I’m new to London and St James this year and have enjoyed being welcomed into the school community so warmly. While I’m originally from the South West of England, growing up near Bath, I have been living in Prague, Czech Republic, for the past seven years, teaching in an international school. The opportunity to live and work as an immigrant was one I would recommend to everyone, and I learned so much from the diverse and wonderful children and families I met while abroad.

I have also been lucky enough to travel across Europe and the world while based in Prague, though opportunities have been somewhat thin on the ground recently… Living and working through multiple lockdowns in a country not my own was a somewhat disconcerting experience, but one that I learned lots from too, and which certainly made me appreciate my privileges. It has been wonderful to be back home nearer family and able to enjoy the cultural and gastronomic delights of London. For all the beauty of Prague, Czech cuisine was never my favourite. Working at a vegetarian school is a welcome change of pace!

Other than teaching (and eating) I can be found wandering bookshops or searching for the best coffee shops (grinding my own beans every morning in the staffroom is a little ritual of mine). I studied history as an undergrad so I also love museums, the lovely architecture of West London, and musicals about American founding fathers.

What attracted you to St James?

I was struck right away by the warmth and friendliness of St James.; the fact that it was a place where kids, teachers and families were happy to be every day. Children can’t begin to learn unless they are safe, valued and happy, and that was so clearly the case at St James. Also, the diverse and international nature of the school community was familiar to me based on my experiences teaching overseas. I was excited to continue to work in a multicultural environment.

What makes St James education stand out?

In my first term here, I have already seen the benefits of the well-rounded and mindful learning that takes place at St James. The students are able to learn and grow in a safe and positive environment, developing wonderfully supportive friendships along the way. In my class of Year 6 boys, many of whom have been together as a class for years, I can see the way that St James has helped them build a strong and supportive community of learners that helps everyone to succeed.

What strikes you about St James pupils?

St James students have impressed me so much with their confidence and friendliness. They have made me, and new students, feel so welcome. I have been amazed at the diverse interests and talents of the children at St James; skills which they are eager to share with others. Also, St James students are impressively reflective about their learning, asking questions and setting targets for themselves to help their own academic and personal growth. Most importantly of all though, it has been wonderful to be welcomed by the warm and friendly students each morning.