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Homecoming for ISA’s new Middle and High School Principal Stuart McAlpine

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Stuart MacAlpine as our new Middle and High School Principal.

With more than two decades’ experience in the education sector, Stuart will take up the new role as Principal for Grades 6-12 in August this year.

Born and raised in the UK with his formative years spent living between England and Scotland, Stuart’s career in education has taken him all over the world, from Singapore and New Zealand and more recently to Denmark where he’s spent the last 2.5 years with the LEGO Foundation as Senior Director.

His role with the LEGO Foundation’s Centre for Playful Learning has most recently been to lead the technical advisory team, focused on the relationship between learning and play, a key area of focus in Stuart’s educational philosophy.

His work centres around creating a supportive environment for students to be inspired by creativity and play with a focus on ‘hands on, minds on’ learning.

“I’m delighted to have been appointed as ISA Middle and High School Principal and very grateful to have the chance to put my experience to use at such a progressive and inclusive school,” said Stuart.

“I have always cared deeply about schools that bring diverse people together to help shape stronger communities and a better world. International education therefore was something that I was strongly drawn to and whose ideals I share.

“I enjoy being of service and using what I have learned to support communities focused on the learning and development of young people. My new role at ISA will allow me to fulfil my passion for education while honouring my commitment to making a difference to the lives of our young people.”

An English graduate from York University, with a postgraduate degree from Edinburgh University, Stuart’s teaching career began in earnest in 2004 at Sevenoaks School, Kent, where he worked as Assistant Head of English until 2008 before a promotion to Head of English at Millfield School, until 2011.

The past decade has seen Stuart and his family (his wife Francesca and their three sons) relocate to Singapore, where Stuart spent time as Director of Teaching and Learning at UWC South East Asia, whilst also acting as the founding Director of Education at Amala (formerly Sky School), the world’s first high school diploma for refugees.

Stuart’s next move to New Zealand saw him launch a brand-new teaching facility where he spearheaded a new curriculum for the ‘Green School’, focused on project and nature-based learning.

The MacAlpine family of five then settled into their new home in Billund, Denmark, to work for the world’s largest private educational philanthropic foundation, the LEGO Foundation, where Stuart helped lead a team dedicated to supporting play and playful learning by working with schools, leading universities, like Cambridge and Harvard, and large multinational organisations like the OECD, as well as setting up the international Playful Schools Network and Playful Schools Conference.

However, laying down roots for his three boys in a place they considered ‘home’ was becoming more appealing as he began thinking of a move back to Scotland, while also keen to get back to his own roots in school leadership and teaching.

“I grew up in a family who were all teachers, so it’s definitely in my blood. I am constantly immersed in all things relating to learning and research into leading practice in education; there’s absolutely nothing else I’d rather be doing.”

Stuart begins his new role at ISA when the school returns from the summer holidays in August.

“I’m very much looking forward to working alongside the caring, thoughtful and dynamic leadership team at ISA as I have been so encouraged by the highly supportive and collaborative approach to promote ongoing student-centred learning and development,” he continued. “I’m excited to work alongside a team of highly skilled and experienced educators within an extremely kind and inclusive school culture.

“I’m also very much looking forward to spending time with extended family and rediscovering the beauty of Scotland again with my own children.”

Our Head of School, Nick Little, said, “As an aspirational figure in the field of child-centred learning and a leading advocate for advances in research into the relationship between creativity and learning, we are delighted Stuart has accepted the role as our new Middle and High School Principal.

“Stuart is widely regarded as one of the world’s most progressive educational minds and I’m confident he will be an invaluable addition to our school leadership team.

“On behalf of the entire ISA school community, I would like to offer Stuart a warm ‘welcome home’ to Scotland and all the very best in his new role.”

Outside of school, but complementary to his new role, Stuart will also be a part-time doctoral student at Cambridge University, researching under Prof Paul Ramchandani, focusing on the policies of Education Scotland.

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