Danny Wang – A Personal Profile
As we had the pleasure of hosting some of the team from Full Circle last week it was only appropriate that the next interview be with Group Managing Director Danny Wang. We hope you enjoy this as much as we did.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your involvement in the School.
My relationship with this country began when I studied here. I studied at a London secondary school for two years, then I went to Cambridge University for four years. I set up my own education company the first day after I graduated. It’s very natural for me to think about how I can bring together my connections in China with the good educational resources here in the UK. That was my first thought about education. I started off by bringing students from China to Cambridge for summer camps and later went on to running schools. The first school was a language school in London. At that time, Laurence Gribble (Deputy Director of Full Circle) brought me here and asked me to look at the School. Of course, without my family’s involvement and support I wouldn’t have had the resources to follow through with such a project.
I also run a charity in Hong Kong where we work to set up schools in Southeast Asia; Laurence is also part of this. Early next year Laurence and I are going to cycle from Hong Kong to our school in Cambodia to raise money to further develop the school. Ever since graduating, everything I have done has all been about education.
My motivation is to have a positive impact on people and life. All of the things I am trying to do now are about having a positive impact on the lives of people. This includes St Bees, building schools in Cambodia for those who don’t have the chance to go to school and bringing students from China to the UK who haven’t experienced the good education that we have here in the UK. This is the fundamental reason why I am doing what I am doing.
What is Full Circle’s vision?
Our vision is written down as ‘Fusion Schools for the World’. This is not just a slogan, it means something. ‘Fusion Schools for the World’ has 3 keywords: ‘Fusion’, ‘Schools’ and ‘World’. These three parts embody what Full Circle really means.
First of all, ‘Fusion’ means to bring the best of the East and the West. We can bring together Eastern arithmetic and the best of the soft skills and character development here in the UK. Maths is just one part of this, there are so many different things that we will be looking to bring together, that’s what Fusion is.
Then we have ‘World’. The vision of Full Circle is not just about doing things in the UK and doing things in China (which is where we have started), we have our vision for 10, 20, 30 years’ time, we are going to develop our schools across different continents. So our Vision reaches into different countries. The other keyword is ‘Schools’. You can do a lot in education, but the School is the heart of all that we do.
We’re not just going to develop St Bees here, we are going to bring the brand to China and develop St Bees in China as well. In 10 years’ time, we can be all over the world. Fusion Schools for the World as it is written down is the vision.
How will that ultimately define St Bees’ success? Is that part of being a network of all of these different schools?
One element of this is the 400 years of history at St Bees and the students it has educated. I always ask people, what makes a St Bees student? Why are St Bees students different from the other students? I will ask you this question, what is the difference between a St Bees student compared to another student?
I feel a St Bees student is more world aware because obviously in the past the School was an international community. As people, they developed more.
You touched on an important point there.
The School’s legacy, history, traditions and alumni are vital and need to be sustained. It is also about a world understanding. As St Bees was such an international community we want to bring forward Full Circle’s vision of building St Bees in different continents. We will be creating a system in which students can attend different campuses of St Bees. This means students in the UK can come to China to study in our Chinese School. Students at one St Bees campus could study at any other campus in the world.
It is no longer one way, where Chinese students come here to study, it is now a mutual relationship. Students travelling to different campuses will be able to have a closer relationship with the students of other campuses. At the same time, they can have a real international experience. They won’t have to sacrifice their study; it will be the same curriculum in another country. When they come back they will have a different perspective of the world. With Full Circle’s involvement it brings in a much bigger world concept, meaning students walking out of the St Bees door will proudly leave as the next generation of global leaders.
We believe the next generation of global leaders will understand the world and will stand on the world stage, speaking in different languages to people from different cultures. They will not just be good at academics, but will have well-rounded characters. They will be genuine and kind, with a good moral standing; the St Bees history and legacy will give them this. That’s the basis of success I want to see
here in St Bees.
You touched on this in the last answer, but why did you choose St Bees?
This is a personal point of view. Laurence is a good friend. Meeting up with him again, after he cycled from London to Hong Kong, I
asked him to join our company. He is still working with us to this day. Without the relationship we have, and him introducing the School to me I wouldn’t be sitting here now talking to you. That is the interesting part which comes from a pure friendship. I think that is more important than any big plan; it is a simple thing which allows us to progress with such an amazing project.
Forwards With Confidence – Mike Abraham
Well I hope that you enjoyed reading the interview with Danny as much as I did. It is quite a remarkable tale, and I just love the notion that St Bees will become the flagship school for the whole group. Just wonderful.
We continue to get a steady stream of new enquiries both for entry for this current year in Year 7 and for subsequent years. The Board recently approved the plan to open Years 7, 8, 9 and 12 for entry for September 2019 and we will be rolling out our development plans over the next few months.
As I am writing these few notes, the sun is streaming through the windows of the Foundation Building and the School is looking simply glorious in the early morning light. Indeed, we seem set for a rather pleasant start to September. However, I must confess that I did light the fire that has laid lifeless since the middle of May for the first time this weekend. The nights are getting chilly!
I was joined by one of my sons who came over last week to lend a hand in our preparation. He loves all things technical and set about recreating a computer room on the first floor of the business centre.
And as you can see from the picture, I think that he has done a pretty good job.
Thank you Rory! Many hands…
Forwards with confidence!