Interview: Bernard Canetti, Brampton College
As Brampton College announces it is London’s highest-achieving sixth form college for the 18th year running, principal Bernard Canetti reveals the secret to success and how it will continue to evolve its support for students
Q. What is your career history?
I achieved a degree in mathematics and education and a master’s in numerical analysis before continuing on to work at an independent sixth form college. I went on to set up my own venture, a careers and counselling service for A-level students in 1989 and then founded the Mathematics Tuition Centre in 1990. Over the next decade, the Tuition Centre grew rapidly and we moved to larger premises here on Lodge Road in 1998. The centre was renamed Brampton College in 2004.
I remember typing the first prospectus on an old Remington while on holiday with my wife in Sicily in 1990. Its message, especially the vision and fundamental ethos of the college, remains the same today: to provide an exceptional standard of education which focuses on developing the confidence and academic ability of each individual student.
Q. What are the best things about being a principal, and the biggest challenges?
Helping to transform the lives of individual students and seeing them leave the college with increased confidence and self-belief is certainly the most rewarding element of my job.
Staff retention is very high at Brampton, but when a member of staff does leave, the challenge is always about ensuring we find the best replacement and an individual who fully buys into our values and principles.
Helping to transform the lives of individual students and seeing them leave the college with increased confidence and self-belief is certainly the most rewarding element of my job
Q. Brampton College has been named London’s highest-achieving sixth form college for the 18th year. What’s your secret?
I’m incredibly proud of the college’s achievement and our ongoing record of success. However, the secret is not to be complacent. Every year we strive hard to ensure we enhance the quality of academic provision, and the support and care we provide for each student.
Q. What are your future plans for Brampton College?
This year has seen the launch of an extensive range of both parent talks and Inspire talks for students.
The parent talks have ranged from proactive parenting from Harley Street parenting expert Mandy Saligari, to an evening with Anthony Julius and Jonathan Goldstein on anti-Semitism: a current perspective.
The talks have had fantastic feedback and represent our commitment to supporting parents during their child’s time here. We’re focused on extending this programme of talks to add genuine value to both parents’ and students’ experience. We’re also exploring ways of opening our doors to the local community.
Q. What makes Brampton College stand out?
Our focus on student wellbeing is second to none. Whilst academic achievement is crucial, I believe that developing students’ self-belief, confidence and resilience is equally critical.
The pressure on young people today is immense and we see an increasing number of students come to us suffering from stress and anxiety.
More than ever, it’s therefore profoundly important that we create an environment where students feel that their teachers are concerned about them as individuals and believe in them. When students leave us feeling happy and confident then we know we have achieved success.