Recognise began in 2008 with just 1 student. It was Aiden, Ms Kate Rowan’s son.

Aiden had a particular style of learning that Kate felt was being neither acknowledged nor catered for, in a traditional school setting. 

She left her teaching job and started schooling Aiden at home.

Two more children, with a similar situation to Aiden’s, came to Kate’s attention.

She started teaching them too. 

Three children became five, and then eight

Lessons moved from a home setting to a classroom in an office block. Kate and the parents began to notice great changes in the children’s academic ability.

Importantly, their social confidence and personal self-esteem also grew. 


The relationships the children forged with each other and with their teacher was giving them a new sense of success and belonging.

They now enjoyed going to school whereas before, they were often feeling alienated from their peers and were afraid of failure.

Word of Ms Rowan’s services spread. 

Children without additional needs began to join the school.

It transpired that there were many families who appreciated the idea of a more personal and personalised approach to schooling. 

Within a few years Kate had 18 students. 

Kate then found a small villa in Shekou for a school house. Despite the growing numbers, she held onto the notion that the close, personalised approach was at the heart of what was important to a child’s well-being and attainment when at school.


In early 2013, Mr Ian Taylor, our now Principal and co-Director, met Kate outside a bar.

Kate was looking fraught. There were dark rings around her eyes. She had gained many rewards from the work she had been doing, but there were plenty of challenges too.

Ian was impressed with Kate’s dedication. He had worked in education for a long time and he understood the issues that she was facing. He scratched his brain to see if he could help.  

) ‘small is beautiful’, 

Ian had for some time been convinced that, in schooling terms, small was beautiful. During his time in UK and international education, he had observed after Since then, Recognise has continued to grow and improve.

Got new building

New buildings and spaces, some great new teachers, a lot more students,


Cognition was born, in order to retain commitment to SEN, but to also allow the mainstream to grow. 

And grow it did 

 We joined the houses together


And made them look nice

 And developed and refined provision, and introduced the UK curriculum


And this attracted more children and teachers. We stayed international and did not court local enrolments

Along the way, we had lots of help from some very special people

Together, we all continued to do our very best to teach every child to the best of our, and their, ability. 

And grew community support and relationships

And refined and defined the RIA model and approach

We had lots of fun too. 

and a strong connection with the local community have all contributed to making Recognise a unique and wonderful school. We presently have a capacity of 78 students, and we have children from over 30 countries who are enjoying our boutique style of education.

now has strong reputation, and is looking good for the future.  The Recognise vision, is to prove the viability and educational benefits of a small school approach within the market of international education. 

Recognise is excited about the future. We feel our small-scale approach is something of real value. We are witnessing students make remarkable academic progress and at the same time, developing those personal qualities that we all wish for in our children. There is a great sense of team spirit amongst all those involved with RIA and we are very grateful to all the many people who have supported our philosophy and work.