In August 2020, we will welcome Mr. Andy Puttock as our new Principal at La Côte International School Aubonne. With over 30 years of experience as an educator and leader, Mr. Puttock brings a wealth of knowledge in international education to the position. As the now former Global Education Director for Nord Anglia Education (NAE), he has been instrumental in driving NAE’s strategy for building an outstanding education for their students worldwide.
Andy tells us that, as a Principal, he strives to see every member of a school community flourish, and passionately believes that if a school environment manages to foster a motivation to ‘dare to dream’, students will achieve way beyond what we, or they ever thought possible. Andy says: “We also have the same hopes for our colleagues and our community. Schools serve students first, but also entire communities, and as a school, we strive to open up all sorts of possibilities. The best compliment I was ever paid was when a colleague in a previous school, who had worked at the school for 25 years, told me it had become a real ‘learning organisation’ for everyone.”
“Holistic education“, Andy continues, “must be at the core of what we offer our students – parents of course want high academic achievement, but sport, the arts, public speaking, self-confidence, team-work – all essential 21st century skills - are critically important to everyone’s development. It is no coincidence that the best academic schools worldwide also have great sports, arts, debating and a focus on nurturing all-round global citizens. “
Andy tells us that parents often ask him what the term ‘personalised learning‘ means, a phrase most schools talk about with regards to knowing every individual student well and adapting the learning provision to their needs. Andy says that many schools limit their vision to this, and therefore do not expand on the opportunities that really lie in an ambitious personalised offer. He explains: “These aims are doubtless important, and as a school, we will be committed to them, but there is much more to it. Students don’t know what their talents and passions will be – true personalised learning means giving them a world of opportunity to explore and discover. It also means supporting them through experimentation and failure, picking them up again. And it means offering opportunities for true excellence in their chosen field.“
Andy’s vision for La Côte International School Aubonne is one of warmth, togetherness and community. He sets out to build an environment that feels like a second family, where everyone is equally valued, respected and welcome. He stresses that it is of utmost importance to him that everyone working at the school is accessible, transparent, and as open as they can be. Andy details, “As a school, we must cherish feedback, good and bad, and want the school to be a place which students, colleagues and parents see as like a second home.”
“Building an identity for a school takes a lot of listening to students, colleagues and parents to understand the true spirit. What I want us all to engage in are questions like these: How has LCIS developed over time? What would people like their school to be? How can we ensure that every single student is proud to be part of our family? I really want to see students who can’t wait to put their uniform on rather than can’t wait to take it off, and we will get there if we communicate with one another.”
In fact, he says, “Communication is absolutely key, and visibility is something I try to live by – hopefully, everyone at the school will see me a lot. My credo with parents and colleagues, if you will, is that email is good, a phone call is better, but seeing each other face to face it better still.”
Asked about his background and how his personal life has influenced his thoughts about education, Andy tells us that he has been the Head of three schools and has always had his own children in the school. “My children have all achieved highly academically but had very different strengths; all strong on sports, one son gifted in Maths, the other in language, my daughter strong academically but also gifted artistically as a singer and in the fine arts. My wife is trained as a Biology teacher; my daughter is studying law and one son is a lawyer, the other is a teacher, so there is clearly something in the genes!” he laughs.
“One of the comments that I will always cherish was by an American parent who said to me: “Here, you make the school fit the child, not the child fit the school.”
We can’t wait to welcome Andy to LCIS.