Learning Innovation at ICHK

ICHK is a community of innovation, which is attracting global attention for its cutting edge approaches to learning. Over the past year we have seen a rapid increase in international interest in our innovations, programmes and curricula.

Educators, think tanks and professional colleagues are turning to ICHK for inspiration and guidance and we have proudly showcased our work at some of the biggest educational summits in the region.

Through pooling and drawing on our strengths and expertise, we have created the conditions for a professional learning community. This requires commitment, collaboration and a common vision and purpose, shared throughout the school.

Our secondary school has been recognised by Cambridge Strategies, with inclusion in its list of the top 100 schools worldwide for innovation.

Our leadership team regularly present at education conferences and summits, host workshops and meet with educators who are keen to learn about our approaches.

We are proud to share our practices and innovations, and Head of School Toby Newton has presented at the Global Education Leadership Summit, the Learning and Teaching Expo, RAISE, the Rethinking Learning Summit and ACAMIS.

We have welcomed groups from EDiversity, the Ednovators think tank, Orchlon Cambridge International School, Hong Kong Baptist University Affiliated School, the Education University of Hong Kong and an educational advisor to the Taiwan government.

All have been interested in learning more about our innovative curriculum and approaches to learning.

Meanwhile, ICHK’s Human Technologies programme is forming the centre of a PhD research project at University College London, and our groundbreaking Free Learning programme has been rolled out to a group of trainee teachers at the Education University of Hong Kong.

The interest in ICHK comes at a time when there is a growing awareness of the need to develop an educational programme more relevant to the challenges of 21st century living and working.

We believe we have developed impactful solutions to some of the most pressing challenges educators face, and are pushing the boundaries and expectations with regards to what secondary education could and should offer young people.

Further insight is available in this ‘Growing Pathways in Learning’ talk given by Toby Newton at the Jockey Ednovation Club.

To hear more about the holistic, pastoral approach to education at ICHK, listen to this podcast from Toby Newton, prepared for the Global Education Leadership Summit.

Human Technologies

HT offers a novel perspective on human beliefs, practices and activity. The programme suggests that what makes us smart is not our brains in themselves, but the fact that our brains – and the thinking they generate – are able to benefit from the accumulated wisdom of our peers and forebears. In this view, language is a technology, mathematics is a technology, the scientific method is a technology.

Forest School

Our vision at the primary school is to be a leader in outdoor learning and Forest School education. Our beautiful green campus at Hong Lok Yuen provides us with the perfect location to develop this pioneering approach in Hong Kong. Research shows that if children have regular access to a rich outdoor environment, they will be have greater self-esteem, be more confident and develop better concentration, resilience and independence. Innovative work is under way to establish our very own Forest School and outdoor classroom in our grounds.

Outdoor Leadership

ICHK is proud to be offering Outdoor Leadership Certificates, as part of our cutting edge approach to learning. This unique initiative recognises students for their outstanding work in outdoor education, and is another first for our innovative school. Under the pioneering project, students are given opportunities to help lead activities for their younger peers and students from our partner primary schools. The certificates are a major addition to student portfolios and university applications.

Deep Learning

Deep Learning is a pioneering study programme, designed to encourage independence, motivation, enjoyment and depth in student learning. Part of regular school experience for students in Years 7, 8 and 9, it involves ‘collapsing’ the timetable for four-day programmes of study, typically spread out over a number of weeks.

Enrichment & Flow

An ICHK innovation, designed to help students discover more about themselves as learners. It is one of a complex of initiatives that we have adopted to enrich our students’ experience of school and their understanding of themselves as people and learners.


One of the enduring mysteries – and complaints – about the switch from primary to secondary school is why and how the curious minded, sparky, fearless and imaginative learners of Year 6 are so often transformed into passive, anxious students by Years 9 or 10. At ICHK we have created a through-train of creativity that addresses this transition and that serves to ensure that our students do not lose touch with their imaginations and powers of innovation.

5+1 Model

We aim to develop confident young people with creative and inquiring minds, and the attainment of a Growth Mindset is the most fundamentally important element of our ethos and approach. All students learn that effort, commitment, perseverance and resilience, rather than latent “intelligence” or talent, lead to high achievement and success in life.


At ICHK we believe that children’s happiness and achievement are two sides of the same coin. At the primary and secondary school, positive psychology and mindfulness are built into the curriculum to support student wellbeing. Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to help children (and adults) to focus attention, deal with difficulties, build resilience to stress and develop a positive mindset in both school and life.

Free Learning

The sport of Free Running invites participants to use creativity, skill and strength to find new ways to navigate a landscape. It is fun, engaging and highly motivating for those who participate. It takes a space (urban or otherwise) and turns it on its head, drawing new functions from an existing, very fixed, form.

In much the same way, Free Learning aims to provide students with an intellectual landscape through which they can playfully discover their own path. It promotes creativity, individuality, team work, freedom and taking responsibility. It is a gamified set of training wheels for developing inquiry skills for independent learning.

Innovation 800

ICHK is honoured to be named one of Cambridge University’s most innovative schools worldwide. The prestigious University’s research wing, Cambridge Strategies, included ICHK in its list of pioneering global schools in 2017. Profiles of featured schools formed part of the publication ‘Innovation 800’, created to celebrate 800 years of excellence at Cambridge. Innovation 800 showcases global leaders and institutions at the forefront of change in the field of education.