The new Head of Dallington, Maria Blake, discusses the legacy of its founder and her vision for the future of the east London school

Dallington holds a unique place in the constellation of outstanding London schools – a vibrant oasis of creativity; proudly and fiercely independent. Established and led for over 40 years by Mogg Hercules MBE, it has been the school of choice for many parents seeking an exceptional education for their children. Taking over the headship presents a formidable challenge: how to celebrate and develop Mogg’s legacy while bringing to bear my own style and experience?

Yet I am quietly confident that I have a huge amount to bring to the Dallington community, not least my 30 years of teaching and leadership. This has been gained in many diverse schools around the world, and always flying the flag for progressive, inclusive and outward-looking education.

“My work is fuelled by the belief that every child has the right 
to be valued”


All my work and innovation has been underpinned by my belief in every child’s fundamental right to experience an education that nurtures a belief in themselves, and to be valued, empowered and informed. Children should also be encouraged to expect the best of themselves, and to expect the best of the adults in their lives – in school, in the home and in their communities. 

Many of the children I have taught and worked alongside have been destined for positions of great influence in their countries – nurturing these minds and helping them to deeply understand the world they will inherit has been the greatest responsibility. Yet some of the professional experiences that I most treasure took place in the forgotten corners of Islington and Hackney. I reflect with incredible pride that I was able to work as part of committed teams who worked tirelessly to bring the world and its myriad opportunities into those disadvantaged classrooms and then witnessed the impact on those young lives.

Naturally, I am honoured to become part of the incredibly strong and established Dallington team that led the school to an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ award in January 2018. When I joined the team in September, as Director of Teaching and Learning, I knew that I was among kindred spirits, and there is so much excitement as we embrace the journey ahead. We bring to bear our collective experience and vision as we address the challenges of educating the children of the 21st century. We look forward to developing new initiatives that recognise the importance of outdoor learning, of encouraging student voice and critical thinking, of nurturing wellbeing, responsibility and global citizenship, as well as building upon the timeless foundation of an excellent curriculum.

The children we are teaching today at Dallington will carry the torch of their learning into the future. Our job is to ensure that they will illuminate, inspire and care for the world they will inherit. 

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