We are excited to welcome our newly appointed Head of Early Years and Lower Primary, Ms Brookes, to join the Wellington College Hangzhou community. We are confident that Ms Brookes will bring a wealth of experience to enhance our children’s learning, wellbeing and involvement in the Nursery and Lower Primary.
- Sophie Brookes -
Ms Brookes holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Birmingham and a PGCE from the University of Exeter in Primary Education with a specialism in the Early Years. She is passionate about child-centred education and has written articles about Early Childhood Education for several magazines. Having worked as Head of Early Years Foundation Stage at Sarum Hall School (a highly respected prep school for girls in London), Head of Early Years of Harrow Beijing since 2013, and the leader of the Primary sections of MIS in Shenzhen and KCS in Chengdu since 2018, she has accumulated abundant experience in teaching and management in various settings.
While studying for my BA in Greek and Roman Studies, I began volunteering at an Infant School close to my Birmingham house. I enjoyed it and decided to apply for a PGCE the following year. Watching children grow, learn and develop is one of the most rewarding parts of the job. Even as I moved away from the classroom and into management, it continues to drive and inspire me in a way that I don’t think I would be able to find in another profession.
For me, bilingualism is an important part of education, and a bilingual school can capitalise on this to its fullest advantage. Supporting children in developing fluency in more than one language is to give them an edge in many areas of later life – research demonstrates that the benefits go far beyond the purely linguistic – from problem-solving to creative thinking, to name a few. Language is a way of opening doors and enabling children to gain a much broader range of experiences and learning opportunities.
The Nursery has quite simply taken my breath away. I specialised in Early Years Education for much of my career, and the educational practices that underpin everything done here is undoubted to be considered research-based best practices. However, early child development is often misunderstood or too heavily influenced by practices designed for older children. This stage is a unique phase in their biological development and a crucial window for ensuring that they can develop skills that will carry them through life. The Nursery here is designed to do just that – from the incredible resources to the astounding depth of knowledge of our teachers.
My education began in a rural primary school and continued in an Independent school for girls in the UK. Both schools had an emphasis on developing the whole child and building confidence. I went on to do a BA in Greek and Roman Studies, which was an area with which I was, and still am, fascinated. My educational ethos relies heavily both on my own experiences and on my reading of research and links with other outstanding practitioners. I firmly believe that the individual child should be at the centre of all educational best practices. No child is the same, nor, within our contexts and capabilities, should our approaches to educating them.
My expectation for all Huili pupils is that we can give them a bedrock to enable them to achieve in whatever area they choose to pursue in later life. I would expect to provide them with not only excellent academic knowledge but the ability to use that knowledge and the independence to expand on it to meet the needs of whatever specialisms they choose to enter. I would expect that all pupils are given the tools to face challenges with courage and be self-assured enough to lead fulfilling personal, professional and academic lives.