New GCSEs! But What Does That Mean Exactly? 新GCSE!到底這是甚麼?

September 25th, 2017

Students are readying themselves to receive their GCSE results this summer, but English and maths scores will come in the form of a new numbered grading system. This change has occurred as part of a government scheme to revamp the current GCSE system, as individuals have expressed opinions that encourage the need for a more rigorous and “precise” grading system for pupils. As a result, grade rankings of 9 to 1 will be awarded as opposed to the current A* to G system. Is the curriculum changing? Yes it is. Now, GCSEs will be conducted with a more linear structure as opposed to modular, so all exams are held at the end of the 2 year course as opposed to intermittently throughout the programme.

今年暑假,學生們都收到GCSE考試的成績單,自然發覺今屆英文和數學考試採用了新的評分準則。為甚麼呢?近年,公眾紛紛表達意見,鼓勵對學生進行更嚴格,更精確的分級制。有見及此,政府改革現行的GCSE考試制度,新的評分準則應運而生 —— 從以往的 A *至G改為9至1的等級排名,9為最高評級。這是否意味着課程出現了變化?是的!由現在開始,GCSE將以線性結構進行,所有考試於兩年課程制完結後進行,而不是於單元之間舉行。


new gcses 2017


Before we continue, let’s have a look at the original intention of what GCSEs were meant to achieve. GCSEs have been around since 1988, a total of 29 years with the same grading system, general curriculum structure, and overall “purpose” for students – so that they can progress to the next stage of their lives. However, life in 1988 was much different compared to now; it was extremely common for students to move on from schooling after fifth form and participate in non-academic courses, such as vocational training or community college to kick start their careers.

現在,不妨一起了解GCSE旨在實現的原意。 GCSE自1988年以來,過往的課程結構、學生的整體學習目標及評分制度已沿用29年之久。然而,1988年的生活與現在相比,可謂物換星移;以往,學生完成五年中學教育後,隨即投入職業培訓、社區大學等非學術課程,及後開始職業生涯,這現象是極其普遍。


This has unfortunately opened doors to some criticism for the school qualification, for instance being labelled as too easy and caters for a student-majority that are no longer present. Nowadays, pupils usually continue with their schooling careers and end up going to university, and any alternatives are often frowned upon or are considered extremely rare. With this being the case, people are asking; “why are pupils still undertaking a curriculum and exams designed for those who are actually looking to move on from academia?”



When all of these points are taken into account, is it clear to see why talks surrounding changes related to the GCSE course have been up in the air since 2013, and the time has finally come for them to be modified. But what is being changed exactly?



Exams & Assessment 考試與評估

  • Most exams will be taken at the end of the 2-year course rather than on a module basis 大多數考試將在兩年制課程結束時進行,而不是以單元為基礎
  • There will be more essay-based questions 設有更多以論文為主的題目
  • Content will be more challenging – more substantial texts in English literature and new topics in maths 內容將更具挑戰性 —— 英國文學將涵蓋實用文本和數學亦拓展新課題
  • Everyone will have to do at least 2 sciences 每人必須選修至少2科理科
  • Coursework and controlled assessments will not be applicable to most subjects apart from practical ones, such as art and drama 大部分科目(除了藝術和戲劇)只計考試成績,不計習作以及平時修習的成績


Grading 分級

As mentioned previously, grades will be awarded on a number-based scale from 9 to 1 (9 being the highest, and 1 being the lowest). A full transition for all subjects to be graded in this way will be made over the next 2 years, with English literature, English language, and maths being the first to undergo this change during the summer 2017 results. Here is an easy-to-follow table for your reference!


new gcses grading system how does it work

There you have it – the latest changes that are being made to GCSEs from 2017 onwards. If you have any opinions or questions you would like to share, please feel free to comment or get in touch with us on Facebook. In the meantime, why not have a look at our article on STEM Learning – Does It Live Up To The Hype?



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A New Dedication To Renormalising Education

September 22nd, 2017

The time has come for Chinese Academy to revamp learning in Hong Kong. With a dedicated and highly decorated academic team, this newly established private through-train school situated in the heart of Causeway Bay aims to set new standards for students in the Pearl of the Orient. Designed for students looking to thrive and excel with their education, Chinese Academy embraces learning and inspires students in the 21st century.

chinese academy icaef school new chinese academy icaef school newVisit www.ica-ef.org for more information

All-rounded Development

June 9th, 2017



An important part of the philosophy at International Chinese Academy Education Foundation (ICAEF) and Confucius Hall (CH) is to ensure students receive an all-rounded education, in order to facilitate and truly nurture their whole person development. What this entails is being able to entice students to aspire to undertake activities outside of the constraints of a typical classroom. For instance, exercise is an ideal way for young active bodies and minds to unwind and find other passions to pursue.



