King’s in Shenzhen
On Friday 19 January, 2018, an agreement between The King’s School, Canterbury, and the Heng Yue Group, Shenzhen, was formally signed by The Very Revd Dr Robert Willis (Dean of Canterbury and Chairman of Governors) and Chairman Kung (Founder and Chief Executive of the Heng Yue Group) to build The King’s School, Canterbury, Shenzhen International.
The new School, an international K12 day school with some flexi-boarding facilities, will be in the Nan Shan area of Shenzhen, located close to Hong Kong and the Shenzhen Bay Bridge. Although relying on King’s extensive historical foundations and characteristics, it will be a very modern school, purpose-built of the highest quality, co-designed by London-based architects, Walters & Cohen, and the Heng Yue team.
The ceremony was attended by over 200 guests including Mr Gao, Vice Mayor of Shenzhen, Mr Lian, Deputy District Chief of Nanshan, Mr Liu, Deputy Director General of the Education Bureau of Nan Shan together with various other local officials and the heads of all the main banks in Shenzhen. Over 20 Chinese media outlets were present with broadcasts on local and national TV stations.
In his speech, Dr Willis spoke of the ethos of The King’s School, Canterbury, being one in which the creative gifts of every individual were encouraged and respected. Although King’s looked back on 1400 years of history, it was the story of continual reinvention to embrace changing educational ideals and practice sustained by the stability of a community, which valued each member. The culture of China had even deeper roots, but this energy, demonstrated by the modern growth of Shenzhen, showed the same quality of embracing the present and preparing for the future. The agreement today, which he and Chairman Kung were about to sign, would ensure sharing of creative educational gifts between the two schools and cultures to the mutual advantage of each and was to be warmly welcomed.
In reply Chairman Kung explained how delighted he was to be joining with such a famous school going back to 597; his company was a major developer in Shenzhen and had a history of helping the city. Representing the city, Mr Hong from the Education Bureau of Nanshan declared this to be a very significant signing “leading to shared growth and new glory”. He offered heartfelt congratulations from the district of Nan Shan. He went on to explain that Nan Shan is the most prosperous area of Shenzhen (the home of technology) and that building a King’s School in Nanshan would help to fulfil President Xi’s vision of bringing education of the highest quality to China.
The intention is to open the Nursery and Pre-Prep sections in September 2019, followed by the Prep and Senior Schools in 2020.
Peter Roberts, the Headmaster of the King’s School, Canterbury, said that King’s was proud to be working with Heng Yue and the Education Bureau of Nanshan on the project to build an excellent K12 school: cutting-edge technology would combine naturally with creativity in the curriculum; pupils will gain the skills to navigate successful professional lives, whilst appreciating the history and culture of China and Canterbury; and the school will become a beacon of understanding, friendship and scholarship for Shenzhen in the 21st Century.