Tracey Chong joins the Surbiton High Boys’ Preparatory School with a wealth of educational expertise behind her. We sat down with her to talk through some of the questions we thought you might want to know.
- What is your background in teaching?
I started my teaching career as a Year 6 teacher in a state school in Putney some 27 years ago. After my first child, I moved closer to home and started teaching in an independent pre-prep school. My responsibilities developed from class teaching to curriculum lead and then Deputy Head. During that time, I furthered my passion for research in learning and teaching by completing my MA in English Linguistics and Language in Education. I moved to Newland House to take up the leadership of the Pre-Prep, establishing a multi-million new build, a nursery school and doubling pupil and staff numbers over a six-year period. This term, I have taken on a portfolio of work including time for fulfilling my role as Vice Chair of the Local Governing Body at Surbiton High School, interim Head at an independent school in Clapham, consulting for individuals on secondary school choices and I am now really looking forward to taking on the role of Head of Boys’ Prep at Surbiton High School.
- What do you like about working in education?
I love the school environment; no day is ever the same. Watching children flourish and thrive, knowing that you have played a part in their journey is what makes this job so rewarding. The children make each day fun and challenging in equal measures. I have a passion for people and in education you have a unique opportunity to work with so many interesting children, parents, staff and professionals.
- What is your philosophy in teaching?
My philosophy in teaching is simple. Transparency and trust are key features in what I believe in. I feel strongly that creating a learning culture enjoyed by all, where both adults and pupils learn through engaging, challenging and tailored provision is key to a successful school. Transparency in conversations with parents, children and colleagues is vital to success for all. A happy, trusting child is a successful one. It is vital for me that every individual is offered a chance to shine and show their individual impact on the school environment.
- What attracted you to the role of Head at Surbiton High Boys’ Preparatory School?
I have worked alongside some of the staff and senior management team in my capacity as Governor and always leave Surbiton High School feeling energised and excited by such forward creative thinking in the curriculum, the well-being of the children and the opportunities offered to all. I am excited to be part of that process and part of the team.
- How would you describe your style of leadership?
Successful leadership comes in many guises. I enjoy leading teams of energetic people who share the same vision and values and look to promote that ergonomically through my leadership and guidance. I value honest opinions from all and give honest feedback myself. If I had to pinpoint a style, I would say my leadership was of a transformational style, working with teams to identify needed change and creating a shared vision to guide the change through inspiration.
- What are your main aims as Head of Surbiton High Boys’ Preparatory School?
My main aims as Head are to continue with the great work that the team has already achieved and look to promote the Boys’ Prep School as the first choice school in the area, by creating a product that is undeniably excellent across all areas.
- What changes do you plan to make in the School?
Changes will be made collectively with staff, parents and children. However, I won’t be taking on board some of the changes suggested by the boys recently, such as doughnut machines in the playground and half-day Fridays!