Who/what inspired you to become a teacher?
I was fortunate to be taught by several inspirational teachers who shared their love of learning for its own sake. They also embraced the values of developing a broad range of interests. I remember being taken to art galleries, the theatre and being given the chance of trying lots of different sports. It is an approach that worked for me as a pupil and I was determined to promote these values for others and so it was a natural progression for me to follow in the footsteps of some these wonderful, enlightened teachers. I remain committed to this approach and feel that opportunity and encouragement are at the heart of education and transcends the single sex, co-ed, faith, day, boarding debate that often confuses the essence of what makes a good school.
What achievement are you most proud of as Head?
To see young people develop through their teen years into articulate, interested members of society. For some, the opportunities we have provided and the pupils have embraced can become life changing. To know I have played a part in creating a team of staff and pupils who have worked so closely together is very rewarding. For some pupils lifelong friendships develop both with classmates and staff alike through some of these shared experiences.
What does a successful school look like to you?
One where pupils feel comfortable and supported, they dare to try new things and challenge themselves. Schools should be places where we learn to challenge ourselves and to be inspired by other pupils and teachers alike. We celebrate success in all its guises and learn to enjoy our own triumphs as well as the achievements of others. We also embrace the life lesson of learning how to handle disappointment, it is essential to not allow this to blunt one’s ambition and enthusiasm; it is an important part of becoming a confident individual and the fear of failure can be stultifying.
What is the most important quality you want every child to have when they leave your school? And why?
To be inquisitive, there should be a lifelong motivation to gather knowledge and develop understanding.
Please give 5 words to describe the ethos of your school.
Our school motto, Ad Vitam Paramus, translates into five appropriate words which I believe we embody at Sherfield: “We are preparing for life”.