The new Head of Wells Cathedral School Junior School discusses his background and educational philosophy

What is your background?

It was a gap year in North Devon that first ignited my passion for teaching. Though sponsored by the Army’s Logistic Corp through university, it was a wonderful QTS year at Wells Cathedral Junior School that cemented my decision to enter the profession. As a former boarder at Stamford School, it was a natural and easy progression into a boarding role at Wells. From here, I moved to All Hallows School in Somerset and then to a Deputy Headship, followed by Headship, at Forres Sandle Manor School in Hampshire.

What excites you most about your new role?

First and foremost, I cannot wait to reacquaint myself with the school that is so dear to my heart. There has always been a fantastic sense of community and family at Wells Cathedral Junior School and the broader school as a whole. I am thrilled to be heading back into the classroom and especially the odd chance to coach sport again. Wells is a unique school. Working with children to help them succeed and find happiness is nothing but a privilege.

What is your academic philosophy?

Education should not only equip children with a curiosity for the world around them but also instil a love of learning that is matched by a balance of high ambition and integrity. Alongside academic development, I wholly believe in the development of transferable skills such as communication, collaboration, leadership, initiative and tenacity.

60 Seconds With Jody Wells, Head of Wells Cathedral Junior School
Jody Wells, Head of Wells Cathedral School Junior School

Can you tell us about one pivotal moment in your career?

It was chatting to a parent over a cup of tea at parents evening early on in my career. Her son, a reasonable U10 sportsman, but abject day dreamer, had not made the A team and I had been asked why. My response, along the lines of ‘If he worked a bit harder maybe he would get into the team’ was met with ‘Maybe if you put him in the team, he would work a bit harder’. This stopped me in my tracks. I just hadn’t ever thought about it like that before. He got his chance and ended his school career as captain of a county championship-winning hockey team and an A-team player in all sports.

What is Wells Cathedral School’s approach and what sets it apart?

Wells aims to provide its children with an environment in which they feel secure and comfortable to be curious, to explore and to dream. Our aim is to support children to discover their passions and talents, and ultimately themselves. What sets Wells Cathedral School apart is more than its unique position as a traditional educational establishment, it is a feeling, a sense of wonder created by a combination of the beautiful location, the breadth of opportunity and the sense of community.

What makes a great student?

A sense of curiosity, a hunger to learn and a willingness to burn one’s fingers in the pursuit of this, will all play their part but above all of this, being respectful, honest and kind.

From your experience, what makes a great school environment?

Great schools are all about the people. A school should be a happy place where children feel valued, respected and cared for. School should be an environment where children are taught by those with passion for their subject and a desire to instil a similar love in their charges. An environment where they are challenged but in a way that excites them and that encourages them to value those challenges, and the mistakes along the way.

Wells Cathedral School

Further reading: 60 Seconds With Henry Price, Headmaster of Oakham