Page 8 - HGS Suburb News 132 - Autumn 2017
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in conversation with...

                                                             ...Robert Lobatto

                                                   Terry Brooks chats to the Head of King Alfred School

      Suburb News visited Robert    Robert started as a history   by the state and to have more   an annual tea where students   There is a quote from John   life, to help to fit them for
      Lobatto, who has been Head of   teacher in East Barnet before   freedom.        and members of the elderly   Russell, who was Head from   effective work in the world, for
      King Alfred School for the last   going on to lead the humanities   The School believes strongly   community meet, with   1901 to 1920, which the school   effective sympathy and for
      two years, to talk about him and   department in a school in   in what it is doing and the   entertainment provided by   likes to use in its literature,   effective joy.” The language is
      the school.                Islington. He moved on to   education it provides for the   some of the school’s many   “Our aim is to train up our   of its time but it highlights the
                                 become Deputy Head at the   children in its care. But teachers,  talented musicians.  scholars in the way of the good   breadth of the KAS vision
         ing Alfred School is one of   Lister Community School in   parents and children sometimes
      Kthe few schools developed   Plaistow, which at the time was   find it difficult to come up with a
      from the late nineteenth century   a school in need of improvement.  simple answer when asked, “What
      idea of progressive education.   He said he found the job   makes King Alfred’s special?”
      The school in North End Road   there challenging, and difficult   and Robert has set out to come
      sits on the boundary of the   in some ways, but after seven   up with a coherent response.
      Suburb, and there are always a   years he decided to up the   It is not just things like the
      number of Suburb children   stakes and take on the headship   lack of uniform, the use of first
      among its pupils.          of Barnhill Community High in   names, the role of students in
         Robert comes from       Hayes. Robert is certainly not   the decision making process, or
      Cockfosters and a Jewish family,   afraid of a challenge and is also   the annual year 8 self-
      which, over a couple of    capable of meeting one. As is   governing village project that
      generations moved there from   shown by the school, which has   make it different.
      the East End via Golders Green.   over 1,400 pupils, becoming   King Alfred’s stresses the
      In fact his mother went to   one of the 100 Most Improved   importance of educating the
      Henrietta Barnett School.   Schools during his eight years   whole individual and preparing
      Educated at Haberdashers and   as head.               for the good life. The answer to
      reading History at Oxford, he   However by 2012/13 he   the above question takes ideas
      decided upon a career in   found himself becoming more   from classical philosophy and
      teaching as an act of rebellion.   and more disillusioned by   positive psychology to describe
         He now lives in Crouch End   government changes to   what KAS seeks to achieve, and
      with his family, and has two   education, which he felt   goes on to look at how to
      daughters: one at university   bordered on reckless and to be   achieve it.
      and the other a sixth former. In   capable of creating chaos.    Robert has helped to distil
      his spare time he enjoys   One of the results was that   philosophy, history and
      reading, and is clearly fit as he   accountability was shifted so   psychology to understand and
      cycles to work despite the hills.  that decisions were being made   articulate what King Alfred’s
         He had been expected to   in the best interests of the   does; and then to use this
      become a lawyer or accountant   school rather than the child.  model as a means to try to
      but after a successful stint   Then in 2015 he saw an   inspire and influence others.
      teaching English as a Foreign   opportunity and King Alfred’s   Always ambitious, Robert would
      Language while at university,   appointed him their new head   like to make the special better.
      he went for education instead.   so he found himself not only in   As part of the school’s vision
      The route that took him to King   private education but also in a   of a flourishing and compassionate
      Alfred’s makes for an interesting   school well-known for being   society, he would like to have a
      and surprising story; before   different. It was a chance for   good relationship and be better
      arriving at KAS his only teaching   him to shed some of the recent   connected to the local
      experience was in state schools.   restrictions placed on schools   community. At present there is

                                                   HGST WINTER LECTURE

                                                             Poundbury – an Experiment

                                                                   in New Urbanism

                                                                         This year’s HGST Winter Lecture will be delivered by Simon Conibear, who was
                                                                         Estate Director for the Duchy of Cornwall in Dorchester and is now Poundbury
                                                                         Development Consultant.

                                                                         Join us for some light refreshments and learn all about the design principles and
                                                                         development of Poundbury, the urban extension to Dorchester, built to the
                                                                         architectural principles of H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.

                                                                         Monday 4 December 2017 from 7pm for a 7.30pm start in the main hall at Henrietta
                                                                         Barnett School, Central Square.

                                                                         Please book your place: / 0208 455 1066.

                   862 Finchley Road, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London NW11 6AB   020 8455 1066   twitter: @HGSTrust

      8                                                                                         SUBURB NEWS IS PRODUCED AND DELIVERED TO YOU BY RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION VOLUNTEERS
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