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Michaela Community School is one of the most successful and controversial state schools in England.
Teacher talking to student
“It truly is a privilege to work at Michaela, with such an incredible staff body and wonderful pupils. I would definitely encourage anyone, within education or not, to visit and see for themselves what young people are capable of.”

The Michaela Myths

Still cautious about applying for a teaching position at Michaela?

Our newest teachers discuss some of the most common myths about working at Michaela:

1. Michaela is too strict for me

The best thing about teaching is working with children – they are hilarious. It is an honour to help shape the minds of young people and all good teachers enjoy building formative relationships with children. Understandably, no one would want to work in a school that is so strict that there is no room for fun or warmth.

At Michaela, pupils feel safe and happy because their teachers are in charge and the rules are clear and fair. Yes, we are strict but a strict behaviour policy alone is not enough. We do everything we can to show the children that we are on their side and that we care about them. We smile, we laugh, we have nicknames and in-jokes, we wear wigs and play table tennis. It is our duty to make Michaela a place of true joy for children to learn and grow.

“Michaela allows me to show off who I am to the kids even more and you can really joke around because you know they aren’t going to take advantage.”

Science teacher taching students
Teacher talking to students outside
Boys doing art lesson

2. All Michaela teachers think and act the same

We have a clear vision and set of values as a staff. We share many ideas around what works in the classroom and education more generally. That said, we certainly do not think the same about everything. What makes Michaela a vibrant, interesting place to work are the many diverging ideas and opinions around all sorts of things: politics, religion, patriotism, the list goes on. 

Fundamentally, we want our pupils to have lots of knowledge about the world so that they are able to think for themselves, question ideas and offer a new, diverse perspective. As teachers, we promote the same for ourselves.

Girls talking in hall
Group science lesson
Engaged pupil in class

3. Michaela has too many routines

Consistency is essential across the school. Children like consistency because it means they know how to behave and that they can rely on teachers (and that makes them feel safe). Behaviour is consistently good at Michaela because children and teachers know – and apply – the rules very well. Learning all the rules when joining any new school is a daunting task but at Michaela, our routines go even further than the behaviour policy.

Children know the routine for everything here: entering the classroom, talking to their partner, serving food at family lunch, reciting poetry, even playing basketball. This means the school day runs seamlessly for them and that they can feel successful at everything they do. That said, it is initially a big undertaking for new pupils and teachers alike. For this reason, we have a 7-day Boot Camp every September, and our newest teachers receive additional training and support throughout their first year or until the routines have become automatic.

4. Michaela pupils are robots

It is easy to assume, with all our rules and routines, that the children do not have much opportunity to show their personalities. However, the opposite is true. In many schools, peer pressure (and sometimes bullies) influences how children behave. That might stop them from putting their hand up to answer a question or going to chess club at lunchtime. Peer pressure might also push them to start wearing make-up early or being on their phone in lessons. When children are in charge, rather than caring adults, pupils might stop being their weird and wonderful selves and instead start trying to ‘fit in’. Worse, some pupils might be too scared to even do or say anything at all.

At Michaela, children are free to be children. Our classrooms are safe spaces where they can be themselves and no one will snigger or eye roll. We teach tolerance, kindness and respect and we see those virtues acted out every day. Difficult to believe? Come and see for yourselves.

“I am still astounded by the clarity and articulation with which our pupils speak, by their manners and by their knowledge. I look forward to each teaching day knowing that it will be exactly that: teachers teaching and pupils learning.”

Girls happy in class
Students doing science
Smiling student