EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION…
Softly-spoken, twinkly-eyed and with a deep-rooted passion for education, Robin Warren has been headteacher of Primrose Hill Primary School since April 2015.
His school, housed in the magnificent Victorian building on Princess Road, is the alma mater of local lads Boris Johnson and David and Ed Miliband, and today serves a broad community with all the challenges and rewards that life in London brings.
And Robin clearly relishes his role:
“We are a very multicultural community here. It’s enriching that the children share the experiences they have with their families, their cultures. In that sense it’s a typical London school and that’s why people want to teach in schools in places like Camden. They are just so rich in experience.”
The son of a Devon fisherman, Camden must feel like a world away from the village he grew up in. But after taking a teaching degree at Kingston University, Robin was delighted to make the city his home, first teaching in Islington and then moving to Barnet, first as deputy head of an infants school before later taking over as head. During this time, Robin oversaw the expansion of the school, both in number of pupils on roll and in the implementation of a large building project to house the expanded year groups.
Looking for his next challenge, Robin was encouraged by an Ofsted inspector to apply to become a National Leader of Education. “That’s where you support schools in challenging circumstances,” he explained. “The school that you work in becomes a National Support School and others can come and observe good practice to help them improve.” Highly prestigious stuff, he was far too modest to add.
Clearly made for this extra responsibility, Robin’s experience and drive for educating young children is evident.
“For me, the reception year is crucial,” he told me. “The curriculum is so broad, and as well as that it’s about how they socialise, what their physical development is, what are their other skills: do they enjoy art, PE, music? Have they got empathy? All those skills make up the person. What can the school offer around that as they grow? It’s not just about the core curriculum of reading, writing, maths and science, but also a broader richness of experience.”
Robin is keen that his pupils and their families see the school as a true community hub and that he and his staff are friendly and approachable, in order to create the best learning experience possible. Communication, such as the weekly newsletters, are cheery and informal in tone, and Robin has expanded into Twitter to share news, primarily with parents, but also with the local community and beyond. And the children even became YouTube stars with their glorious fundraising song for refugees, ‘Where Can We Go?’ which raised £2500 for Save the Children.
And now Robin is about to start on Project Primrose, an initiative that will be very exciting and innovative. You’ll hear more about it after half term, and I won’t steal Robin’s thunder now…you’ll have to wait and see!
Intrigued? Follow Robin on Twitter: @PrimroseHillRW
© 2015 iLovePrimroseHill, all rights reserved.
Thanks to Robin for the photos.
Thanks to @secretartistNW5 for the artwork. See more at www.secretartistnw5.com