From Consistent Learning and Teaching to the Psychology of Sleep

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Mr. Mark Healy joined us in 2021 as the Director of Studies and Deputy Head of Secondary. Mr. Healy brings over 31 years of experience in leadership and teaching roles in Psychology, English Literature and Language, TESOL and Physical Education. He has lived and worked internationally, including the United Arab Emirates and South Island School in Hong Kong, where he held several Senior Leadership roles. Mark joins us from Scotland, where he worked as a Deputy Head Teacher in a comprehensive secondary school. He is actively involved in educational research, being an associate of ResearchED, a professional organisation supporting teachers' professional practice and he has regularly presented at conferences world wide. He has appeared on several high-profile education podcasts and interviews. He is currently writing a book on the psychology of sleep and its impact on schools and learning and is also a contributory author to leading educational titles.

Sum up your role at BSB.

I am responsible for all curriculum and academic matters for Secondary. This includes leading the GCSE and A-Level options processes, overseeing progress and achievement through our Key Stage 3 curriculum, devising and implementing a Whole School Timetable, together with our timetabling team, through to coordinating academic events such as Parents' Consultation Evenings, Reports and Curriculum Information presentations. In general terms, offering guidance and support to students and parents to optimise academic progress across Secondary. I also place a lens on effective classroom practice as a fulcrum to complement high-quality learning and teaching across our Secondary classes. Our Secondary CPD processes seek to join the dots of professional learning, through external and internal CPD contributions, classroom observations and student interviews, to continual data analyses of progress for all students at a very individual level. This is only possible through consistent dialogue and collaboration with the Deputy Head Pastoral and the wider pastoral team of Form Tutors and Heads of Key Stage, together with our Heads of Faculty and classroom teachers. 

What inspired you to join BSB?

I have extensive and varied experience of both UK and international education, holding both senior and middle leadership roles in my teaching career. I developed a strong affinity to my most recent International experience as Vice Principal at South Island School in Hong Kong. Due however to my family missing the UK so much, we reluctantly had to relocate back to Scotland. I was Deputy Head Teacher in a comprehensive secondary school and although the school was an incredibly tight knit community, I missed international school teaching. When I explored the advert for BSB online, and watched the recruitment video, together with research through the School website, I was intrigued and hooked to apply for the position. The feeling of family, community, warmth and sense of purpose was immediately apparent throughout my interview processes and I was delighted to be offered the position. For me, after 31 years of teaching, the decision had to have a ‘heart and head’ dimension and the warmth of everyone reinforced my motivation to make the move back into International school life.

How do you find the BSB community so far?

Everyone has made me feel at home and incredibly welcome. When you are an expat teacher working in an International school, a sense of belonging, of community and identity are incredibly important components of well-being and trust, especially during the initial stages of relocation. I have only very positive reflections on my first year here at BSB and this reflects the warmth that has framed my short life at BSB. The School is incredible, it is a genuine privilege to be a very small part of the community and also to be a part of watching it continue to thrive and develop. I also had never previously been to Romania and I have fallen in love with a country and a way of life which is so easy to fall in love with. It is indeed an undiscovered gem as I have heard Romania described and long may this ‘undiscovery’ continue to keep alive the authenticity of its rich tapestry of culture and history. It is simply a beautiful country to live and work.

What do you think are some of the advantages of studying A-Levels at BSB?

I think to answer this question we need to philosophically address the fundamental key question of ‘What are the purposes of Education?’ There is no common consensus across educational literature but for me, the currency and transactional worth of qualifications is a key factor in any response. Of course schools are much more than ‘exam factories’ and qualifications can never define who students are nor measure their worth but they are a academic conduits to choice. Having the ability and opportunity to create our own pathways post-school is a crucial right of passage and A-Levels are a gold standard qualification that have world renowned respect and transactional currency. Of course they are demanding and can challenging but this is a necessary desirable difficulty of setting the bar high on our suite of available qualifications here at BSB.

How do you plan on optimising the academic progress of our Secondary students?

Aligning our pastoral care and academic monitoring and tracking has been an integral part of our strategic and operational planning this year.  I do not think anyone can underestimate the impact that the pandemic has had on schools across the world, in so many different ways and on so many different levels. Arguably fusing together an ethos, a values driven School culture that intertwines pastoral and academic growth as two sides of the same coin has never been more relevant. We have developed our Data Central tracking spreadsheets to encapsulate both pastoral and academic data and also capture the dialogue between students and teachers to try and personalise and humanise quantitative data to a degree that shows care and compassion at a very individual level.

What are your plans for BSB?

I would not use ‘my’ as a possessive adjective; I am very fortunate to work within various teams in my role as Director of Studies and we have exciting plans that I hope exemplify the strengths we currently have as a School and how we will use these as platforms to grow, thrive and develop. Crucial to any part of this is a continuous focus on the power of high quality and consistent learning and teaching in our classrooms: every day, every week, every month and every year.  Our overarching filters are our values as a School community and how they shape the ethos and cultures that promote an ethic of excellence in everything we do. We must walk these words continually at BSB. The future of our School is so incredibly exciting and we should continue to combine a sense of calm and purpose with pride and excitement in our School. Arguably, the future is merely an illusion that we create in the now, so we cannot be complacent but strive towards continuous improvement whilst celebrating all we have achieved. 

And finally: tell us something unexpected about yourself.

I’ll tell you two things; I have coached football at a professional level and secondly, I think Earl Grey tea is the most awful drink I have ever had the misfortune of trying. 

May 2022




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