Meet our people: James Stagg, Mandarin consultant
"I came into teaching inspired by a passion for languages in general and Mandarin in particular – I wanted to give students the opportunity to be engaged with learning languages as early as they possibly can."
I joined Harris as the only teacher of Mandarin at Harris Academy South Norwood, having responded to an advert during my PGCE. I knew it was the place for me when I went to interview, seeing the students’ smiles and their excellent relationship with their teachers, and experiencing the real sense of energy in the school.
I went on to become subject leader for Mandarin, mentoring three student teachers and growing the department to require two teachers of the language, as well as launching a Post-16 Mandarin course at the Academy. Most recently, I have become the Mandarin consultant to the Federation, meaning I am working with five different academies and students aged 4 to 17 to teach the Mandarin language and Chinese culture.
In this role, I travel to a range of different academies and work with a number of different teachers and senior leaders to help support the teaching of Mandarin in different schools. I have great support from the Federation in ensuring that I have been introduced to the different schools that I have begun working with this year, and one of the things that has struck me in my new role is the unique culture that each of the different schools has. While it is fantastic to see a range of different teams and the way they work, it is also challenging to ensure that I can work with different teams and support them effectively.
At Harris, organisation is key. Our ethos creates very strong teachers and learners and in order to ensure that you are able to be most effective, you must come prepared and organised to effectively deliver outstanding education to students.
Ultimately, the Harris Federation is all about a great education for students. There is no doubt that it’s hard work, but it is incredibly fulfilling to be part of a team that truly puts children at the heart of what they do.