Derek William Llewellyn – Music in the blood and teaching on the brain

An interview with the new Head of Primary School at the Phorms Campus Berlin Mitte


‘You’re not just a teacher at school, but everywhere, for the rest of your life,’ says Derek W. Llewellyn, the new Head of Primary School at the Phorms Campus Berlin Mitte, who takes a look back at his career so far.

He has implemented this philosophy many times in his life already. He has headed primary schools in a number of countries across the world, including England, the Netherlands and Myanmar. He recently helped establish the Pun Hlaing International School in Yangon as the founding Headmaster, in the process working closely with the renowned Harrow International School, which co-founded the institution and oversaw its transition into Dulwich College International, Yangon.

‘I am extremely interested in how new technologies helps us to learn and understand. But people and their life journey have always been my primary motivation,’ explains Llewellyn. He started off as a passionate musician, playing piano, guitar and bass as a session musician, and later worked with children and homeless teenagers as a Community Worker in East London. This was a turning point, when it became clear to him that opportunities for education have to be provided early on. ‘I wanted to help children and young people before they were exposed to negative experiences and, in doing so, try to be part of a formative solution rather than meeting them when things had gone wrong,’ the 55-year-old explains. He went on to complete a teaching degree at Wolverhampton University in England and began working as a primary school teacher and ICT coordinator in the 90s. He has always been involved in research projects in education and completed an analysis of the teaching of coding and using computers in schools as part of his M.Sc. at Birkbeck University, London.

Llewellyn thinks that bilingualism and the Phorms immersion concept have great educational potential. For him, this concept differs significantly from the teaching programmes at international schools: ‘At Phorms, even the very youngest students learn not just to think in English, but also to dream and to feel in English,’ he says. Llewellyn believes this system needs to be promoted: ‘Children have the potential to develop a variety of skills in a multilingual environment that simply would not be available in a monolingual environment.’

Read now: