Nick was born and raised in Hednesford, Staffordshire, UK. He grew up with a deep love of the outdoors and ball games. A keen soccer player in his younger days, he developed a passion for rock climbing in his teens and still maintains a strong interest in the sport today. Despite spending over 30 years overseas, Nick still returns to Hednesford each summer to spend time with family and friends and re-connect with his youth.
Whilst at school in Hednesford, Nick began the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and was very proud indeed to be invited to Buckingham Palace to receive the Gold Award a few years later.
Nick attended Manchester University, where he studied Mathematics and Management Sciences. Continuing his interest in rock climbing, Nick was fortunate to partner with some of the best climbers of the day.
On graduating from Manchester University, Nick joined Lloyd’s Bank, where he trained to be a Bank Manager. Realizing that people mattered so much more to him than numbers, he left the world of banking and returned to university to acquire a Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching Mathematics at Swansea University in Wales. This year proved to be pivotal in re-shaping Nick’s career aspirations. He entered the teaching profession soon after, teaching Mathematics and PE at Roundhay School in Leeds, UK.
Despite his lack of experience, Nick was fast-tracked into management and took on his first leadership role as Head of Mathematics at the age of 28. He taught A Level Mathematics successfully for six years but continued to look for fresh challenges and when the opportunity to move to Finland, to both begin married life and teach in a prestigious Finnish School, he jumped at the chance.
Teaching IB Higher Level Mathematics, Physics and Economics at SYK in Helsinki proved to be a major stepping stone, shaping Nick’s educational philosophy. The combination of the Finnish approach to education and the International Baccalaureate proved to be irresistible and Nick soon realized that his passion for teaching and learning had been re-kindled. At this point he became a leading light in the development of IB schools in Finland, frequently providing guidance for fellow teachers and driving curriculum development.
Now a father of two boys, Vincent and Thomas, Nick and his Finnish wife, Aulikki, pondered the idea of moving overseas. A move to Phuket, Thailand to work for Dulwich International College, provided an opportunity for Nick to further his managerial aspirations and for the whole family to embrace a new culture in a truly wonderful location. Nick soon joined the College Leadership Team and completed an MSc in Educational Leadership. He also continued his involvement with the IB, co-designing and implementing the IB Higher Level Mathematics Internal Assessment program in 2003. The school went from strength to strength during this period, establishing itself as the leading international boarding school in the area. The Botting family also expanded with the arrival of their third son, Michael, in 2002.
Nick’s experience in leading international schools in their formative years then led to a move to Shanghai, where he was invited to take up the position of Deputy Headmaster at the highly renowned Dulwich College Shanghai. Over the next 4 years the school’s reputation for both academic excellence and sporting and artistic achievement grew remarkably leading to joyful 10th anniversary celebrations.
Throughout his 13-year journey from Finland via Thailand and Spain to China, Nick had endeavored to help teachers develop constructivist practices in the classroom, believing that the most successful schools don’t just achieve great examination results but also shape students and teachers as balanced, lifelong learners. As he moved to Qatar to take up a leadership role at the International School of London, he sensed an opportunity to build on this philosophy and embed professional learning at the heart of the school’s day-to-day practice. Over the following 6 year period he led a project to build a set of teacher evaluation tools that would shift the emphasis away from appraisal towards growth and reflective practice. Numerous presentations across the international community generated further refinements as Nick shared his thinking with other like-minded professionals who were seeking to shift the agenda in their own schools.
After 29 years of teaching and leading in IB schools, eager to explore new perspectives, Nick decided to seek a fresh challenge and joined BASIS International Schools China, initially as their first Chief Instructional Officer in 2020. He then became Executive Head of School at BASIS International School Shenzhen. The appeal of once again working and living in China and leading during the formative years of school development was irresistible.
However, there is so much more to working for BASIS International Schools. The vision of Dr. Guan, Chairman of Ascend Corporation, and Dr. Reford, Chief Executive Head of Schools in truly powerful. To be part of an ecosystem of schools striving to be the best in China by focusing on high-quality teaching and learning is truly attractive. As the first BASIS International School in China, BISZ has a key role to play supporting our other schools as they join the network whilst also maturing to become the leading international school in Shenzhen. As we move to a new state-of-the-art campus in August 2023, the future looks to be really exciting.
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