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Curriculum ‘shouldn’t be a mile wide but only inch deep,’ says Mr Smith, who also comes up with own three Rs – ‘richness, relevance and rigour’. Thus subject list doesn’t bulge with the outré or unusual - French is only language taught, for example - but concentrates on core range done well, and given more time. Mr Smith is also bumping up recruitment of subject specialists. With around 60 prep and pre-prep pupils learning instruments (beginners to grade 5), a choir, orchestra and wind band and several scholarships in recent years, performing arts are good, think parents...

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2015, Mr Tim Smith, BA, MBA (40s). Previously deputy head academic, The Hall School Hampstead, for five years, originally joining in 1994 as games and French teacher, becoming head of learning support and then head of middle school. Also deputy chair of governors in Camden state primary.

Full of the joys of spring. Actually, make that all seasons. ‘I love coming into this wonderful place every day,’ he exults on the website.

A linguist, he’s arty (a regular at the Barbican; partner is head of exhibitions at the Royal Academy) but has only ever wanted to teach. ‘Always wanted to play schools,’ he says of childhood in New Zealand. Years of wrestling with nervy North Londoners haven’t dimmed enthusiasm for career he describes as ‘exciting,...

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