“There is an infectious joy and privilege about working in schools, brought about by the endless
inspiration of young people, and enhanced by the pure commitment and dedication shared by
teachers and parents, working in harmony to see young people flourish.” says Andy Puttock,
Principal of La Côte International School Aubonne (LCIS) and former Education Director at global
premium education provider, Nord Anglia Education (NAE).
Mr. Puttock joined LCIS as the new Principal in August 2020. With over 30 years of experience as an
educator and leader, he brings a wealth of knowledge in international education to the
position. He passionately believes that when a school environment instils in its students the
motivation to ‘dare to dream’, students will achieve far more than they ever thought possible.
Here he looks back on his ‘First 100 Days’; at La Côte International School Aubonne.
“There are many, mainly those working outside education, who have wondered why I would
choose to return to a post in an international school in the midst of a pandemic, with the constant
possibility of school closure, online learning, and staff or student absence due to quarantine or
illness, and the ever-changing travel restrictions in my new home here in Switzerland and back in
the UK. Indeed, as it happened, between the middle of September and the end of October, my wife
and I spent most of our time separated, quarantining due to travel.
There is one simple reason for my choice that outweighs all the others: There is an infectious joy
and privilege about working in schools, brought about by the endless inspiration of young people,
and enhanced by the pure commitment and dedication shared by teachers and parents, working
in harmony to see young people flourish. My first one hundred days here at La Côte International
School Aubonne (LCIS) have been a true honour; when I visit the classrooms daily, when I speak
with our teachers, students, and parents, I am humbled by the positivity, drive and desire to
continuously build on and develop the unique and rich learning environment that makes up the
fabric that is LCIS.
Young People as Natural Copers
Young people are genuinely amazing, and my daily experience is that we are right to do all that we
can to invest in them in the midst of a world crisis. It is a statement of the obvious to say that our
students are the future, but with every small seed that we can plant and nurture in them, their
ability to positively shape the world of the future also flourishes. I have been awestruck by their
resilience – we have asked so much of them in terms of adaptation, but so much of daily life in
school feels very normal, thanks to their unflinching goodwill, tenacity, and commitment to be the
best that they can be.
These three months have also reminded me that we must not take their
resilience for granted: young people are natural ‘copers’, but we must be aware that their well-
being is being challenged by the current unprecedented situation. As a school, we therefore seek
and implement practical steps to focus on their well-being daily as an absolute priority.
Schools are a Community
In joining any school as Principal, you join a community and not just a school, and it is always
important to make a wholehearted effort to understand and engage with that community. Of
course, the current situation has not always made this easy. Nonetheless, I have been privileged to
begin to comprehend the way this vibrant, diverse and multi-faceted community functions. Like
all international schools, LCIS has a huge range of nationalities and cultures: over 30 home
languages are spoken in our families, and in addition, approximately 50% of our families are local
(Swiss national or settled expat families).
Diversity and Charity
It has long been my belief that diversity and culture are to be recognised, valued and celebrated. Too often, international schools aim for the middle and create what one might call a ‘compromise internationalism’, which aims to embrace everyone (of
course), but does not really promote and champion diversity. It is clear to me that our families and
our school share a common goal: As a community, we recognise the value of supporting our
children to flourish within their own culture and language, and, through education, we nurture in
them the active values, attributes and skills needed to facilitate positive change in the future.
When I was a child in Britain, there was a very common saying: “Charity begins at home”. While we
can debate the merits of this expression, the spirit of the sentiment is something that sustains us
all daily in schools. We speak of our school as a family, and certainly the small acts of kindness, the
messages of parental support, the offers of help and the relentless optimism about the future that
go working with young people really matter. These are ever-present reminders that all the normal
care that goes into nurturing future citizens matters just as much as the top priority we have of
course given to maintaining a safe environment for learning in the current context. We strive for
academic success, but with awareness that this is an important component of developing
successful human beings, rather than the end goal.
I have always been proud to be a teacher and am still proud to call that my profession. I am
equally proud to work in a school where my colleagues are so motivated to come to work with one
aim in mind; relentlessly seeking out ways to allow every young person, whatever their
background or previous experience, to flourish in ways they had not imagined. If there is one thing
that my first 100 days at LCIS have taught me, it is something that I am sure school leaders
worldwide have experienced in every crisis facing the world over time: Solutions are always based
on education in its widest sense, and as educators, we hold both a privilege and a responsibility
that is like no other.”
To find out more about La Côte International School Aubonne, why not join a virtual tour with our
friendly admissions team.
About La Côte International School
La Côte International School is a private international school located in Aubonne, Switzerland. A
co-educational day school, it offers its students unmatched international learning opportunities,
combined with truly personalised academic support and the highest standards in
education, motivating every student to achieve more than they ever thought possible.
As a member of Nord Anglia Education (NAE) – the world’s leading premium schools’
organisation, the school recruits the best locally and internationally trained teachers who strive to
support their students not just to succeed, but to flourish, both academically and personally.
As a result, LCIS students achieve outstanding academic results. With an average IBDP score of 35
points in the academic year 2019-20, graduates at La Côte International School Aubonne have all
been accepted to their top choice university, including Russell Group or World Best universities.
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