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Joel North, Assistant Associate Principal

Over the last 16 years of teaching, I have worked hard to make my learning environment one that centres on mutual respect for learners of all ages. I place the students at the heart of my decision-making both in and out of the classroom. 

After my first five years of teaching, I studied my Masters in Children’s Literature and Creative Writing under Children’s Poet Laureate Michael Rosen. This level of critical thinking is something that I have applied to devising my English curriculum. 

English is more than a subject, it is our culture. When students are in my classroom, we do not ‘do’ English; we read; we learn; we recite; we explore; we debate. Most importantly, we create. 

The chief tenet of my classroom is the focus on representation, giving voices to those who are often marginalised. As an autistic practitioner, my lived experience offers me a unique insight into my learners and their learning journeys. 

I have worked and lived in Lambeth for the last 11 years. I frequently see students that I have taught that are now young adults. I feel humbled each and every time they say hello to me and tell me what the next steps have been on their journeys. 

As a Senior Leader at Vanguard, I want our students to feel empowered in a world that rarely puts neurodivergent people first. I want for our young people to be able to advocate for themselves and know what supportive and purposeful relationships feel and look like. We can only do that by working together as a triumvirate of parent, school and opportunities. At the heart of this triangle should be the child.