Page 24 - Independent Schools Magazine
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Isobel (19) and Penelope (17)
Schools and University Attended: Clayesmore School, UEA (BA Music), Hull (MMus), Gloucestershire (QTS), Keele (MBA).
First job:
Stable girl, Dorset, 1988
First management job:
Director of Music, The Grange Preparatory School, Santiago
First job in education:
House Tutor, The King’s School, Ely
Appointed to current job:
Favourite piece of music:
I cannot choose one, but according to Spotify my most listened to piece is Il Giardino Armonico’s recording of Aria Sopra La Bergamasca by Marco Uccellini.
Favourite food:
Lamb Madras
Favourite drink:
Anything from the Sole Bay Brewery
Favourite holiday destination:
I love long road trips, particularly in the Southern Cone (South America)
Favourite leisure pastime:
Favourite TV or radio programme/series: Have I Got News For You
Suggested epitaph:
“She came, she saw, she opined” according to my children who will, after all, be paying for it
 Profile In conversation with Louise Salmond Smith
QYours is the oldest school in Sussex, AWith a strong contingent of boarders
we are always open, so the breakfast
and supper club attendees simply join in with life in the boarding house. I have always found that boarding schools naturally attract the sort of staff who possess a very strong
work ethic and the drive to really get stuck in. Everyone goes the extra mile and thoroughly enjoys doing so. We have super boarding staff, as well as our wonderful catering team, who all have a very collaborative approach to caring for pupils, and many of the non-resident staff think nothing of giving up an evening or weekend to help support that. You cannot view working in a boarding environment as simply a job – you have to really enjoy it. If you have a team as committed as mine, the challenges are greatly Qdiminished.
Pupils’ mental health and the need
to develop mental resilience has been much discussed in recent months. What
probably dating back to the foundation
of Chichester Cathedral in the 11th century. It was re-founded in 1497 by Bishop Edward Storey who attached it to the Prebend of Highleigh in Chichester Cathedral and thus gave its present name. What does this long Christian heritage mean to your pupils and staff today?
AOur link with the cathedral continues to be very strong, and the school is
very much part of the community.
The choristers sing seven services each week and I know the congregation is thankful for their significant contribution to the life of the cathedral. Our pupils come from a range of backgrounds but Christian values, such as trying to make the right life choices and being kind to others, underpin our teaching. Even our very youngest pupils love the glorious majesty of Qgoing to assembly in the cathedral each week.
The Cathedral’s Choristers still live and learn at The Prebendal. This must add an interesting dimension to the musical
life of the school. How do you ensure that you achieve the correct balance between school and cathedral life for the choristers?
AThe choristers are a super bunch of chaps and they never fail to astonish me with their professionalism and musicianship. There are very many other children within the school who are equally
able musicians - music is a way of life for us,
so the choristers do not particularly stand out from everyone else. It’s a refreshingly healthy environment, and it keeps the choristers grounded. Boarding at Prebendal is great fun and we work very hard alongside the cathedral to ensure there is ‘down time’ for these very busy Qyoung men.
In 1972 The Prebendal was one of the first schools in the UK to go co- educational. You now take boys and
girls aged three to 13, and offer ‘extended- day’ arrangements as well as full, weekly, or flexi-boarding. This level of flexibility within a co-ed school of under 200 pupils must present significant staffing and cost-control challenges. How do you manage it?
that will help children as they move
towards their teenage years and beyond. Children need to learn how to deal with the challenges that life will inevitably throw their way, and no school or parent will help a child by shielding them from those obstacles. However I also think it is important to remember that, too often, resilient people put up with difficult and challenging situations for longer than they should just because they can. Resilience is vital, but so is the ability to recognise when to ask for help and support to Qchange or put a stop to an ongoing issue.
One of your fellow heads suggested recently that girls should learn to be more like boys, by taking themselves
less seriously, exchanging banter with each other, being less sensitive about teasing, blagging it a bit....all of which would ‘toughen them up for the real world’. In these days when there is so much news around gender identity, how can a head of a school like yours celebrate
   s your approach?
I do think that resilience is a key skill
should be encouraged to find
la difference’ without stereotyping?
I certainly believe that all children
different aspects of themselves that
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