With over 40 years of experience as an educator,
Principal Brian Cooklin takes us to school
We chat with the Principal of Nord Anglia International School, Mr. Brian Cooklin as he shares his wealth of experience in teaching and leading schools as Principal in three different continents. He tells us why he loves being a part of the Nord Anglia International School community and how you can be a part of it too!
What is your background and training?
Originally trained in Scotland as a Secondary English and History teacher with an M.A. Honours degree, I have been celebrating my 40th anniversary as a teacher and 20th year as a Principal, serving in the UK, Mexico and now Hong Kong.
I joined Nord Anglia Education in January 2014 from Edron Academy, the leading British International School in Mexico. Prior to joining Edron, I led Stonelaw High School in the UK, where I built a culture of academic excellence at the school, as well as creating a strong sense of community pride amongst students and teaching staff.
As a former president of the Head Teachers’ Association of Scotland and the inaugural president of School Leaders Scotland, I have had extensive involvement in educational developments at all levels. Internationally, I was a council member for the International Confederation of Principals and have been an active participant at the Latin American Heads’ Conferences and International Baccalaureate conferences. I have also taken a leading role in a range of teacher training and mentoring programmes at a local and international level.
What made you want to become a headmaster/teacher?
I was inspired to become a teacher by an outstanding History teacher who made events come alive and I wanted to give others that love of learning. Becoming a Head Teacher was a natural progression and not a lifelong ambition. As I took on more responsibility in different roles, I realised I could have a bigger, more positive impact on more people.
What do you love about working at your school in particular?
I love the fun children have learning, all the events we have together as a school and working with the best, most enthusiastic and collaborative body of staff I have ever known!
What is your take on ‘play-based learning’
This is going to be especially important for our new Early Years Foundation Stage at our new campus. Delivering the English National Curriculum means a strong emphasis on learning through play. Reinforcing what children are doing in the classroom with play activities has been proven to be effective. Quite simply, if you enjoy it you are more likely to remember it!
What is your favourite game or activity to do with your students?
I like participating fully in any events from dressing up as Santa to wearing my kilt outfit on International Day or just showing them my dance moves!
What is one fun fact about you?
I am a quiz fanatic and once appeared on BBC’s “Mastermind” programme.
What makes your school special?
Our Be Ambitious educational philosophy sets us apart because it is about knowing each child as an individual, building their confidence and setting individual targets for their progress. This is an holistic approach – not just academic progress but also socially and personally developing. We have specialist teaching of Art, Music, Drama, P.E. and Mandarin from age 5 upwards as well as over 70 extra-curricular activities and 55 sports teams run voluntarily and free of charge by teachers.
We benefit from the networking opportunities provided by being part of the world’s largest premium schools company, Nord Anglia Education. We have the Global Campus where our students around the world can take part in projects, expeditions and competitions and staff can also discuss education together.
Another big difference are the collaborations with The Juilliard School of New York and M.I.T. providing world class opportunities for our students to develop 21st century skills.
Our House system too provides great team and community building activities as well as being the way we deliver academic monitoring and pastoral care.
Any tips for our parents in preparing their children for admission interviews?
Be honest, have a positive attitude about education and share our values of building self-respect and respect for others.
Nord Anglia International School, 11 On Tin Street, Lam Tin, Kowloon; 3958 1488, www.nordangliaeducation.com