35-day duration for the programme because the school believes that it is just the right amount of time for Year 9 students. Five weeks allow for a good balance – long enough to be challenging and for students to build positive habits. Research supports this, showing that a more extended duration leads to better personal growth.


Read related articles from our sister website Relocate Global

A Healthy mix of Indoor and Outdoor learning

Daily learning will still centre on the core subjects in line with the Tanglin 3-14 curriculum, but it will also be adapted to the location to maximise experiences in the natural environment and broaden horizons. As Mark explains. ‘it’s important to me that it’s not just an outdoor adventure camp, but an extension of the Tanglin curriculum, where students learn differently.’ The rural nature of the programme will offer fieldwork opportunities, and the region’s rich history and unique flora and fauna will diversify their knowledge. Australia’s diverse ecosystems not only provide unique opportunities for students to learn and explore; its distinct climate also gives a varied and enriching outdoor experience.’

A new fitness and endurance experience

The Tanglin Highlands programme fulfils a dual objective. Students are not only challenged academically, they are also encouraged to develop the resilience and mental fortitude needed to thrive in the rigorous aspects of the programme. To achieve that, students are required to take part in a variety of fitness regular programmes. Whether it’s swimming in a 25m indoor pool, cardio workouts, yoga, team games or fitness routines in the morning, students have a myriad of opportunities to boost their overall fitness strength and endurance. All these experiences will ultimately culminate in a transformative Rite of Passage where students are challenged to apply the skills they acquired during the programme; before returning to school life in Singapore knowing that they have accomplished a significant lifetime achievement.

The vision for The Highlands Programme

As Tanglin approaches its centenary celebrations, the school is reflecting both on the past but also focusing on the next 100 years. The programme is inspired by the school’s founder, Miss Griffiths Jones (fondly known as Miss Griff) who in 1934 opened a boarding school in the Malaysian Highlands which offered a healthy, safe, and refreshing new learning environment for her pupils. Today’s Highlands Programme provides a similar ‘scaffold’ experience that will empower students and enable them to build their unique educational foundation that nurtures their academic, interpersonal, emotional and physical growth. The Tanglin Highlands programme goes beyond preparing students for the present: it’s a commitment to invest in both the future of current students and the growth of generations to come.

Read The Tanglin Highlands Programme from Mark Cutchie, Head of Campus.

About Tanglin Trust School

Established in 1925, Tanglin Trust School is the oldest British international school in Southeast Asia. The school provides the English National Curriculum with an international perspective to children from 3 to 18 years in Singapore. Tanglin is a vibrant co-educational school of 2,800 students representing over 50 nationalities and provides a unique learning environment for children from Nursery right through to Sixth Form. As a not-for-profit school, tuition fees are devoted to the provision of an outstanding education. Tanglin is the only school in Singapore to offer dual pathways of A Levels or the IB Diploma in Sixth Form and students’ examination results consistently surpass Singapore and global averages, with around 96% of graduates typically receiving their first or second choice university, which are among the best in the world.

Visit the Tanglin Trust School Featured School page