Exclusive Interview with Mrs Tushi Gorasia, Headmistress of Hendon Prep

 

Mumsinthewood had the pleasure of speaking with Mrs Tushi Gorasia on 23rd November 2020 via zoom.  Mrs Gorasia is one of the few, Asian Headmistresses around and she had a very interesting perspective to share. She is committed and passionate about her work both as a headmistress and as a role model for students of all ethnicities. Part of the Cognitas group of schools, Hendon prep is a co-educational prep school and as such is growing in popularity. She is an enthusiastic leader, determined to make a difference and believes passionately in moulding young children to be the best versions of themselves that they can be. “Anything is possible” is a mantra she tries to imbue in all her students and she is taking the school in to the new digital age with her eyes wide open. The world is changing and we must prepare our children to adapt and change with it, was her thought process behind establishing  a system that is akin to teaching in Senior schools with one Form Tutor and specialist subject teachers for each subject. Flexible fee paying plans are also a plus at Hendon Prep, a much welcome option especially in the current climate. 

With many enriching opportunities on offer, a head teacher who is equally as passionate about change as she is about producing well rounded, confident youngsters in an ever changing climate, Mrs Gorasia is set to lead the school to new heights. 

*NB: This interview was conducted prior to the second lockdown. 

 

Question:

What led you to teaching? What inspired you and what does you feel about it now after being in the profession for a while? 

Answer:

I’ve been in education for over 26 years. Teaching was my dream job and I used to love playing teacher as a child. There have been lots of changes since I trained to be a teacher at Cambridge University – but I still fundamentally believe that via education we open minds, allow for equity of opportunity, and move society forward in a positive way

 

Question:

What is your vision for Hendon Prep and how does it differ if it does from that of the previous heads? 

Answer:

I want to ensure that we lift the lid off learning and ensure that whilst we strive for high academic achievement through a curriculum which stretches each child, we balance this with wellbeing and ensure we are delivering a diverse, representative and inclusive learning journey

 

Question:

How is the school handling the current and sudden shift in senior school 11+ exams to ISEB and online interviews in terms of preparation? 

Answer: 

We are supporting our current Year 6 students and parents with the adapted Senior school admissions process by facilitating children to sit the ISEB pre-tests at our school.

Our interview prep is woven throughout the Prep school in many ways both formal and informal and I introduced Drama to the curriculum last year from Year 3 upwards to develop confidence and communication skills

I have set up Interview practice with the Head of Clifton Lodge School, Mrs Friel and vice versa with me to support both sets of pupils.

 

Question:

What is the school’s view and educational policy on going forward into a new digital age? How (if it has) has the school changed it’s approach and curriculum to fit in with preparing children for a non-traditional future? 

Answer:

We continued to deliver the full curriculum uninterrupted during the first lockdown and as part of the Cognita group of schools were very fortunate to be able to draw on the expertise and learning from colleagues in our schools in Asia.

Hendon Prep has committed – as have our other Cognita schools across the world to 1-2-1 devices for all students Year 3+. We successfully rolled out HP laptops to our Hendon Prep students a couple of weeks ago with the intention of incorporating Ed Tech into the curriculum to further enhance our offering, as well as ensuring that all of our Prep students can access their learning should we need to lockdown again.

 

Question:

Being one of the few co-ed prep schools in North London, how does Hendon prep differ from other co-ed schools in terms of offerings?

Answer: 

We offer subject specialist teaching from Year 3+ and a breadth of learning which enhances our EYFS and KS1 curriculum from Preschool to Y2.  I have a range of established relationships with follow-on senior schools which are co-ed and single-sex.

 

Question:

What is the school’s policy on bullying and in particular how does the school handle diversity challenges? 

Answer: 

We are a non-selective Prep school and firmly believe in the importance of incorporating an anti-bullying mindset into our curriculum via 3 core principles: We Listen, We Celebrate Differences and We Include All.

 

Question:

What is the school’s policy on gifted and talented children and on children who need a little extra support? 

Answer: 

We do not stream or set children to separate them and cause unnecessary anxieties. We do differentiate learning to stretch and challenge each child to reach their potential. We have a full-time SENDCo who supports students of all ability if needed and we work as a team to identify gaps and ensure that children receive any further additional support if needed. This may not always be academic – it may be social or emotional.

 

Question:

What is a typical Hendon prep child in terms of personality, ability and character? 

Answer: 

There is no typical Hendon Prep child. We nurture and encourage individuals who are kind, strive to do their best and will be globally aware citizens.

 

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