This is an important element of Chinese Academy Primary School (CAPS), as it is easy for students to feel overwhelmed during their new experience in a “big school”, and having a hobby is a great way to deal with this transition. While it is important to be prepared academically, one must also not forget the significance of sporting development.



There is a good reason as to why physical education is mandatory for schools in Hong Kong. It is one of the many responsibilities of a school to ensure that students are not solely focused on classroom academics. It is therefore equally as important to invest one’s time in physical activities, like sport, hiking, and being outdoors in general. Children at primary school age are undergoing extremely important and delicate chemical changes, and what they experience now will dictate the sort of individuals they will eventually become.



Elite schools are looking for pupils that demonstrate the ability to be able to adapt to a multitude of situations, and sport is no exception. Sporting activities allow young minds to be able to express their feelings of determination, teamwork, and competitive fire. Sport is where friendships are made, stress is relieved, and passions are discovered. Chinese Academy Primary School (CAPS) strives to provide students with a suitable environment for them to engage in such activities, and plans to integrate this into the architecture itself have been nothing short of a success. In fact, Norton House Education places a strong focus on student admissions into the world’s top schools, and sporting ability is a key component of one’s university portfolio, particularly for Oxbridge institutions.

精英學校正在尋覓能夠適應眾多情況的學生,運動也不例外。體育活動讓年輕人能夠表達自己的決心、團隊精神和進取心。運動是建立友誼、緩解壓力和發掘激情。晉德學校(CAPS)致力於為學生提供一個適合他們參與這類活動的環境,並計劃將其融入到校園建築本身。事實上,Norton House Education非常重視學生入讀世界頂尖學校,而體育能力更是入讀大學,特別對考入牛劍有重大幫助。


It is for these reasons that at CAPS, students will be encouraged to venture out and find their preferred physical activity. It is a key philosophy of CAPS to ensure students embody a “good character”, and in order to truly achieve this, one must be exposed to the unique experience of sport.
正是由於這些原因,CAPS鼓勵學生勇於嘗試,尋找自己喜愛的體育活動。 CAPS的一個重要理念是確保學生體現「好品質」,為了真正達到這一點,必須體會體育的獨特之處。

All-rounded Development

For more information about International Chinese Academy Education Foundation (ICAEF) and the presented philosophies, head on over to www.ica-ef.org!


What if There Were No Exams in Schools?

June 9th, 2017



Posing such a question to academics within school halls would have once been rivalled to blasphemy in the church – but it is now gradually becoming a question that pupils, parents, and academics themselves are asking the rest of society. Communities are starting to approach the subject of education with a more open mind, wondering what potential benefits this could “alternative” approach could bring students…or is it really a recipe for disaster?
向學術界提出這個問題,就像在教會褻瀆神靈一樣—— 但對於學生、家長和學術界自身,這漸漸成為社會備受爭議的議題。公眾開始抱着更開放的心態去探討「教育」這個主題,正疑惑着這個「非主流」的學術方針能為學生帶來甚麼益處,抑或會後患無窮?


In this exclusive series, the Norton House Academic Team have presented their thoughts with regards to this seemingly “controversial” question. These views have been collected and spread out across this new series, and three main positions will be explored in further detail:
針對上述議題,Norton House 教學團隊會提出他們獨特的想法。這些觀點會被收集,隨後展開一連串的跟進,深入地探討以下三個重要問題﹕


1) Learning vs. memorisation – what’s the difference and how is this a key aspect?
學習 vs. 記憶 — 兩者差異是甚麼以及哪一個是關鍵的方面?

2) Logical development – does the order in which your child learn content affect his or her capability?
邏輯發展 — 您的孩子學習內容的順序是否影響他或她的能力?

3) Preparation – how does this effectively prepare children for the future?
準備措施 — 如何有效地為未來的孩子做好準備?


Stay tuned for these upcoming blog posts, and information related to how the beliefs upheld here at Norton House and Chinese Academy Primary School compliment an effective learning environment.
請密切留意即將上載的博客帖子,以及有關Norton House所堅持的信念和晉德學校所創造的有效學習環境的信息。


If you want to join in on the discussion, Like us on Facebook and leave your comment on this image:


What if There Were No Exams in Schools? (An Introduction…)

Learning Environments & Student Development

May 16th, 2017



An optimal learning environment is one that can help students effectively differentiate between “work” and “play”, while seamlessly integrating these two key ideals of basic human nature in an interactive setting. It is through this presented relationship of an internal classroom setting combined with an external student social area where students’ brains undergo a chemical transition, enabling them to be able to automatically prepare for “work” in an efficient manner.


