New Head for Southfield Primary

Charles Morris brings renewed energy to local school

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After a turbulent time a few years ago, Southfield Primary School have appointed a new permanent head teacher. Now in his third headship, one could be forgiven for expecting someone a good deal older than the charismatic 44 year old American Charles Morris. Once the youngest head teacher in London, Morris has brought to Southfield renewed energy and enthusiasm enabling the perfect start to the school's centenary year.

Charles Morris, a dynamic father of five school aged children sees his arrival as a new dawn for the primary school. “The first thing I did was wipe the slate clean; as far as I am concerned we are starting from day one.” He said. And it is exactly this sentiment that has got the playground and staff room buzzing with expectation and approval.

Devoid of arrogance, Charles Morris relays his plans for the future. “I have told everyone this is not a sprint but a marathon and that I intend to stay put for at least ten years. My vision is to have the school recognised in the community as the leading local primary school .”

Charles Morris sees himself as an empathetic father figure to pupils. Acutely aware of the diversity of ethnicity and family units amongst the pupils, Morris believes it is essential for him to be a high profile role model and upholder of society’s values.  A Sub-Deacon of the High Anglican Church, Morris accepts that, to a certain extent, he must leave his beliefs at the school gates and embrace the religious diversity of the school. “Within our school community we have pupils from seven world faiths with beliefs each as valid as the others. At Southfield we will celebrate all festivals within the school’s cycle including Christmas, Eid and Divali demonstrating the value of each child’s place in their community.”

Charles MorrisHe went on to say that “I believe that London leads the way when it comes to multi-faith education and inclusion. The fact that here children are taught to celebrate alongside one another promotes the level of tolerance and understanding that is lacking in other parts of the world – particularly the States.”

It is Morris’ aim to correct local perceptions of Southfield School and for the community to hear about all the great work that goes on ‘behind the scenes’ for example, every single member of the teaching staff runs an after school club on a voluntary basis – even the school’s caretaker is involved by running the chess club and organising matches with other schools in the area.

A strong believer in communication, Morris has introduced a weekly newsletter which is both informative and entertaining.  He sees this newsletter, which is sent home every Thursday and distributed to local businesses, as a way of providing every child with a chance of glory regardless of what their achievements are (Morris is equally impressed that the school boasts former Who guitarist John Entwistle as a past pupil as he is of the past pupils that now attend Oxbridge universities including at least four going up this year).

Whilst his primary concern is for the free education of children aged 3 to 11 years, Morris wants to see the School being a place for other services like Adult Education. “I see the school as the hub of the community. The life of the school should be 24/7 not 9.00 to 3.30. A good deal of tax payers money goes into keeping this school running and it is my duty to ensure that none of this money is wasted”

After an hour in the company of Charles Morris, one cannot fail to be impressed by his energy, enthusiasm and total dedication to the role and to the children he has taken on leaving this visitor with an overwhelming sense of lucky Southfield!


Emma Brophy

February 16, 2006