‘Isn’t is nice when things just… work?’ One of the most memorable advertisements of the last decade was the beautiful arc and elusive sequence of the Honda machine. Somehow, it was deeply satisfying to watch. It captured the elegant simplicity that meticulous attention to detail can create. It took over seven years to make.

When Doug Lemov visited Michaela, he compared it to a Swiss watch: “Michaela is a Swiss watch, engineered at the smallest most minute and technical levels. Every spring clicks into place to ensure maximum learning.” Watch the making of the traditional watch here: it is a beautifully delicate craft, a fascinating tradition honed and perfected over many, many years.


One of the chapters in our book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Teachers, is on detail, written by one of our new teachers, written in her first week of joining Michaela:

“When I visited Michaela, I saw the pupils in action; I saw them go about their lessons and transitions in perfect order; I saw incredibly happy pupils with a sense of purpose, taking real joy in everything about their school. Children materialise outside classrooms before the bell has even sounded, knocking quietly on the door and announcing politely that they have arrived.

“What is different about Michaela is the extraordinary attention to detail that pervades every aspect of the school, leaving nothing to chance; every second of the school day is used to its full potential. When I joined Michaela as a teacher I was able to see the sheer volume of details that are accounted for backstage.”

In Sarah’s chapter, she explains how such attention to detail and precision brings dovetailed consistency among all our teachers, and how it brings about calm, peaceful and happy lives for all our pupils. Michaela has been years in the making, and there are years ahead to hone the most minute and technical of its operations.


About Joe Kirby

School leader, education writer, Director of Education and co-founder, Athena Learning Trust, Deputy head and co-founder, Michaela Community School, English teacher
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