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Jane Rogers has been Head of The Cavendish School, London, since April. She was previously Head of Prep at the City of London School for Girls.
 and values outlined above are clear. In practice it is embedded in our teaching and learning at all levels. Bene ts are the clarity and willingness of our pupils to express their views and their understanding of being a lifelong learner with
started out in teaching, you stepped out of the classroom and were one of the founding directors of the International School Effectiveness & Improvement Centre at the University of London. ISEIC has published various learned research papers over the years. What did your work there entail, and what element of the experience has proved pAarticularly helpful in your role as head?
My teaching and learning at the Institute of Education (now part of UCL) has been long and varied. I was  rst
appointed as a Lecturer in Primary Science and Technology Education on the Primary PGCE. I went on to be seconded to work on an NFER funded international research project on school development planning. Later I was course leader for a part time distance learning Primary PGCE. My work involved lecturing, academic writing and research as well as supervising students in schools. I learnt that teaching and learning have the same pedagogy whatever the context. A constructivist approach that builds on the work of Piaget, Bruner and Popper underpins my work as does the work
of Dweck. I was fortunate to work closely with Professor Peter Mortimore and Dr Jeni Riley among others. I learnt the value of research, data driven enquiry and challenging myself in new and unfamiliar situations. I regard both
of these colleagues as mentors who taught
me a great deal. Their energy, professionalism, organisation, determination, high expectations and focus on children are things that I re ect on and use every day in my current role.
QAlthough you graduated in Geography, you have taken a particular interest in the teaching of science and technology. There has been much talk in the media about the desirability of encouraging more young people, especially girls, into STEM subjects starting from primary-school age. Have
you any initiatives in this regard you could advocate to other school leaders?
AThese would only be other things that I am sure my peers are also involved in:
• Make STEM subjects fun, practical, exciting, relevant to everyday life
• Celebrate learning from mistakes, try, try and try again
• Make science accessible and exciting
• Provide opportunities
• Engage with female role models and parents who use STEM in their everyday lives
• Talk about science in the news
I talk a lot about wanting to be an astronaut and the hope that one day one of my pupils will achieve this. Therefore I was thrilled to offer
a tour to a prospective parent recently who
is a rocket scientist and who engaged in an impromptu question and answer session with sQome of our pupils.
The Cavendish School is non-selective at entry. Some schools who use Entrance Exams are now thinking
of dropping them to avoid stressing the applicants. Are such attempts to avoid stress a poor preparation for life ahead? Would it not be more helpful to teach young people how to manage life’s inevitable stresses rather than
QWho or what inspired you to get into teaching? Do you still teach?
was an inspirational, exciting and rigorous teacher and I remember him and his lessons with great affection. Some of my university lecturers when I was an undergraduate also ignited my interest in pedagogy.
I do still teach when I can and would like to do more. I am currently enjoying working alongside both our youngest and our oldest pupils here at The Cavendish School. I think it very important for a headteacher to be actively involved in
the classroom. It allows me to have a common understanding of the implications of our new and existing policies, a detailed knowledge of individual pupils and their needs and a shared experience with staff. The thrill of being part of the children’s learning process has never left me and I would be very unhappy to give up regular hands-on teaching.
of a school community. There is never a dull moment in a primary school and there is always humour. I regard it as a privilege to try to make a difference to children’s lives. It is important to emphasise the many positives of the role
as well as being honest about its demands.
The challenges of the role are part of the satisfaction of being stretched in many different ways. There are so many varied opportunities for learning and teaching that when I compare my working life to friends who work in
different spheres, I always feel that the variety and rewards of my work keep me engaged, interested and dare I say it, young.
Qn open mindset.
After several teaching posts in
various primary schools when you
The headteacher of my primary school, Writtle County Junior School, inspired
me to become a teacher. Mr Eveleigh
learning to handle age appropriate
stress, learning from mistakes and nurturing young children. Whilst I welcome the move to reduce stress through schools strengthening their group and online assessments, I do worry about how this might further deter candidates from applying for bursaries and having the relevant experiences in order to be successful on application. We have a situation now where a ‘Russell Group’ of schools has developed their own separate and individual assessment strategies. I
believe that Prep Schools can do even more to support parents to have an honest and realistic expectation of where their children will be happiest and most successful and to update them as the assessment process develops over time. This is particularly important within our community where many parents were not educated within the UK system.
from the workload, challenges, and responsibilities of the top job. You took the plunge and made the move; how would you now encourage others to try likewise?
ttempt to run away from them?
There needs to be a balance between
There is said to be a looming shortage of heads, with deputies shrinking away
I am fortunate in that I love my work. Of course there are challenges but
there is also much joy in being part
Independent Schools Magazine 21

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