Location – 188 Tai Tam Road Hing Man Shopping Complex, Chai Wan, Hong Kong
Website – invictusschool.hk
Contact – +852 3852 7200
Education is critical foundation for success in life because it helps individuals develop the skills and knowledge they need to pursue their dreams. However, education does not occur solely in the classroom; it is also shaped by leaders who guide our school communities.
When it comes to educational leadership, the role of women is more important than ever before. One such educational leader is Ms. Julia Woo, Invictus Secondary School of Hong Kong’s Principal and Head of School.
Ms. Julia Woo’s passion for helping people drove her to pursue a degree in Social Work, and this has equipped her with the skills needed to go the extra mile in helping her students succeed when she became a teacher in the Singapore education system. From being a teacher, she worked her way up to Principal. As a Principal of two schools, she substantially achieved value-added academic outcomes as well as pioneered new innovations. She then joined Singapore’s Ministry of Education as a Cluster Superintendent overseeing multiple schools.
“Overall, our mission is very simple,” says Woo, “it is to prepare students for today’s ‘VUCA’ world, which is characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. That means giving them not only the knowledge they need, but also soft skills and social and emotional competencies.”
This approach reflects Woo’s unshakeable belief in the importance of nurturing well-rounded students with the personal qualities and self-confidence to make the right choices. This ethos informs her decisions as she guides Invictus School, founded in 2019, through the post-pandemic era. The school will focus on creating new opportunities for students in sports, volunteering, collaborative group projects, team competitions and international exchanges.
Fostering Discipline in Students
During her time as a Principal in Singapore, she worked with students who came from disadvantaged backgrounds. To promote discipline in students, she would first help these students discover a sense of security by providing them with a safe educational space. To quote Ms. Woo, “When there is no discipline in the classroom, there is no productivity. The only way to reverse this is to make students feel like they’ve being valued and cared for. This increases their self-worth and motivates them to succeed.”
About Invictus School Hong Kong
Invictus School Hong Kong is part of the Invictus umbrella of schools founded in Singapore in 2015. Invictus was founded with the mission of providing high quality, affordable education from Kindergarten through Year 13 (ages 5-18). Invictus School Hong Kong utilises rigorous and globally renowned curricula and provides students with immersive classroom learning experiences led by dedicated and skilled educators who aim to instil in each student a desire for lifelong learning and excellence.
“We aim to lay a very strong foundation, and that starts in the kindergarten and primary years,” says Woo, noting that Invictus offers a ‘through-train’ system which takes children all the way up to Year 13 in secondary school. She adds, “We follow a spiral curriculum which progressively adds breadth and depth and is also in line with the school’s objective of providing a quality, affordable education which sets high standards and lets students explore their potential.”
Learning and Growing Beyond the Classroom
“I have already seen that our students have a great deal of potential; they are very teachable and open to learning, and they have talents and strengths that we can tap,” she says. “But, one key area where I think we can do more is in developing leadership and communication skills. We can make our students more confident in themselves and more forthcoming. We want to encourage them to take leadership of their own learning and pursue things they are passionate about.”
As Hong Kong’s pandemic restrictions have ended, Woo feels a sense of urgency about organising a wide range of extracurricular activities (ECAs). She views the concept of teaching and learning beyond the classroom, helping students to discover new interests and uncover hidden talents, as an essential element in holistic education where learning takes many forms and connects classroom learning to real-world issues and experiences.
Since January, students have had the opportunity to become involved in extracurriculars such as Football, Coding, Chess, and Art. Using students’ interests as a guide, the school plans to add options such as music, fencing and student journalism in the near future.
The school also plans to conduct regular student exchanges. These will include immersion programmes and sports competitions with other Invictus schools in Singapore, mainland China, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia, as a means of helping students learn about other cultures, make new friends and think more globally.
“I’m very passionate about nurturing students to be future-ready and grounded in good value.” Woo says. “Also, I value parents, who are our partners in education. As such, it is very important to build a good relationship with parents who entrust their children to us and want to see them succeed. We listen to feedback received from parents because it is a great source of ideas and information on ways for us to keep improving.”