Jonathan Parsons joined St Edward’s in September 2016 as Deputy Head Academic . He came to us from a much larger preparatory school in Kenya, where he had the same role, albeit in a very different environment.
Life at St Edward’s is quite a change, but Jonathan has found that the smaller size and family nature of our school means that people support and help you even when there is no obligation to do so. There is a real sense of community here among pupils, parents and staff; a tremendous sense of togetherness that he really values. Jonathan sees this as a focus for further development in the school to maximise our potential in everything that we do.
Deputy Head Academic means that Jonathan is in charge of the academic side of the school, from curriculum planning, lesson observation, scrutiny of work, tracking and standards to professional development, mentoring and coaching. It links closely to the pastoral provision for the children so that holistically it is all tied together. This is the key challenge for him at the moment.
Jonathan can see the difference that the teachers’ passion for their work makes; they love their subjects and are very excited about the newly launched STEAMED programme, which Jonathan leads, bringing all aspects of the curriculum together. What Jonathan really loves about prep school education is the holistic approach and that all subjects get their chance to shine.
IT is Jonathan’s thing, his specialism at university, and in his first teaching job, he benefited from that school’s partnership with Microsoft. With the development of coding, IT has evolved into Computer Science, which Jonathan heads up at St Edwards, and he loves the way that it all links together. ‘We are currently making computer games and coding at a really decent level,’ he says. ‘The boys are creating a game. We have to programme a platform fall, so we have to know what gravity is to make it fall. We need to understand co-ordinates to make that work too. STEM all adds up! We are helping pupils make sense of how these subjects link together and preparing our young people for a fast changing world.’ Jonathan is proud of the boys’ attainment and thrilled to see his young charges become so much more independent and self-sufficient.
It is a very exciting time for St Edward’s. There is a real sense that the school is responding to the world around us, but that there is more to come as the school builds knowledge and experience.
Jonathan is very involved in sport at St Edward’s too. He is officially sport mad, with particular interest in football, cricket, rugby, long-distance running and hockey – he played for a national league hockey team in Kenya, playing under the current Kenyan captain.
Life at St Edward’s and playing sport takes up most of his life, but he loves to see his family – his mother, father, brother and sister and his new fiancée whenever he gets a spare moment. He can’t wait to get married in August. He is back off to Kenya to get married as Betsy is Kenyan. It won’t surprise you to know that she is an international hockey player and has played all over the world – Jonathan is pretty proud of that!