Paula Anderson became Head in 2014, joining from Bromley High School for Girls where she was Senior Deputy Head for ten years. She has taught in a number of independent schools including The Royal High School, Bath where she was Head of a Faculty and Deputy Director of Studies. Mrs Anderson has a BSc (Hons) and an MBA in Educational Management from the University of Leicester. She is married with two teenage boys.
Who/what inspired you to become a teacher?
This is not down to one person but as a result of a holistic experience of my school days, having been taught by many excellent teachers who brought enthusiasm and creativity to the classroom. I knew that I wanted to work with children and inspire them to do their best and enable them to reach their full potential and enjoy learning.
What achievement are you most proud of as Head?
I ensure that I make time to listen to the pupils at Bishop Challoner and meet with them regularly. I am keen to learn all about their interests and their likes and dislikes and what makes them buzz. It is extremely important to me to meet the pupils in small groups over the course of each year whilst they enjoy cake and juice in my room. Since I interview all the 11+ entrants I am already a step ahead because when they join us I can remember their names and what they have told me. I also enjoy meeting them on a Monday morning for commendations to reward extremely good work and effort. The nursery children are adorable and they take time to feed me with their produce that they have been making!
What does a successful school look like to you?
A school where the pupils can be themselves and are happy. If they are happy they will thrive and be successful. A successful school is one that engages the pupils through excellent teaching enabling them to learn effectively and be challenged, to grow in knowledge and develop skills in preparation for the wider world. Development of the whole child is key and this is achieved through a range of extra-curricular activities and excellent pastoral care. Achieving excellent examination results is an expectation of an independent school but the personal development of every pupil is the key to their future.
What is the most important quality you want every child to have when they leave your school? And why?
We want our pupils to leave Bishop Challoner as confident and responsible individuals. During their time with us we give the pupils every opportunity to develop into well balanced and rounded individuals through our broad curriculum and extra-curricular provision as well as through leadership opportunities. These areas of development allow pupils to grow in confidence. We are ambitious for every pupil and we want them to have the confidence and desire to be ambitious for themselves, following our school motto of ‘Dare to do their best’.
Please give 5 words to describe the ethos of your school.
Our Catholic ethos allows us to support and guide pupils in their own faith journey through Mass and prayer. We celebrate Mass and hold regular services. Roman Catholic pupils in Year 3 are prepared for First Confession and Holy Communion in partnership with parishes where they worship.
Our enduring aim is to provide each pupil with a tailored education within a caring and nurturing environment whereby they can maximise their abilities and achieve their personal objectives. Our pastoral support ensures that the pupils remain happy and feel supported.
We respect all faiths and create a learning partnership for all. Our pupils are respectful of other views and listen to each other. The school responds with sensitivity and openness to the needs of those who belong to other churches or faiths and to value their beliefs. The pupils are polite and well mannered.
Our strong discipline and pastoral care provide a good moral grounding and the pupils can see the value in goodness and they learn to be tolerant of each other.
There is a strong sense of community among the pupils, staff, Trustees, and parents and our alumni. We are very proud of the strong sense of community that exists amongst the former pupils with one another and with the school.
Bishop Challoner recognises the important contribution pupils can make to their community and traditionally we have provided leadership opportunities through the School Council, House and Sports Captains, Senior Prefects, Chaplaincy, Charity representatives, Youth Travel Ambassadors and Head Pupil Team.
This school is independently managed and its admission criteria may be selective. There is no set catchment area as pupils are admitted from a wide variety of postcodes and, in the case of boarding schools, from outside the UK. Contact the school directly or visit their website for more information on Admissions Policy and Procedures.
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