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Learning is our hedgehog

28 April 2014

How do hedgehogs and education fit into one argument for a truly great school? Garry Russell, Head of Secondary, shows us how...

The hedgehog is an amazing creature having survived as a species, almost unchanged, for more than 15 million years. Many would put this success down to the fact that the hedgehog focuses on doing one thing really well….rolling into a ball when under threat.

In most schools I have worked in and visited there are many good things clearly going on. However, I have to be honest and say I have come across few truly great schools.

These great schools have a certain feel about them – they buzz with excitement, the school community is involved at all levels, relationships are outstanding, and students are both cared for and challenged. Most importantly these schools have a determined single-mindedness that shapes everything they do. Like the hedgehog, they have a very clear focus.

Having completed my first two terms at Regents I have been struck by a passion that runs through the whole-school. As you would expect, classrooms are full of exciting activities. Outside of the classroom I see students fully engaged in after school activities, community service, school trips, the Global Classroom…all wonderful opportunities. However, it is not just the students. Our teachers are constantly pushing themselves to be even better than they are, whether it is through sharing best practice or taking advantage of Nord Anglia Education’s brilliant online University, NAU. We have trainee teachers, student interns, gap students, newly qualified teachers, school exchanges, leadership courses and focus groups. We have support staff training and networking. We have regular meetings with parents and the Student Guild, satisfaction surveys and other opportunities for feedback. What links all of this together, what provides the single most important passion in all truly great schools, what lights our fire…is a love of learning. It is frequently said that students are most important people in a school – I would go further. Regents is a truly great school because everything we do is focused on helping our students, and our staff, become better learners. We focus on doing one thing really well. Learning is our hedgehog.

Garry Russell, Head of Secondary