After graduating with a First Class History Honours degree from the University of Exeter, Mrs Chandler-Thompson went on to gain a PGCE before taking up her first teaching post at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls in Elstree, where she taught History for seven years. She moved oversees in 2011 to become Head of the Girls’ School at North London Collegiate School in Jeju, South Korea. She has been Head at Blackheath High School since 2014.
Who/what inspired you to become a teacher?
I was very fortunate to have been taught by a series of inspirational teachers, too numerous to name. They steadily built my confidence and self-belief; generously shared their sense of humour and fired a passion in me for history, literature and sport. School was totally transformational for me and I knew at the age of 18 that I wanted to be able to do the same for others.
What achievement are you most proud of as Head?
I am incredibly proud of the girls every day. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing students try something they thought they could not do and succeed. From applying to a top university, to their first speaking part in assembly; the courage and spirit of our students makes me incredibly fulfilled.
What does a successful school look like to you?
A place where passion and enthusiasm ooze from every pore!
You can tell a successful school, the minute you cross the threshold. There is a sense of excitement and wonder about learning and students are encouraged to be curious and open-minded. There is a willingness to take risks and be aspirational; a sense that there are ‘no ceilings’ on what can be achieved. It is a haven where students and teachers share a sense of purpose and fun and this is evident in a demonstrably positive, happy atmosphere.
What is the most important quality you want every child to have when they leave your school? And why?
A genuine sense of inner confidence. I think the most important thing we can achieve for the girls, is to prepare them for the unknown. We do not know what challenges, personal or professional, they will face in the future, so we aim to equip them with a deep self-knowledge and the skills and outlook that will enable them to thrive in any situation.
Please give 5 words to describe the ethos of your school.
Inspirational; vibrant; cosmopolitan; compassionate and creative.
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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