Head Teacher Profiles

A handful of new headteachers will make a big impact on a clutch of schools popular with children living in Nappy Valley in this next academic year. Georgina Blaskey has their details

HEADS UP

head1Mrs Katharine Woodcock Headmistress, Sydenham High School

What do you love about your new school?

I am extremely proud of our pupils and all that they do. They are ambitious, well rounded, down-to-earth and are not afraid to have a go at anything they put their minds to. They really do live up to our school motto of ‘Fear Nothing.’

What is your vision for the school?

To ensure that we deliver the very best educational experience for every single girl, academically, pastorally and on a co-curricular level. Allowing girls to be themselves and have confidence in all that they do is imperative and in a girls-only setting stereotypes and pre-conceived expectations must fly out of the window. I want all our girls to put themselves forward, aim to outstrip expectations and have that inner strength to excel in all that they do.

What changes are you hoping to make?

I am very much looking to build on the successes of Sydenham High and a fresh pair of eyes brings new ideas and initiatives. Ensuring our pupils are engaging with exciting opportunities, be that through STEM events, volunteering, sport, music or rowing is paramount. Academically there is no doubt that the school is on an upwards trajectory and academic excellence here is matched with pastoral excellence.

“I WANT ALL OUR GIRLS TO PUT THEMSELVES FORWARD, AIM TO OUTSTRIP EXPECTATIONS”

What challenges do you face?

There are still too many sectors where women are under-represented so an exciting challenge is to help them break into these areas and ensure they have the strength and confidence to do so. There are many outstanding female role models out there and we need to continue to inspire our girls so that they realise that every door is open to them.


“WE REALLY LIKED THE SENSE OF COMMUNITY AMONG THE SCHOOL’S PARENTS”

head2Rob Farrell Headmaster Oliver House School

What do you love about your new school?

My son joined Oliver House in the nursery, five years ago when I was teaching in a boys school in Surrey. My wife and I were looking for a school where our son would be happy and reach his full potential. We chose Oliver House because of its focus on character development and an all-round education. I was particularly impressed with the smaller class sizes and we really liked the sense of community among the school’s parents. I loved the school and believed in its approach to education so much that I applied to work here, which I think says a great deal.

What is your vision for the school?

I fundamentally believe in the approach to education that Oliver House has, so that will not change. My vision is to ensure that we support that approach with the best facilities and resources that we can provide.

“WE CHOSE OLIVER HOUSE BECAUSE OF ITS FOCUS ON CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AND AN ALL-ROUND EDUCATION”

What changes are you hoping to make?

This summer we will be developing fantastic new library facilities and a new art room. We recently installed a new multi-sports surface playground and introduced iPads across the school. We recently received planning permission for a major development to our Early Years facilities, so it is a really exciting time at Oliver House.

What challenges do you face?

Making sure I have a good balance of family time around work can be difficult. I work hard on getting that right.

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