Alexandra joined Farnborough Hill as Headmistess in September 2016. She was previously Deputy Head at Rye St Antony School in Oxford. Educated at Gordonstoun School, Alexandra holds a BA (Hons) in Modern History and Politics from the University of Southampton, a PGCE from Christ Church College Canterbury and a Masters in Education from Oxford Brookes University.
Who/what inspired you to become a teacher?
Whilst at school, I was always impressed by the teachers that took the time to really get to know individuals, those that ensured that students were able to make the most of every opportunity. I appreciated the staff who were keen to encourage young people; those that took the time to recognise effort and application. During a gap year at 18, I became a scuba diving instructor, it was at this point that I discovered the buzz of helping people to achieve – unlocking understanding and gaining new skills. Once back at university I had made my mind up that I wanted to put my inter-personal skills to best use and become a teacher, inspiring children with my love of history.
What achievement are you most proud of as Head?
I'm new to the role so it's easier to talk about what I am really looking forward to achieveing. I'm looking foward to getting to know each pupil as an individual. At Farnborough Hill we are committed to developing the talents and skills of each person, helping each to be the very best they can be, helping each to shine. The school is the ideal size to ensure excellent pastoral support as well as a huge range of opportunities and challenges so each girl can "be in her element". A great part of the role is seeing the personal growth of pupils, being part of the story as each grows in self-confidence and is ready to embrace the opportunities of the wider world.
What does a successful school look like to you?
A successful school is one that is purposeful and exciting; one where students look forward to coming each day. Schools must educate in the round. Academic rigour and challenge are central to education but so too are the values, community spirit and wider educational opportunities that I want all our students to develop and embrace. Within a successful school there is a culture of inter-dependence, all members of the community are focussed on developing and nurturing the potential of students. A successful school binds care, support and wider opportunities with academic excellence. It builds courage, self-esteem and a sense of service.
What is the most important quality you want every child to have when they leave your school? And why?
I want all our students to be both resilient and compassionate. The world is evermore fast-changing and fast-paced. Young adults need to be strong enough to face this challenge and to do so with determination and a positive approach. I want young people to meet challenges with a sense of excitement and a feeling that opportunities abound. To do this it is vital that every Farnborough Hill student has a strong sense of self-worth and recognises her own skills and abilities. Each must be imbued with sound self-esteem and this is very much built during the formative school years. Resilience is important, but so too is a deep sense of compassion and kindness. I believe a key responsibility of school is to send our students into the world with a desire to be active citizens, eager to make a positive difference and to treat people with the respect, fairness and tolerance. This is central to the educational mission of Farnborough Hill.
Please give 5 words to describe the ethos of your school.
Impossible in 5 words! I will offer a sentence:
"Educating the whole person in a caring Christian community."
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