History

Despite the major changes in Uplands history, the School’s spirit and world class standards remain unchanged if not higher, with the beginning of a new era that promises to live up to its proud past.

From a Top Hill

The founding of Uplands School dates from the period of the Malayan Emergency when a communist insurrection threatened the country’s peace and stability. Attacks by insurgents against rubber estates led the Incorporated Society of Planters – I.S.P to seek a safe location where expatriate planters could send their young children to school while keeping them in Malaya.

Penang Hill was identified as a suitable location and the I.S.P leased the premises of the former Crag Hotel on Penang Hill to open a new Primary Boarding School for approximately 60 children in mid-January 1955. Among its first pupils were children from a small private school called Uplands which had been run from a bungalow on Penang Hill before 1955. This small school was subsequently absorbed into the I.S.Ps new school. It is very likely that because the new School stood for high standards in education and was also at some altitude, it was seen as fitting that the name Uplands also be adopted and its students referred to as Uplanders.

Attacks by Insurgents

Attacks by insurgents against rubber estates led the Incorporated Society of Planters - I.S.P to seek a safe location where expatriate planters could send their young children to school while keeping them in Malaya.

The School had two parts – most of the buildings being at the Crag Hotel site, whilst the kindergarten was in Grace Dieu. Another bungalow – Hillview -was also converted to be part of the School in 1965 to house the growing number of students. One highlight of that period on Penang Hill was the visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 1972.

Students at Uplands were either full boarders, or, if their parents lived in Penang, weekly boarders. To take them back to the School, the Hill Railway had to be used. In 1976, day students were accepted at the School. A year later in 1977, the Secondary Department was started.

To Kelawei Campus

In 1977, Uplands left Penang Hill for its new home down at sea level, occupying the former St. Xavier’s Branch School on Kelawei Road in Pulau Tikus. The Boarding House was set-up nearby in an elegant mansion along Burmah Road and later moved on to York Road for a brief period in early 1990s. It was not until 1988 that Uplands acquired the use of the former St Joseph’s Novitiate, a beautiful heritage building behind the Primary School facing Gurney Drive and the sea – in a move that finally brought the whole school including boarders, together on the same campus.

Although with the move down from Penang Hill, the name Uplands – no longer being quite as apt for its location – was been retained to preserve its historical roots. Becoming known officially as:

The International School of Penang (Uplands)

not only retains our heritage, but also illustrates our evolution into a modern School with an international curriculum, faculty and student body; at the same time retaining the initials I.S.P which it shares with our founders.

To Our Own Home

After 28 years in Pulau Tikus and 50 years in leased accommodation, Uplands experienced its biggest change of all, a move to our very own brand new purpose-built campus in Batu Feringgi.

On September 9, 2006 hundreds of guests including the Schools governors, Consuls, Heads of Schools, parents and students gathered at the new campus to witness a most significant milestone of Uplands history- Grand Opening by the then Chief Minister of Penang at the time, YAB Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon. The event celebrated almost a decade of searching for appropriate land, planning and overcoming setbacks to finally the realise of the School’s vision to have its own permanent home.

Despite the major changes in Uplands history, the School’s spirit and world class standards remain unchanged if not higher, with the beginning of a new era that promises to live up to its proud past. The journey does not end here, the School will continue to move forward in its quest for excellence and the universal values it instills in all it students, past, present and future.

Respect for Self. Respect for Others