Page 20 - Independent Schools Magazine
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  Born: 1962
Married: to David (now semi -retired) We have 4 grown up children: Emma 31, James 29,
Rosie 29 and Tom 28
Schools and University Attended: The Bar Convent Grammar School, York from
1973 – 1980 followed by Bachelor of Education Degree at Bedford College of Physical Education
First job: Linton Village College - a rural co-educational 11-16 school in Cambridge
First management job:
Head of Pastoral Care at Foremarke Hall (Prep School to Repton) in Derbyshire
First job in education: as above
Appointed to current job:
joined Fulneck in September 2008 as Vice-Principal and was appointed to the role of Principal in 2012
Favourite piece of music:
Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
Favourite food: I have many but nothing beats a good steak!
Favourite drink: a chilled glass of champagne
Favourite holiday destination:
Fuerteventura
Favourite leisure pastime:
spending time with my lively family and long walks in the countryside with Gary (my mother’s dog)
Favourite TV or radio programme/series: Poldark
Suggested epitaph: ‘There are no limits – follow your dreams’
Pro le In conversation with Deborah Newman
 QFulneck School was created in 1994 pupils, staff and parents was a real advantage;
through a merger of boys’ and girls’
schools, both of which had been founded in the 1700’s by the Moravian Church, one of the oldest Protestant movements. The Moravians – who are represented on your Board of Trustees and also maintain Ockbrook School in Derbyshire, - are perhaps best known for creating the Christmas ‘Christingle’ tradition. In what ways does the Moravian heritage impact upon the
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to our school, even more so today when
only a minority of children are exposed to religious credence within the family setting. Today Fulneck is a multicultural school with children from diverse backgrounds. We are, therefore, keen to promote traditional Christian values through our curriculum, rather than any speci c religious beliefs. These values permeate our curriculum and our daily routines. Our school motto, ‘In essentials Unity, in non-essentials Liberty, and in all things Charity’, replicates the values and attitudes of the Moravian Church which are as relevant today as they have ever been.
We still hold our traditional Christingle service in December and ask our whole school community to attend the service. Our boarders attend Church services every Sunday in our beautiful Church
on the Fulneck Settlement with members of the local community, and our annual Heritage Day reminds us all about our Moravian traditions and
Q
chool today?
From early in your teaching career you have taken a particular interest in pastoral
care. Whilst most schools have promoted this aspect of their service to young people for many years, there has been a recent upsurge in the inclusion of ‘mindfulness’ sessions, although the claimed bene ts of this are by no means
ackground. bQ
The Moravian heritage is very important
You were appointed Principal after four years as deputy. Were there any particular issues you faced through
being an internal appointee? With the wisdom of hindsight, would you have prepared differently for the transition?
ANo amount of training or preparation
can adequately prepare a person to become a Head teacher or Principal of a school. It is like no other job in the world but it is the most rewarding and privileged role and I am grateful every day for the opportunity to make a positive difference to the lives of young people. Being an internal appointee had advantages and disadvantages – the obvious advantage being that I knew the school and understood the challenges we faced; I knew what I wanted to do to improve certain systems and procedures. My predecessor was a great support to me and nurtured me during my last year as Vice-Principal. Knowing the
they already knew me well and trusted me to do the job. The main disadvantage of any internal appointment is you cannot ‘bluff’; everyone knows your strengths and weaknesses and you also cannot buy time because you already know the school. Staff had an expectation on me to make changes because they knew that I could see what needed to be done.
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of our young people and I know that
‘mindfulness’ is something that many young people want to understand and participate in. It is always good to offer sessions like this as
an optional extra for children who feel they might bene t from them. I am sceptical about curriculum lessons on mindfulness for the simple reason that once something is imposed on teenagers, they often reject the idea out of hand. However, drop in or extra-curricular sessions are non-threatening and the students feel they have made their own dQecision to attend.
There has been much talk in the media and elsewhere about the increasing incidence of eating disorders, some
seriously life-threatening, particularly amongst teenage girls. Do you feel that being at a co-ed school alongside boys makes girls less susceptible to such problems? What systems do you have in place to identify and help young people who may bAe on the way to developing an eating disorder?
The mental health of young people has to be a priority for all schools today. Incidences of stress, anxiety, eating
disorders, and even suicide are on the increase and we all have a responsibility to raise awareness of these issues through our curriculum and extra- curricular programmes. At Fulneck we have an outstanding school nurse, ‘Nurse Sheila’, who not only looks after the health of our children but also raises staff awareness of these important issues and keeps us all on our toes in terms of up to date information. Having just inspected a girls’ school, I am reassured that a co-educational environment
niversally accepted. What is your view?
I am a believer in listening to the views
 20 Independent Schools Magazine
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