NLCS People

Dave Harrison

Year 5 Form Tutor & Junior School Computing Subject Lead

 

Dave Harrison Website

“Teaching such curious and energetic pupils never gets old! It’s exactly what I think teaching should be like. It’s no wonder that the staffroom is such a happy place, we are teaching such bright young minds all day.”

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I teach Year 5. It’s one of my favourite year groups to teach as, at this age, the children are ready to become fully independent and intellectually mature learners, but they still laugh at my silly jokes! I’m also in charge of Education Technology in the Junior School and have worked closely with the IT Support Department to transform our Ed-Tech offering over the past 5 years.

I love primary teaching because I’ve always loved learning lots of different subjects. I would find it very hard to choose one subject to teach all day! Having said that, I have a growing interest in Computer Science and how we can prepare primary-age children for the tech-filled world that they will live and work in.

I joined NLCS in 2018 after 6 years of teaching in the state sector. I was instantly attracted to the beautiful grounds and happy atmosphere here. I remember the Year 6’s who showed me around saying that they were “never ever bored at school”. After that, I was sold! It’s clear that the school values every subject, and that’s why we have a very broad and varied curriculum. Every single day in an NLCS Junior School classroom is so different. One moment, the girls are presenting historical exhibitions, and the next, they are deep diving into the themes of gothic literature, all before running out to play netball or go swimming.

I’ve learnt to embrace lots of new opportunities, just as our pupils do. I’ve had the chance to develop our intellectual character ‘learning friends’, I’ve been in charge of chess and taken the teams to many competitions. More recently, I’ve taken on the role of computing subject lead in the Junior School. I have also had the opportunity to complete leadership training.

Teaching such curious and energetic pupils never gets old! It’s exactly what I think teaching should be like. It’s no wonder that the staffroom is such a happy place, we are teaching such bright young minds all day.

I foster a culture of teamwork, compassion, and curiosity. My values are very closely aligned with the values of the school. It’s easy to give your all to a workplace like that!

Jess Bedi

Deputy Head, Academic (Acting) & Teacher of English

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“I am lucky enough to teach English to students who are intellectually-curious, creative and receptive to new ideas. It is a joy to introduce them to a wide variety of Literature from different periods, and I learn greatly from their responses to texts.”

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Being involved in the extra-curricular life of the school is tremendously enjoyable and enriching. I am constantly impressed by the resourcefulness and energy of the students in a wide variety of areas.

The art of teaching is greatly valued at NLCS and as teachers we continue to reflect on and develop our own practice (however long we have been teaching!). The staffroom is distinctive for the friendly and collegiate atmosphere and we share good practice through frequent mutual lesson observation. We benefit from a rich continued professional development programme that consists of regular varied INSET sessions as well as plenty of opportunities to increase our subject expertise further. NLCS has always been a pioneering school and it is exciting to be a part of such an innovative and forward-thinking community.

Tom Boase

Technical Theatre Manager

Tom Boase Website

“I enjoy working at NLCS because of the calibre of the students, they have such a drive to understand and master subjects that it makes working with them really engaging.”

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I’m the Performing Arts Centre Technical Theatre Manager. My job is to keep the PAC running on a daily basis and provide technical guidance for all events coming through the venue. This could be as simple as an assembly or as complex as a whole school musical. I run several clubs over a week, teaching students about technical theatre and production design, all are well attended and from this, students can take on leading roles in the running of productions. I also help out across school with anything sound or lighting related, so recording concerts or lighting art pieces.

I’d describe myself as a maker and a breaker – I have always been obsessed with making, maintaining and understanding mechanical and electronic devices anywhere I see them. I originally started in music production, cutting my teeth mixing sound for bands and musicals but became distracted by the bright lights of theatre about a decade ago while studying music technology at university. From there I worked in school theatre, events and fringe shows before studying for my Masters about three years ago and joining NLCS in 2021.

I chose to come to NLCS because of the stunning theatre. For a school to have facilities like this is really special and so the opportunity to work in a venue like the PAC every day is a real privilege, there are so many ways we can use the space and it makes each event different and interesting for me. The school site is also really nice to be on, having a pond brimming with wildlife just outside the venue is really great to look at.

I enjoy working at NLCS because of the calibre of the students, they have such a drive to understand and master subjects that it makes working with them really engaging. Students lead many of the activities taking place around school on a daily basis so seeing what interests them and helping to facilitate these activities is great fun.

I enjoy the variety of creative tasks I am able to do here, from designing the technical elements of whole school shows to creating puppets and odd props, I’ve always got something to chew over or figure out. Being able to pass on my knowledge to students and have them run shows in the PAC is incredibly rewarding to do also.
 

Karine Bonnal

Head of French

Karine Bonnal

“Impossible n’est pas français” – Napoléon, is the motto I have above my school desk, and for me, it encapsulates what teaching at NLCS is like ie: everything is possible. I share this motto with my pupils, my tutees and my department at the start of every year. Aiming high, taking risks, exploring new avenues is what I am encouraging the students to do.”

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As a native speaker, my aim has always been to share my passion for my language and culture, whether it be through unravelling the intricacies of the language and its grammar or taking students to a French speaking country or to an Art exhibitions, film premières as part of the London film festival, to attending literary talks by renowned francophone writers at the French Institute or even go to the National Theatre for a French rap concert! It is absolutely essential to get students to understand and appreciate that language and culture are inextricably linked and that getting a deeper understanding of a language is key to understanding its culture and people.

What makes the school unique is the level of academic ambition as well as the strong emphasis placed on pastoral care. My role as a form tutor is as important to me as my role as an MFL teacher and Head of French. Smaller tutor groups enable us to get to know each and every girl very well and to see them progress and blossom over the years is a real pleasure.

