Meet Our New Teachers

As we begin to turn our minds to the start of the new academic year (2020-2021) we very much look forward to welcoming our new teachers who will be joining the Harrow Community. 

People often ask what makes Harrow Shanghai an outstanding school. There are of course many variables such as our strong connection with Harrow London, our diverse curriculum, our small class sizes that give lots of individualized attention, our outstanding academic results, an exciting extra-curricular programme, quality facilities etc. However, the most important factor is bringing about success for our children is the quality of our teachers and their relationships with the pupils and parents. 

Why does Harrow have such excellent staff? Mr Ellison ( Head Master) is centrally involved in the recruitment of every individual teacher, from Cubs to A Level.  Interview candidates are expected to be highly qualified, proven experts, committed and able to evidence the impact they have made in their present and previous schools.  Candidates are mostly interviewed at Harrow School in London and the panel of interviewers is often made up of very experienced senior leaders.  Teachers change lives and are our most precious resource.

Mr Steve Morris, Head of Lower School

Steve is presently Headmaster of a high-achieving primary school in the UK.  Before going into education, Steven was a successful solicitor, having gained his degree in Law from The University of Warwick. He also holds a Master’s degree from Liverpool University and his wife, Helen, is a barrister.  

Ms Leah Pulman, Head of Pre-Prep

Leah holds a degree in French from King’s College London and a PGCE from University College London.  She is presently an Assistant Head within a very large primary school in London that educates almost 900 pupils.  

Mr Nigel Penfold, Head of Music

Nigel Penfold holds a First Class degree in Music from London University, where he studied saxophone, clarinet and piano, and also holds a Masters in Music Analysis and Theory from the University of Reading.  Nigel has enjoyed a long association with the Harrow family: he worked within the Harrow London Music Department for eight years before becoming a founding Teacher of Music at Harrow Hong Kong in 2012. He is presently the Director of Music at ISF in Hong Kong.  

Ms Tess St Clair-Ford, Teacher of English

Tess holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Cambridge in Social and Political Sciences.  She also holds a further Master’s degree from the University of Chichester in Creative Writing.  She is presently a Teacher of English and Head of the Fifth Form (Year 11) at Epsom College – a highly regarded independent boarding and day school close to London.  

Mr Simba Matondo,  Teacher of Chemistry

Simba gained his Bachelor’s degree from London University and his Master’s from Queen Mary’s University, before going on to complete his PHD in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Oxford.  He lives in London and presently works in the Chemistry Department at The John Lyon School, which is of course very much part of the Harrow family of schools and is named after the founder of Harrow in 1572: John Lyon.

Questions and Answers

  • What message would you like to send to our students-to-be?

“The world needs strong leaders at this point in human evolution and I expect those leaders to come from the world’s best educational institutions. Harrow Shanghai is at the forefront of these. As the incoming Head of Lower School, I am ambitious for myself and for the students for whom I am responsible: for them, I want to their educational and pastoral development to be characterised by excellence, warmth and mutual respect.

To my students, I say: you are our future. We respect you. We believe in you. We will do our very best to drive your success to make you the best person and the best leader you can be!” (Mr Steve Morris, Head of Lower School)

  • Why did you choose Harrow Shanghai for your next career move?

“I chose Harrow Shanghai for my next career move for both the city and for the school. I had been planning to move to China to experience and learn more about Chinese culture and history, whilst having the opportunity to travel South East Asia and hopefully learn some Mandarin. I had heard great things about Shanghai from friends who had visited and lived here before, and I was attracted by its promise of being a cosmopolitan, vibrant and dynamic metropolis. 

Harrow was the obvious choice when considering vacancies and I could write at length on the endless reasons for this. Harrow’s reputation for excellence is world-renowned and I saw immediately that working here would require the highest professional standards in all that I do. I am an ambitious and hard working person and this really appealed to me. I felt instantly that I would be able to grow here. The school’s motto Leadership for a better world and its emphasis on strong relationships strongly resonated with me. I was also particularly drawn to the fact that Harrow Shanghai is a member of growing family of schools, promising partnership and collaboration with colleagues across not only China but also internationally. I was also really keen to experience working in an all-through school, discovering first-hand how my role built on children’s prior steps and prepared them for the next stage of their journey.” (Ms Leah Pulman, Head of Pre-Prep)

  • Why did you choose Harrow Shanghai for your next career move? How do you hope to make a difference at Harrow?

“I grew up in Harrow in the UK and taught at Harrow School for a number of years before relocating to Hong Kong in 2012. My first role in Hong Kong was at Harrow International School and it was very exciting to be there from the very first days that it opened and to be part of the team that built the initial curriculum. After an exam tour in Shanghai in 2019, I knew that this is a city that I would enjoy living in so when I saw the job advertised, it was an easy decision to make.

Secondary School Head of Music. I am aware that Harrow Shanghai is still a new school and is still in a period of growth. Over my career, I have been very successful in building Music departments and curricula and in encouraging students to be involved in Music and in helping them develop their skills and talents. There is a lot of potential to do the same at Harrow Shanghai and I cannot wait to get started.” (Mr Nigel Penfold, Head of Music)

  • What is your teaching role and how do you hope to make a difference at Harrow? What message would you like to send to our students-to-be?

“I will be Head of English and Whole School Literacy Coordinator. I’m hoping that, by sharing my passion for the subject, I’ll encourage a school-wide love of words in all their forms: debate, rhetoric, literature, performance, poetry…. 

The message I would that I would like to send to my students-to-be: communication and creativity are keystones in my subject – how are you developing these in your own lives and minds? I’m looking forward to finding out!” (Ms Tess St Clair-Ford, Teacher of English)

  • Describe what matters most to you in education?

“What matters most to me in education is to always understand that everything we do matters today, and for the future, and therefore we should always strive for excellence. In doing so we can make a difference to our own lives and the lives of others. In a word, what matters most is, ‘excellence’. Many important values and qualities are derived out of the fact that we are striving to be excellent.” (Mr Simba Matondo,  Teacher of Chemistry)