Eleanor Busby

Bringing great expectations to a foundation with a ‘Dickensian’ feel

Heath Monk, the leader of the King Edward VI group of independents and grammars, insists ‘teaching is teaching’ – but it’s what selective schools expect from their pupils that is the key cultural difference with many comprehensives, he tells Eleanor Busby

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Heath Monk is entering the brave new world of multi-academy trust (MAT) leadership, but part of him still misses teaching Chaucer to a class of 15- and 16-year-olds.

“I do miss the interaction with children,” says the executive director of King Edward VI Foundation – a well-known group of grammar schools and independent schools in Birmingham. “I always loved teaching GCSE English literature – which was mad as it was huge amounts of coursework and marking.”

But it wasn’t the workload that drove him out of the profession and into the Department for Education; it was, in fact, his colleagues.

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