There’s so much joy to be had in education, whether you’re teaching, learning, or simply seeing others flourish.
When Aatif Hassan founded Dukes in 2015, he was driven by the thing that gave him most joy – working with children and helping them develop into extraordinary young people. He was inspired by great education and wanted to build something really special in the sector.
Since time immemorial, the best education has always had the same thing at its core — wonderful teachers spending quality time with students. So building closer connections between people was a natural place to begin with Dukes.
We set out to build a collection of schools who could share and learn from each other, while still having the freedom to do what they do best.
Today, the Dukes family is home to some of the UK’s finest independent nurseries, schools and colleges, as well as summer schools and consultancy services — all united in their passion for nurturing students and helping them thrive.
We’re proud of how far we’ve come, but we’re excited to go further – and to keep enjoying ourselves along the way.
It’s simple really. Dukes collects people who are good people. I think the common values we seem to have are concerned with quality. The type of education we offer in each place is different, but quality is all-important.
No-one knows their school better than the Principal or Head who runs it. And no-one cares more about it than they do. So we make sure they lead on every decision, preserving the individual character and ethos of their schools. We look for leaders who are still children at heart; people who love the fun — as well as the fundamentals — of the classroom. These are the people who shaped the direction of Dukes from the very beginning, and continue to shape it to this day. And we do our very best to look after these people, because we know they’re the most important asset we have.
Individually we can achieve amazing things, but together we’re extraordinary. So, while each of our schools is independent, they’re strengthened by being part of a family that shares resources and expertise. The best teams are made up of autonomous indidividuals. Our management structure has no more than four levels from our board of directors to the most junior members of our team. This means everyone knows where they fit in the bigger picture — and they have the freedom and flexibility to act quickly, and make decisions for their school.
We know that if we want to inspire excellence in young learners, then we need to achieve excellence in everything we do. One way we accomplish this is by working closely with regulatory authorities and inspection bodies to ensure everyone in the Dukes family delivers the highest possible standards. Additionally, the members of the Dukes Education Advisory Board come together regularly to discuss recent and future developments across the group. Their expert support and guidance not only helps us meet best-practice standards, it encourages us to set newer, higher standards for all.
We believe education should be exciting at any stage, whether you’re starting school, or you’re running one. So we’re driven to instil our lifelong love of learning in our students — through teaching inside the classroom and, outside, through our initiatives. We also provide extensive staff training, leadership and management programmes, so our teachers can continue their education too.