Learning Environments & Student Development


This interactive student social space provides pupils with the opportunity to expel any last minute energy, and readies them for an engaging classroom environment with their peers. A key philosophy at Chinese Academy Primary School is that learning is a never ending activity which should not cease beyond classroom walls. Encouraging social development through an immersive environment is a way for students to overcome any initial fear or hesitation felt prior to meeting new people. In addition to this, it encourages and strengthens relationships once that initial connection has been made.


It is for these reasons that a truly effective learning environment is one that gives students the freedom to make decisions, and the ability to come to their own conclusion as to what approach is best for them both inside and outside of the classroom. By exposing children to such scenarios at a young age, their whole person development process is catalysed and solid foundations can be established early.




STEM Learning – Does It Live Up To The Hype?

May 4th, 2017

STEM 學習系統 是否名副其實?


STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, a learning system that several schools and learning institutes have started to adopt in recent years. So, why has this been the case? What do STEM curricula offer that previously “outdated” materials do not?




STEM courses have been reported to focus on the most hands-on and engaging subjects that are becoming more sought after in the 21st century. In fact, according to the US Department of Commerce, the growth of STEM-related jobs (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) over the last 10 years was three times that of non-STEM fields.




1) Stay Current 與時俱進

In today’s current technology-based society, one thing is for certain – it is always changing. People now use technology in aspects of their life never before imagined, like ordering cabs, paying for purchases, and even finding friends. The demand for people who can actually create these innovative ideas from scratch is immense, and STEM effectively prepares students for platforms such as this in the future.



2) Be More Innovative 不斷創新

Not all ingenious inventions are created from scratch – perhaps you notice an improvement that could be made to enhance a product/service significantly, you can build on currently exists! Innovation is something a lot of people seem to forget about, but there are always improvements that can be made depending on which angle you approach a situation with.



3) Make A Difference 讓一切不同

Innovation, technology, awareness. When these elements are combined, using your STEM knowledge to improve society can truly change the world. Look at 17 year old Boyan Slat and his Ocean Cleanup invention he was able to establish due to sufficient knowledge in STEM-based materials – TIME Magazine called it “one of the world’s best inventions of 2015”.

創新,科技,認知。當這一切結合,運用STEM學到的知識,就一定可以改變世界。17歲的Boyan Slat和他的海洋清潔發明,就是在學習STEM之後獲得的靈感。時代雜誌稱這項發明為,2015全球最佳發明之一。


4) Fosters – & Benefits From – Creativity 從培養創新能力中受益

Pick up practical skills required for your future education! While STEM courses may sound logic based and full of numbers, they actually enable students to exercise their creativity in modern and practically applicable ways. Give life to your ideas, and create something fresh!

從未來的教育中獲得實踐能力!STEM課程中為學生夯實邏輯基礎,讓學生不斷 提升創造力和實踐能力。為你的想法賦予生命,創造新事物!




Experience Norton House’s newly launched Accelerated Enrichment Programme (AEP), where students explore the amazing world of science and prepare for secondary-level material with our Brilliance Series! Enrol into Norton House’s Summer Programme 2017, as we will bring the best of international education to your classroom.

快來體驗Norton House全新AEP課程,學生可以探索神秘的科學世界,並可為將來課程打下基礎!即刻報名Norton House2017暑期課程,我們將為你帶來一流的國際教育!千萬不要錯過此次機會,透過2972 2698 或 WhatsApp 9077 2490 暸解課程信息!

Explore the science and technology behind flight with our critically acclaimed Aerodynamics & Space course, or develop your critical thinking with our Mastermind & Deduction units! Do not miss the chance to experience these critically acclaimed courses this summer, contact us via 2972 2698 or WhatsApp 9077 2490 for booking information!


Trump + Brexit = ? For Education

April 13th, 2017

特朗普+脫毆= 對教育影響幾多?

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore

Let’s see…Donald Trump has been in office for less than 5 months, and England has yet to leave the EU, yet these two seemingly “pre-mature” events have had notable effects on academic institutions that have been standing strong for almost 1,000 years! This article explores the ways in which this has happened, and how you as an international student can learn from these recent political and social changes.


The Guardian stated that applications from countries within the EU to UK universities have declined by as much as 7%, according to mid-January data. The initial fear that academic institutions were experiencing once Brexit was confirmed is starting to actualise, and students are beginning to worry.


