After nearly seven years of developing the school, consistently raising exam results and ingeniously enhancing the school facilities, Head Master of Harrow International School Bangkok, Michael, (Mick), Farley, has moved to become Director of Group Operations for Harrow International Schools’ holding company Asia International Schools Ltd.
Taking leadership of Harrow Bangkok is Jonathan, (Jon), Standen an experienced head with strong credentials. Jon’s first headship was of The Crypt School, a state grammar school which UK school inspectorate Ofstedrated ‘Outstanding’ under Jon’s leadership. Whilst there, Jon became a National Leader of Education (an expert educational advisor to other head teachers) and the school became a teaching school.
Following there, Jon became head master of Plymouth College, England. The Independent Schools Inspectorate describes Plymouth College as ‘extremely successful’ with happy and knowledgeable students that ‘achieve at a high level.’ Its ‘exceptional’ sports programme includes a performance swimming school that boasts alumni Tom Daley, the Olympic medal-winning diver and 100 meter breaststroke world record holder Rūta Meilutytė. Jon is married to Suzie, they have three boys, a Labrador Dottie and Oz the cat.
Why did you decide to move to Bangkok?
After two very successful headships, I felt it was time to move on. Suzie, my wife, and I loved the international flavor of Plymouth College, with students from 30 countries, so I started thinking I’d love to be head of an international school. But not any international school. So when I saw this post, I thought, Harrow Bangkok. Wow! It is one of the best schools in the world and such an attractive post to apply for. I feel very privileged to have been asked to take over from Mick Farley.
What are your first impressions of Harrow Bangkok?
You cannot fail to be blown away by the impressive facilities and Build (the school redevelopment programme) has clearly added to what was already a great campus: it is world-class. I’ve taught in some great schools in the UK but I’ve never had facilities like these. But buildings on their own can be cold places. What really matters is the people inside them, so the warmth of the staff and children in the school, and just how welcoming they’ve been to me has been lovely.
What do you think makes a school world class?
I think a world-class school sets you up for life and it gives you a set of skills that mean you don’t panic the first time you come across a really challenging situation later in life; you can refer back to things that you were taught in your school days and apply them to this new situation and go on and succeed. I also think great schools develop people who build successful careers but also contribute positively to the world itself.
A great school is defined by the people who inhabit it; if you’re truly world class,you must have the very best staff. The boys and girls in school look at the role models around which is every single member of its staff. So I believe a great school invests a huge amount in to looking after its staff, nurturing them and developing them.
What do you think make outstanding early years and sixth form environments?
An outstanding early years I think is lots of learning through fun activity and enquiry, to develop enquiring minds and alongside this you need highly qualified staff to lay the foundations for oracy and literacy. An outstanding sixth form will get great exam results and university destinations but it will also develop those all-important people skills, to communicate, empathies, lead and be a team player. Naturally, these will not begin in the sixth form but will build up throughout the whole school.
What do you think makes a good teacher?
Passion. You can’t be a great teacher unless you have passion; passion for your Subject and a love of working with children. You have got to have both of those together with superb subject knowledge and a really good pedagogy; understanding how to teach in a variety of situations and get the very best from every child.
What do you hope to achieve in your first year as Head Master of Harrow Bangkok?
I’m going to spend a lot of time listening to people and walking around and observing and getting a good feel for things. I don’t think it’s a good thing for a Head Master to come in and do things instantly. I’ll get around the school and drop in to lessons, unannounced, and see the quality teaching and how much fun learning is going on.