If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams
I have always loved politics, ever since I was a student myself. I always considered myself lucky to have teachers who were motivated by the principles of democracy and government and enthused me in the political processes and institutions in Britain. It is the main reason why I went on to study and achieve a First Class Honours in History and Politics at university and then go and teach these subjects myself.
I consider myself to be an outstanding History and Politics teacher. I have worked in schools for over seven years and held a range of responsibilities in middle and senior leadership. In my most recent school, rated “outstanding” by Ofsted in November 2013, I have been Assistant Principal in which one of my main responsibilities was the promotion of British Values and spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students. This included a focus on ensuring that the values of democracy were incorporated in all aspects of our school provision.
When I am asked what has motivated me to leave school leadership and undertake my new project, I recall visiting another school. I met a very bright class of kind and considerate students who were studying for their GCSEs. After one lesson, the teacher linked the content of the lesson to politics and government today. The number of students who didn’t know who the Prime Minister was, or who their local MP was concerned me. It was also disconcerting to hear students disparage politics and the irrelevance that it had to their everyday lives. It was from this experience that Political Education For Students was born.
I am determined that Political Education For Students will be different to the current experience of political and citizenship education that students are used to. It is designed to engage and enthuse students about the political process in Britain, not deliver overwhelming amounts of content. It encourages questioning, debate and most of all fun in order that students want to engage with the process, that they want to get involved and become politically aware.
I strongly believe that Political Education For Students is a company that could only ever be run most effectively by teachers. At PEFS, we know how to tap in to a student’s enthusiasm, to hook them and make them see the value in something. Only teachers can create the engagement, that thirst for learning and that passion. These skills are the qualities needed if we are to reverse the declining interest and education in British politics, citizenship and democracy.
I hope that we get the chance to work with you and your students very soon!
James Nichols is an outstanding and inspiring teacher. His lessons are engaging and students talk about his passion for history, government and politics. He is well educated in all aspects of politics and current affairs and has a genuine commitment to improving political literacy and inspiring young people to take responsibility and engage in political issues.
One of the focuses of his work has been based on aspiration and he has delivered fantastic programmes with Gifted and Talented students and their parents which has been very well received. Many students have been fortunate enough to be coached by James in support of their applications to Oxbridge and Russell group universities.
He has positive relationships with students and staff and has consistently demonstrated excellence in coaching others to be the best that can be. He is also a powerful and persuasive speaker who has organized a number of well organized events and feedback from these have all been superb.
James is always keen to take on new challenges and is never afraid to make big decisions. He is reflective and his planning always shows that he is constantly seeking excellence in his work. He is obviously committed and serious about his work but he successfully combines this passion with a great sense of humour.
I wish James every success in his new venture. Although he will be a real loss, I know that he is excited to have the opportunity to use his skills with a wider audience and I have no doubt that he will be much in demand.
Executive Principal, Sir Herbert Leon Academy.
James is an outstanding teacher of History and Government and Politics who teaches enjoyable, engaging and aspirational lessons. He has excellent skills in coaching both students and teachers to be maximise their potential.
His enthusiasm for generating student interest in politics and current affairs is hard to miss. James has a genuine commitment to improving the political education of students. James quickly built outstanding relationships with students and staff and has successfully mentored and coached students for Oxford and Cambridge university interviews, as well as other Russell Group universities.
An excellent public speaker and event’s organiser James would be an asset to any organisation.
Headteacher, Stoke Pogues School.