Meet Jack Campbell, Mathematics Secondary teacher at Garden International School and learn more about how we prepare our students for Oxbridge interviews, how we attract the best teachers and what “We are GIS” means.
“My name’s Jack Campbell. I have been at Garden school for around a year and a half now. I am a mathematics teacher but I’m also the head of Crest house and I also teach the liberal arts randomly in Richmond curriculum that’s delivered to year twelve students”.
What three words would you use to describe the students at GIS?
Enthusiastic, incredibly engaged, but I am counting that as a hyphenated single, so enthusiastic, incredibly engaged and inspiring.
What are the strengths of the school?
So from a teacher’s perspective I’ve developed so much professionally There is a real culture of professional development, of reflection, of teachers talking and teaching each other. So I really developed as a professional, so for me that’s probably the number one trend of the school from a teachers perspective. The students are great to teach as well they are incredibly engaged they’re really fun to teach really fun to be around but there’s also a wonderful sense of community in the school that I perhaps didn’t appreciate when I was applying for the role and it’s something that I only really began to get my head round when I actually came to GIS and saw the parents, the staff, the students all interacting and working brilliantly with each other.
What support is given to students wanting to attend a top British University?
So I take the lead in kind of coordinating the application for students applying to Oxford or Cambridge at Garden School. I work very close with a number of members of staff to do this. I attended Oxford myself I studied philosophy, politics and economics and working with students in order to successfully apply to incredibly competitive universities I really enjoy! The application process for these universities is fairly unique. The incredibly challenging and in-depth interviews that students have to undergo in order to be offered a place at Oxford and Cambridge is something that I think I’m in a good position to support the students with. I am fortunate enough to work very closely with staff from across the school from a whole range of faculties in supporting the students so they have both my kind of broad support which takes place in a, we call it a optional CCA, so it’s a co-curricular session that we run after school on a Wednesday where we look at general interview techniques we look at what they can do as individuals to prepare themselves but then they also have subject-specific time with their mentors who are if they are applying for geography they will have a geography teacher as their mentor. Applying for engineering they will maybe have a physics or a mathematics teacher mentoring them. The teachers give up an incredible amount of time to support you because it’s such a challenging process.
Do you think GIS is an innovative school?
I think GIS is an incredibly innovative school. I think it’s the caliber of the teachers, the individual teachers within the school are incredibly innovative. It is an incredibly incredibly inspiring group of teachers and leaders who work here but at school level there are a number of really and inspiring and innovative things that are obviously in place in order to give the students a unique and a brilliant start in life. The large inquiry program the real focus on conversations for learning, one-to-ones between students and staff even within the context of a normal kind of whole class activity. It’s something that is absolutely brilliant. For me the number one kind of innovation that I feel I gained the most from is the protected Friday afternoon professional development slot. Which for me has really allowed me to develop my practice trough that time on the Friday afternoon I have written blogs, I’ve dealt with my subjects that I haven’t looked at before I have delivered trainings with the colleagues on particular things that I feel that I can give to other colleagues and I have also received incredibly high-quality trainings from the professionals, so there’s the kind of mutual reciprocity that staff have working with each other.
What three words would you use to describe Garden International School?
The three words I would use to describe GIS are challenging, rewarding and I’ll go with inspiring.
What does “We are GIS” mean to you?
For me “we are GIS” really sums up the idea that there is a real sense of community here. Yes there is a primary and a secondary school and early years centre but there is also one overarching kind of GIS community spirit that you can see just from walking through the canteen from walking through the corridors from interacting with parents, the Wednesday mornings parent workshops, the “we are GIS” really sums up the idea of community within the school