I always tell my students that if they landed in France or another French speaking country, as if by magic, I would like to think that they would feel very much at home and that they would be able to cope because what they have been taught in class is authentic French and not “textbook French”. I firmly believe that the French department equips students with not only the ability to communicate, but also with life skills and values such as the tolerance, open-mindedness and the ability to embrace differences.

Chao Cox

Director of Junior School Music

Chao Cox Website

“The girls are able to sing, play, conduct, arrange, compose, use music software and so much more that I wouldn’t expect a primary school age could achieve. Their joy and commitment to music has totally inspired me to carry on learning and become a better teacher.”

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I am the Director of Junior School Music. I oversee Junior School music from Reception to Year 6. I teach weekly music lessons Y3-6 and direct 5 choirs, orchestra, chamber group and organise 16 ensembles (and even run a running club).  I believe what I do could be one of the most enjoyable jobs at school. Because I can sing and play the silliest and craziest songs; the children still think it’s the best! I have great privilege to work closely with our outstanding first and senior schools’ music colleagues and liaise with 26 brilliant visiting music teachers.

When I was age 6, my primary music teacher Mrs Qiao asked me to conduct the national anthem for the whole school at the assembly. This event started my love for music and made me want to become Mrs Qiao who inspired young children to love and enjoy music. Nearly every day of my 22 years of music teaching I have been creating, playing or talking passionately about music. Being a music teacher has certainly given me the sense of accomplishment and personal fulfilment. Since having taught music from nursery to A level, I love primary age group. I get the opportunity to watch the children grow from beginners to confident singers, instrumentalists and composers.

After 16 years teaching in China and UK state and independent schools as a Head of Music, I joined NLCS in 2018.  I was instantly attracted to the vibrant and strong music culture, in particular choral tradition at school. It was clear to me at interview that the students here are bright, talented and keen to learn; the staff are very welcoming and friendly.

At NLCS Junior School, every day I never come into teaching totally prepared for how girls surprise me with their musical skills and knowledge and I learn so much about music from them. The girls are able to sing, play, conduct, arrange, compose, use music software and so much more that I wouldn’t expect a primary school age could achieve. Their joy and commitment to music has totally inspired me to carry on learning and become a better teacher.

Following up on the choral tradition, I have started an annual choral workshop inviting top well-known choral conductors to school. I directed Canons Choir winning two national choral competitions for the 1st time in junior school’s history.  I’ve had the chance to develop new ensembles from 6 main dominate groups to today’s 16 variety ensembles. I’ve built strong music partnerships with local primary schools and organise singing festivals and teacher training.

The school provides such wide and broad musical opportunities to all the girls, whatever their level. The shows, concerts and trips are part of my students’ school memories long after leaving school and that is a gift the music give to them all.

NLCS music department here is a vibrant and inspiring place. It has a strong culture to support every student to develop their knowledge, aspirations, confidence, empathy, character and a life-long love for music.

Henry Linscott

Teacher of Classics & Director of IB

Henry Linscott

“I started my teaching journey here and it has been a huge privilege to be part of the North London community: working with such highly motivated students and their diverse interests is all a teacher can ask for.”

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I have been teaching at NLCS since 2012 and during that time I have also completed a PhD in Greek Law at UCL. The School has been hugely supportive in enabling me to complete my teaching qualifications and conducting my own research, which in turn has enabled me to incorporate the latest work that is being done in the field of Classics to help inspire students.

The School provides huge numbers of opportunities for staff to broaden their own horizons and to pass their expertise on through lessons, but also through the programme of lectures that allow us to indulge and share our own research interests. This gives students a far richer education and we encourage them always to explore their own interests and conduct their own research giving the school a uniquely enjoyable academic experience.

As the School’s IB Coordinator I am also responsible for inspiring students to think about their studies holistically and to build the skills to be future world citizens. As a researcher myself and a former Head of Careers I am passionate that students see the connections between their subjects and learn to carve out their own niches in their areas of interest. The range of students, their ambition and enthusiasm are really exciting and it is thrilling to see how NLCS fosters their spirit of enquiry and endeavour.

Lisa Timm

Teacher of Chemistry and Assistant Head: Digital Strategy and Partnerships

Lisa Timm

“Teaching students who genuinely love learning and enjoy developing their understanding makes every day a new and exciting challenge. “

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The inspiration that comes as a teacher from being allowed to pursue and expand your own interests is what allows us to convey the same inspiration and enthusiasm to our students. Chemistry is a subject students pursue for a variety of reasons, all of which have at heart the wish to improve the world we live in.

The School provides both its students and staff with an immense wealth of opportunities. I love having the opportunity to develop our students’ experiences of such a significant set of disciplines, to prepare them for a future we cannot yet envisage. NLCS students are inquisitive and relish every opportunity to question their own understanding and status quo, which makes exploring the impact of innovation on current affairs and the future such a joy.

Nayen Vaghjiani

Teacher of Mathematics

Nayen Vaghjiani

“I love teaching the students, they are always so enthusiastic and keen to learn and apply their knowledge, making everyday a joy to teach.”

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I believe that one of the most exciting aspects of mathematics is the element of discovery. With the students’ level of intrigue, investigations and problems can be enjoyed to the fullest. Their mathematical excellence never ceases to amaze me, always hungry for new challenges and to be stretched further.

I am fortunate to have begun my teaching career at NLCS as the opportunities available are vast and plentiful for both students and teachers alike. It is wonderful to see the passion that the students have in and out of the classroom. With the numerous societies and clubs available, coupled with the students’ genuine thirst for knowledge, NLCS makes for a wonderful teaching environment. Teachers are also encouraged to develop their pedagogical and subject-specific understanding, with many CPD opportunities both in and out of the School.