Ahead of ASK’s Annual Information Day, we caught up with Mrs Vicky Tuck, Director General, International School of Geneva
What are the main highlights of your 15 years as Principal at Cheltenham Ladies’ College?
Firstly, being able to take forward a great school which included 15 years of hard work, exciting innovation and developing everything to a high standard. Secondly, working amongst an incredible community of people – wonderful students; highly motivated staff who were prepared to go the extra mile; and extremely supportive parents. Thirdly, the privilege of addressing this incredible community every morning in the school’s magnificent Assembly Hall; as Principal, I found this a very direct and personal experience.
What is the success of which you are most proud?
Having been able to make the educational experience so exceptional for my students. Sometimes this involved tough decisions. I have always sought to give value-driven leadership and feel I have done so with integrity without comprising my principles. Educating children is more than just the academic side; it shapes the adults they become and their future so it must be values-led.
What has been the main frustration in your career as an educator?
The only real frustration is when parents fail to respect the professionalism of teachers and the relationship between parent and school becomes problematic.
What brought you to Geneva?
I found the prospect of running Ecolint in Geneva extraordinarily compelling as it is the world’s oldest international school and the birthplace of the IB. Also, having started out studying and teaching French and Italian, the multilingual culture of Geneva also had a strong appeal.
What changes have you made at Ecolint since your arrival in 2011?
I have worked at boosting institutional self-knowledge across the board, not just on the academic side. We have focused also on professional development, appraisal and strengthening management training. Of course, we work constantly on our strategic objectives in terms of what we are trying to achieve as a school and how effectively we are doing so. I am currently looking at how we can optimise the relationship between the Foundation and our eight schools and between Ecolint and our parent community.
What are your main ambitions/goals for Ecolint?
To continue refining and strengthening our offering in accordance with our mission and values and to remove any obstacles which may get in the way of this objective.
What has been your experience with Special Educational Needs?
I believe the way the Extended SEN programme has been developed at Ecolint is inspiring; a real hallmark of Ecolint’s philosophy of inclusivity. It is important to understand this aim is rooted in the school’s values in terms of the equal value of every student rather than discrimination against those who require extra support; this inclusive philosophy also helps enrich the environment for all our students.
How do you think SEN could be developed, improved further?
At Ecolint, we are looking at areas such as Reading Recovery and support for students who are exceptionally gifted. I believe that the SEN philosophy, which looks to cater for students with special educational needs, mirrors Ecolint’s philosophy for the whole school.
How did you get to know ASK-All Special Kids?
I was introduced to ASK in my first year by Teresa Nunn, Head of Extended Learning Support at Ecolint. My predecessor, Nick Tate, was also very supportive of ASK’s work.
How can ASK expand its programmes and its support to Ecolint?
ASK should continue to help guide and mentor parents in their interaction with schools so they embark on a constructive relationship with the school and get the best for their child.
Could you give a hint of what you will be talking about at ASK’s Annual Information Day?
I shall be talking about the implementation of the Extended SEN programme at Ecolint’s La Chataigneraie campus and using it as a Case Study from which I shall draw generic conclusions.