We are delighted to announce that John Evans joined as the new Head of the Junior School from September 2019.
My first impression of Royal Russell was the tangible sense of community I felt within the school. I sensed an enthusiasm and a joy of learning that permeated every aspect of school life I encountered and I was struck by the generous welcome from all. There is an evident sense of warmth from everyone you meet at Royal Russell and I immediately felt at home. Now, several weeks into our first term together, I can already feel the excitement growing as I am coming to better understand the community’s well developed qualities and its exciting potential.
Royal Russell Junior School welcomed over 70 new families in September and mine was one of them. My son, Oscar, is thriving in Reception, my wife, Kerry, is enjoying her position in the Senior School English and Drama Departments and my dog, Ludo, enjoys meeting and greeting pupils on arrival to the school.
My teaching career began in Cambridgeshire at St. John’s College Prep School where, alongside lessons in the classroom, I shared my love of sport, especially rowing, with some of the older children. I have always believed in the importance of a broad range of experiences to transform young people’s lives and I remember exciting Tyrolean ski trips and white water rafting in the Italian Alps.
I’m happy to report that my first taste of London life was south of the river at Dulwich Prep London. I taught a variety of subjects to classes in Years 3 and 4 and then focused on English with older pupils, preparing for transition to senior schools. I continued to enjoy a wide range of activities including boarding duties, trips to Snowdonia and cycling coast to coast across the north of England.
As the Senior Deputy Head at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ Preparatory School, I had oversight of academic matters and the day to day running of the school. ‘Habs’ is similar to Royal Russell in terms of both the age range of the children and the commitment to excellence in all areas. It is a real privilege to watch our children transition from the Junior School to the Senior School and support them as they become outstanding young people of admirable character and I know that I will feel the same pride this summer as my first Year 6 cohort moves up to the Senior School here at Royal Russell.
I relish the challenge of teaching and love learning itself. I have learnt so much from the different environments I have worked in, both from my colleagues and the pupils in my care. In the classroom, I am thrilled by curiosity and discovery. Teaching is not imparting your own knowledge, it is about inspiring young minds to want to learn, develop and grow. Moving into leadership positions, I have remained focused on my time in the classroom and see this as a crucial, and enjoyable, part of my role.
The proudest moments in my career have always been the successes of children. Sometimes it’s the little things: doing something for the first time, having the confidence to approach a challenge in a new way or simply persevering when something has been particularly tough. You never get tired of seeing a child achieve something they did not think they could.
Academic progress, stimulated through curiosity and challenge, will, and should, always form an important part of what schools provide. However, there is a huge need to understand that childhood has changed so much since many parents were children themselves. The pressure on young people to live their lives under the scrutiny of social media is intense. Pupil welfare and awareness of mental health have, quite rightly, come to the forefront of the educational debate and schools also have a responsibility to support young people as they prepare to enter a world which can often seem quite uncertain. There is no exact formula to getting this right in school or at home, but what is key is establishing and maintaining deliberate and purposeful communication between home and school that places the child at the centre of a supportive community with their best interests at heart.
I am proud to lead such a successful and well-regarded Junior School as Royal Russell and work with an amazing team of teaching and support staff and I look forward to celebrating the school’s continued success with parents and pupils.
Pupils throughout the junior school and senior school are particularly well educated and show excellent levels of subject knowledge.
Pupils have excellent levels of skill and understanding in numeracy, literacy and science. They present their work with a high degree of pride in its appearance and organisation.
The most able children are appropriately challenged by the activities provided, and are able to think critically and independently. The younger children communicate effectively and listen attentively.
ISI Inspection Report 2016