101. Kindergarten networks: where to bring up kids while we are busy working w/ Martin Harris

3 min readMay 5, 2022


In this episode, André is talking with Martin Harris. Martin is the principal of The Lisboan School. It is an all-through school with places from the early years to year 13, of the British Curriculum. Martin has over 20 years of experience in being a Headmaster in schools across different latitudes. About 2 years ago Martin moved to Portugal to establish his school on his terms with a new educational model. Martin is also the Governor of St Mary’s Calne charity organisation.

Main topics covered:

🚀 What are the challenges of setting up an international school in Lisbon?

⚖️ What are the advantages of a non-traditional educational model?

⚡️ What are the advantages and disadvantages of relative freedom for pupils?

Time notes:

Introduction of the guest [1:00]

Did the school system recover after the pandemic [2:00]

How did Martin develop an interest in education? [6:30]

I was amazed to find that kids would listen to me.

How did Martin become a Headmaster [10:00]

Why did Martin decide to arrive in Portugal [12:20]

I wanted to do something that would reflect my thoughts on education.

How life in Portugal is different from the life in the UK [14:00]

I didn’t hear anybody say one bad thing about Lisbon.

We could’ve been on the beach from the office in 15 minutes. How many other capital cities in the world can do that?

What Martin is doing in his free time [17:00]

The founding of the Lisboan School [17:40]

Choice of the location of the Lisboan School [20:00]

One of the things that excited me was putting a modern school inside this beautiful building.

What is making the Lisboan School different from the other [25:00]

1. Location
2. Very early years of joining
3. The capacity to do so

I really am ambitious for the children. And ambition is something that sadly appears to be lacking in education. That frustrates me.

I want children to be involved in the act of discovery.

How high performers achieve by being educated properly [28:00]

Every child has a talent and it is our job to discover that.

One of the greatest challenges is how do we make education relevant for the future?

Freedom of choice in the British curriculum [31:00]

Who were the educational experts Martin consulted with [33:30]

Sustainability goal of the Lisboan School[35:30]

Reward scheme for low-impact lifestyles [39:00]

What has been the connection with the city council in school development [42:30]

The pricing challenge of the school [44:00]

Connection with already existing schools in Portugal [45:10]

Kindergarten approach in the Lisboan School [46:20]

What is the strategy for engaging kids in the after school activities [48:30]

At some stage of the child’s career, I will tell them — “Try everything”. It’s our job to inspire them.

What does Martin enjoy the most about the school and being a Headmaster [52:00]

What would Martin change in the educational moment if he had a superpower to immediately do that [53:00]

Just preparing to pass the exam is the wrong way of learning.

The expansion plan of the Lisboan School [54:00]

Who is the ideal Lisboan student in Martin’s mind [56:20]

Book recommendations [57:00]

Teacher age problem in schools [58:00]

Words of advice to younger self [1:00:00]

Make the most of all opportunities that come in your life.

Step back, and take a look around before deciding.

Guest recommends:

📕 Ken Robinson


This podcast was hosted by André Marquet, with research done by Evelina Bogdiun and sound edited by Miguel Sousa.

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