"If I have to choose a favourite local dish, it’d be Hokkien Prawn Mee!", exclaims Martin Hughes, principal of EtonHouse International School Broadrick, Singapore. In the first of our 'Meet & Greet' series, we sit with Martin to hear about what inspires him, his experience in Singapore, and the valuable advice he has for parents.
Introducing Martin Hughes
Martin has a strong academic background, having won a scholarship to study at Oxford University and being Proxime to the University’s prize for the best undergraduate research in Geography.
Martin has been a member of the EtonHouse family since 2007. He brings many years of experience as Principal both from his native UK since 1990 and internationally in China. In his time with EtonHouse, he has led schools in China to successful Middle Years Programme (MYP) authorisation and reauthorisation in the Primary Years Programme (PYP).
Martin always seeks to put the needs of the students at the centre of the decision-making process. As a leader, he is keen to build on the strengths of the school and work in collaboration with the community of students, parents and staff. He believes that it is the strength of the relationships and the team, coupled with a clear vision of the school’s direction, that forms the cornerstone of a good school.
Learn more about Martin in our exclusive interview with him:
1. Full name/ Nickname?
Martin Hughes. I am not aware of any particular nicknames I might have!! My Chinese name is MaDin.
2. Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in England and originate from the South West of the country, but I consider Chesterfield on the edge of the beautiful Peak District National Park as my home town.
3. How do you like Singapore? What is your favorite local dish?
Singapore is so clean, well organised and ordered. Things work well here, quite a different experience to most of my last 10 years which have been spent in China! I really like the bus system here. I love seafood and there is so much variety in Singapore with dishes from so many cultures. If I have to choose a favourite local dish, it’d be Hokkien Prawn Mee!
4. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I really enjoy running and reading, though not at the same time! Going out for a run in the early morning or late evening helps keep the problems of the day in perspective
5. What inspired you to become a principal?
I went into education to try to make a difference in people’s lives, in the same way that an inspirational teacher made such a big impact on my life. As a teacher and principal, I so much enjoyed working in ex-coal mining areas for many years helping children understand that they can impact on their own surroundings and lives. Later on, I have had the privilege of working with the International Baccalaureate curriculum that frees up teachers to develop the skills that students need in a rapidly changing world. As a principal, you have the privilege and responsibility to lead that educational development for so many more people than as a teacher.
6. What do you enjoy most about being a principal?
The daily contact with people - staff, parents and children, and the responsibility to lead the development of such a wonderful school as EtonHouse Broadrick.
7. How would you describe your school in one sentence?
A family-friendly, welcoming happy place of learning where children learn to respect themselves and others and begin to take control of their exciting learning journey.
8. Which is your favorite part of the school, and why?
Each of the classrooms because they are the learning spaces jointly created by the teachers and the children to enact and track learning.
9. What is your most memorable moment in your years of teaching/being a principal?
There have been so many memorable moments. Most relate to seeing the progress of the students in our care or hearing about them later. I sometimes see people from often many years ago that will approach me in Chesterfield and talk about good times in the schools I have been in. I remember one email from a mother saying that I transformed her boy’s view of Maths when he was 7. She was writing to say he was representing UK in the Maths Olympiad in Moscow.
10. What is a piece of advice you would give to parents in supporting their children’s education journey?
Love and nurture your child. Help them to develop the confidence to have a go at new things whilst respecting the views of others. Laugh and play with them.