Sidmouth school meets new IES chairman

Reunion for Sidmouth sailing students for new chairman of International Education Systems Ltd

THE newly-appointed chairman of the company that saved Sidmouth’s St John’s School from closure, was visiting staff and students there on Wednesday.

It was the second time Dr Nicholas Tate, chairman of International Education Systems Ltd, has been to the international school since his appointment in August.

Headmistress, Angela Parry-Davies, said: “Many of our students enjoyed the opportunity to speak with Dr Tate, who now plays a leading role in our organisation and who brings a truly global perspective to the school.

“He has an extremely positive attitude towards our future aspirations, as we prepare the students in our care for the world stage, and has promised to visit us again in the near future.”

An historian, Dr Tate had a reunion with a group of students, and their teacher, Bethan Cotton, who he met in Valencia, recently while they were on an exciting Blue Week sailing trip aboard the Cervantes Saavedra, with students from other IES schools in Spain.

At the time, Dr Tate spoke to the sailors, telling them about the chance of a cultural and linguistic exchange, as well learning about sea, navigation, weather and the places they would visit.

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Educated at Bailliol College, Oxford University, and at universities in Bristol and Liverpool, Dr Tate has written seven history books for schools as well as articles on aspects of history and education.

He was, in the 90s, chief executive of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority and for three years, until 2000, chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

He was also chief curriculum and qualifications adviser to the Secretary of State for Education.

Since 2003 he has been director general of the International School of Geneva, reputed to be the world’s oldest international school and the school where the International Baccalaureate was conceived in the 1960s.

He says the main challenge for all school programmes today is achieving an effective balance between traditional knowledge acquisition and creative areas of conceptual understanding, saying: “Knowledge by itself is insufficient and will remain inert...unless applied and constantly re-applied in stimulating exploratory contexts.”