Laura Bispham, Rugby School Japan’s Deputy Principal (Academic) arrived in Japan with her family at the beginning of January 2023. We caught up with Mrs Bispham, who is currently laying the groundwork for “a transformative” educational experience for pupils at RSJ.
What does Rugby School Japan’s vision mean to you?
Unashamedly academic, yet focused on the whole person as the whole point: the vision of Rugby School Japan is one that resonates with my own educational philosophy, fashioned from a career that has taken me to teach in the very highest calibre of British and international boarding and day schools. For me, the academic, pastoral and co-curricular sides of a school are complementary elements of the same ambition – that is to enable each and every student to become the very best version of themselves so that they are able to make a positive difference to the world around them.
What are your first impressions of Japan, and the RSJ team?
My first impressions are of the Japan winter season with stunning blue skies and a most impressive view of Mount Fuji that I wake up to every morning. It is so good to be working alongside the RSJ team in person: the ideas are flying, momentum is building, and it is a privilege to be part of such an exciting venture.
Your views on the RSJ campus?
Walking the campus is already helping the bring the vision of RSJ to life: we are moving from ‘concept’ to ‘concrete’! The architecture is going to be a balance of heritage and modern, inspiring and homely, but it is the amount of open, green space that will make this campus particularly unique and a wonderful environment for nurturing the hearts and minds of our school community.
(RSJ Campus, Kashiwanoha Smart City, Chiba)
As Deputy Head (Academic) what are your ambitions for the RSJ curriculum?
In taking responsibility for the academic side of the School, my ambition is to make the curriculum truly transformative. The unashamedly academic ambition of Rugby School Japan is naturally rooted in Rugby UK’s 450 year history of academic strength. Striving to become a sector-leading international school, teaching and learning is at the heart of what we are doing. We believe that mental responsiveness and intellectual agility are important skills, which are well tested in exams, and it is our vision to achieve excellent exam results, year on year, at A level and IGCSE. Students at RSJ will have the benefit of fantastic educational facilities and highly qualified staff. They will learn what is needed to prepare fully for public examinations but, more than that, they will develop a love of learning which stays with them long after they have left the School. Academic enrichment will be embedded in a student’s weekly life and they will be encouraged to try new things, take risks within a supportive environment and see themselves achieve more than they ever thought possible.
Your relationships with RSJ parents so far?
I really enjoyed the weekend Campus Tour event which brought a lot of interested families to meet with the RSJ team. There were some great questions asked about the nature of RSJ as a boarding school, as well as more specific questions about academic routes and English language support. Overall, I have been encouraged by the interest that is being gathered amongst our prospective parents, and relationship building such as this will be a very important part of our partnership with the wider community.
What are you most looking forward to, upon the School’s opening?
A school without pupils is not a school. I am most looking forward to walking the corridors of the school during the first day of lessons in the Autumn Term, seeing our pupils engaging with one another, their teachers and their learning, and to be able to say that we have our first generation of RSJ Rugbeians in the making!
Key messages for anyone interested in learning more about the RSJ ethos and School Life?
Fundamentally, RSJ’s existence is about providing a transformative education focused on the whole child. We want to get to know each child and their family in order to better understand how RSJ might be the right place for them to flourish. Please come and have a chat with us so that we can start this important conversation.
For more information about the topics covered in Mrs Bispham’s article, kindly see the links below.
RSJ Upcoming Events HERE
RSJ Admissions HERE
Announcing our RSJ Deputy Heads (Oct 2022) HERE
Email RSJ: firstname.lastname@example.org