Page 24 - Independent Schools Magazine
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  Born: 1967
Married: Katrina; two children Emma (16) and Miles (14),both at Sidcot
Schools and University:
The High School of Stirling, Stirling University (BA in English), Edinburgh University (PGCE and Master in Education)
First job: 1985, Royal Bank of Scotland, working in branches and head of ce departments
First management job:
Head of Expressive Arts, Strathallan School, 2000
First job in education:
Assistant Master at Strathallan teaching English in 1995
Appointed to current job:
September 2012
Favourite piece of music:
Messiah by Handel
Favourite food:
Haggis, ‘neeps and tatties
Favourite drink:
Thatcher’s Gold cider or a nice glass of red wine
Favourite holiday destination:
Perthshire in Scotland
Favourite leisure pastime:
Going to the theatre, especially to see opera
Favourite TV or radio programme/series: House of Cards and the Today programme (Radio 4)
Suggested epitaph:
He had a remarkably good sense of humour for a Scotsman!
 Pro le In conversation with Iain Kilpatrick
QYou were educated in Scotland and spent your teaching career there before moving to Sidcot. What struck you most about the differences between a Scottish and an English Aeducation when you settled south of the border?
My experience in Scotland was quite varied. The  rst school I taught at offered A Levels in addition to Scottish Highers.
in our relationships are qualities that endure. We are interested in educating our students to think for themselves and bring integrity and resilience to their lives long after they leave school. In the complex and complicated world our young people are going into these values, which stem from our Quaker
The second, only offered Scottish quali cations. One of the attractions of Sidcot was the choice of IB in addition to A Levels in the Sixth Form. I am a greater believer that one size doesn’t  t all when it comes to education and the choice of course is fundamental to a young person having the best
What is the Sidcot ‘Learning Wheel’? Is it a model which could be copied by a school without such a  rm Quaker ethos
hances of success. cQ
Our curriculum is mapped to our values and culture through our Learning Wheel, which ensures our culture and values are central
to our teaching and learning, and are experienced in every classroom, every day.
The Learning Wheel shows the thinking behind what we do in and out of the classroom and how our values inform our approach to education. We aim to develop our students academically but what’s also equally important to us is a focus on developing students’ emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills, their social awareness and their sense of community. We are not here to develop experts in rote learning and regurgitating facts.
These values are not exclusive to Quakers. I believe they will resonate with those schools, like Sidcot, who are also focused on preparing students to take their place in the world as global citizens. These future leaders will need to be curious, open- minded and con dent in examining evidence and making decisions based on critical reasoning. Our Learning Wheel is therefore a model for schools which strive for an inspirational education which is as much about nurturing the spirit as it is about academic outcomes.
Sidcot is a Quaker school with a history stretching back to 1699. It was one of the  rst co-ed schools in the country when
it welcomed girls in 1808. Recent independent research indicates that an education based on Quaker values can make a real difference to student outcomes and well-being. How would you Asummarise those values and their bene ts?
Joining the Sidcot community has shown me how the Quaker values of equality, truth and respect make a quanti able difference
to our students’ academic outcomes and their school experience. We have recently taken part
in a research study with the University of Bristol which has validated this approach. The study, which involved four Quaker schools, examined the relationship between students’ perception of our schools and their engagement with learning. It pinpointed the open and respectful relationship between teachers and pupils as the cornerstone to our success. It suggested the open, respectful and supportive culture results in students who are less anxious and stressed and therefore are more open
Sidcot philosophy. Was this something you always subscribed to, or is it something which you – as a non-Quaker – have come to realise more since your Acurrent appointment?
As a non-Quaker, I have rather developed the zeal of the convert when it comes to values in education. The early Quakers
were instructed to ‘answer that of God in everyone’. I believe that ‘God’ and ‘good’ are interchangeable terms depending on your point of view, but the basic principle of maintaining optimism and openness
Qo learning, achieving success naturally.
You are well-known for an approach to education where school is not just about passing exams. This dovetails with the
The 600 students at Sidcot hail from 30 different countries, and must bring
an interesting global perspective to life at the school and how you teach. Your recent appointment of a Director of Peace and Global Studies won widespread headlines, but what Aimpact has this had in the classroom?
Having a global perspective with a focus on preparing students to take their place in the world as global citizens
eritage, seem both contemporary and essential. hQ
Aunderpinning its work?
has long been at the heart of our approach
at Sidcot. We were very proud to cement this philosophy by being the  rst UK school to appoint a Director of Peace and Global Studies who leads our drive to embed Peace and Global Studies throughout the curriculum.
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