So why are students so unsure about their academic future in the UK or the US? The reason simply comes down to the available prospects a fresh international graduate can enjoy once their university career is over. Students were already reporting difficulty in landing a career with high job satisfaction with a company that is willing to sponsor a working visa, yet the inauguration of Donald Trump and Brexit have made the entire process much more unscrupulous.


As for the US specifically, colleges across Canada have received an unusual amount of applications as well as online traffic – more evidence that students are starting to look beyond America for higher education and settle elsewhere. This follows the pattern of unusually high web traffic for searches related to “Canadian Visas” once Trump’s victory was confirmed back in November 2016, and we can now see that it is not just the older generation who are starting to worry about their futures.


A specific example can be seen with the University of Toronto, as they received 70% more applications from North American students than previous years. This news has analysts predicting that the education market and reputation in the US will take a damaging hit for years to come.


A solution? By all means, continue to apply to US or UK universities, but do not expect job offers to come flying at you once you graduate, especially if you are an international student. Who knows, perhaps it will be easier to get into prestigious UK or US universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Yale & Harvard now with offshore students flocking elsewhere for their tertiary journeys. Alternatively, apply to university in Hong Kong!


Dr. Aaron Lau is a PhD Graduate from Oxford University in chemistry, and is an integral part of the Admission Coaching Team here at Norton House. Dr. Lau also tutors our talented students in the areas of mathematics, science, and social humanities.

What Confucius Can Do For Your Education

April 8th, 2017


What Confucius Can Do For Your Education

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucius

“生而知之者,上也;學而知之者,次也;困而學之者,又其次也;困而不學,民斯為下矣!” – 孔子


In summary, Confucius (September 28, 551 BC – 479 BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician and philosopher during the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. The philosophy of Confucius placed an emphasis on personal as well as governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, and sincerity.



Confucius’s educational approach can be effectively explained and categorised according to eight different “theories”; Theory of Value, Knowledge, Human Nature, Learning, Transmission, Society, Opportunity, and Consensus.



Theory of Value; what knowledge and skills are worth learning? What are the goals of education? Simply put, cultivate oneself according to one’s character through observation, study, and reflective thinking.



Theory of Knowledge; what is knowledge? How is it different from belief? What is a mistake? What is a lie? Recognise greatness and follow suit, decipher negative behaviour and learn from other people’s shortcomings.



Theory of Human Nature; what is a human being? How does it differ from other species? What are the limits of human potential? Nature is good, and each nature is good – as long as it does not affect other nature’s journeys or get interfered with by others.



Theory of Learning; what is learning? How are skills and knowledge acquired? “Study without thought is labour lost; thought without study is dangerous.”



Theory of Transmission; who is to teach? By what methods? How will the curriculum be? Confucius required that a teacher be one who has developed their own character. Confucius, himself was a teacher, and his methods were very informal and tailored to the individual.



Theory of Society; what is society? What institutions or places of learning are involved with education? In Confucius’s 2 books, he states that society starts with the individual, and that must first develop to eventually develop one’s family. The family serves as a model for the community, and the community as a model for the state.



Theory of Opportunity; who is to be educated? Who is to be schooled? “Developing in accordance with one’s own nature is called “the way of self-realisation”. Proper pursuit of the way of self-realisation is called “maturation.””.



Theory of Consensus; why do people disagree? How is consensus achieved? Whose opinion takes precedence? Confucius did not believe one person was the possessor of the truth. He believed that through rational discussion the truth could be worked out.



It is for these reasons that an international environment combined with a Confucian approach when it comes to education is highly sought after. An all-rounded systematic curriculum combined with the upholding of traditional Chinese beliefs and cultural elements.

The Norton Archives is a source for exclusive academic opinions and news, which is why we are proud to bring you a sneak peek of a soon-to-be opened institution known as Chinese Academy, supported by the International Chinese Academy Education Foundation (ICAEF). Chinese Academy will be a school that encapsulates the values of both Chinese and Western cultures, with an emphasis on Confucianism in an attempt to bring high quality education to prospective pupils in Hong Kong. Visit the Chinese Academy website for more information, and keep your eyes peeled on the local news over the weekend!

一個國際社會需要融合孔子教育思想,才能讓教育被高度認可,全方位系統性的課程融合傳統中文化思想元素。Norton Archives 是學術觀點與資訊的綜合機構,我們特此為大家介紹即將開幕的機構晉德學校,此機構由晉德書院教育基金助。晉德學校將會是融合中西文化的學校,同時特別注重孔子教育,希望以此提升香港學生的教學質素。瀏覽晉德學校官方網站獲取更多最新資訊,同時關注週末期間的本地新聞喔!


Like Norton House, Chinese Academy has a strong link with Oxbridge scholars, where students of Norton House and Chinese Academy can benefit from the cutting edge educational research performed by Oxford University. They can also enjoy academic exchange tours to Oxford and Cambridge in order to experience life at the world’s best universities.

Norton House一直致力提供最高質素教育,讓我們學生可以獲得入讀牛津劍橋等頂尖學府最充足準備。我們去年跟晉德基金合作進行牛劍入學研究,並且會利用有關結果更進一步為我們學生籌劃升學策略。

Fun Learning, Does It Make Sense?

February 9th, 2017

快樂學習 這真的可能嗎?

Fun Learning, Does It Make Sense?

A recent article on the recruitment of the Professor of Play from Cambridge has certainly stirred much interest in the world of academia. This position advocates for academics to be conducted with an open imagination and “childlike mind-set” to fill the role in the Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development and Learning (PEDAL).


Apart from flat dough, tiny bricks are probably the most popular and famous product ever made by Denmark, and it is little wonder that this giant toy company has invested heavily in PEDAL and the promotion of play in education.


Vested interest aside, is there any merit to the claims that playful learning is indeed the best type of learning there is? We are no strangers to a world of standardised testing, where students are subject to the same test and graded accordingly. However, this limits the imagination and lateral thinking skills of students, which are often more sought after than plain academic excellence by top universities. A truly outstanding student should not only be brilliant academically, but also have the ability to work outside the constraints of a textbook.


Having spent years in a research lab, I understand more than anyone else that the textbook is probably the last place you will find the answer to your question. There was an old saying in our research group, “if you can find the answer by reading a book, you are asking the wrong question.” Indeed, working at the cutting edge of science and technology means that there are often no known answers to the question. Often, we have to look for novel and inventive solutions to test our hypothesis and to prove our claims. This is no more different than giving a child a box of the popular Danish building blocks without the manual; they are bound to come up with something, regardless of what it may be. If they have run out of a particular piece, then they will have to use substitutes or to build without such a piece; if the structure is not stable, then modifications will have to be made in order to prevent it from collapsing.


Through playing with these popular Danish bricks I can say with a high degree of certainty that the children are having fun. Of course, they are not being forced to do it, nor do they do it in order to pass their exams; but they are doing it as an expression of their reactivity and problem solving potentials. It is also from this that we can observe learning at its best, not for exams or grading, but for education. Only by observing, understanding, and solving a problem does one truly learn from the experience, so why not make it fun whilst we are at it?



Dr. Aaron Lau is a PhD Graduate from Oxford University in chemistry, and is an integral part of the Admission Coaching Team here at Norton House. Dr. Lau also tutors our talented students in the areas of mathematics, science, and social humanities.

Emoji Translator – Is This Legit?

December 30th, 2016


Emoji Translator - Is This Legit?

Yes, you read it correctly – you can now apply to be an emoji translator based in London. Obviously this is the world’s official version of the job, and the (at the time) 2 week old ad had attracted over 100 applicants on a global scale.


The company known as Today Translations maintain that they need a specialist to help decode how emojis are used across different cultures and generations. CEO and founder Jurga Zilinskiene maintains that the use of emojis as a language will only get more common, and recognises that this is definitely “a complex area” to work with.
僱主是一家名為「今日翻譯」的公司,招聘的這位翻譯官,需要翻譯全球不同文化及年齡的使用emoji的不同意思。公司創始人兼CEO Jurga Zilinskiene表示,目前emoji已經作為一種語言被全球使用,同時,很多人看來,這也並不簡單。


So what does this mean for you as students? Well it’s a no-brainer that the younger generation use emojis far more often, and this entails several untapped areas that could be researched further and perhaps even used to our advantage. What if those who start studying with emojis demonstrate unbelievable grade improvements? What if using emojis becomes a universal language? What if we taught using emojis? Do emojis have a place in subject-specific areas such as business or psychology? The questions are endless…


Stay tuned for more articles like this, as our Oxbridge Academic Team discuss how emojis could potentially play a role within their specific fields of expertise!


How do you feel about this seemingly new and up-and-coming job prospect? Do you think emojis have an important place in society? Share this post to your Facebook and let us know!
你又是如何看到這一項工作的前景?你是否同意emoji將在社會中越來越重要?歡迎來Facebook與Norton House分享你的觀點!


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