As the new head of Abbotsholme, what has the experience been like so far?
The experience has been incredible. The Abbotsholme School community have shown resilience and grit in the face of adversity, and we have all come together to meet the needs of our pupils.
What’s the best and worst thing about your job?
The best thing is that the school has marvellous facilities, enthusiastic pupils and faculty, and our campus offers the perfect environment in which to learn. The worst thing about the job is dealing with the uncertainties and challenges that all schools are facing during the global pandemic.
What was it about Abbotsholme that made you take the job?
I was once asked to describe my perfect school; Abbotsholme ticks all the boxes. The school is an all-through school founded on an ethos that embraces progressive learning, is holistic and values the individual. Abbotsholme allows pupils to be who they want to be and offers choice and diversity. At my interview, the student council bowled me over with their deep questioning and passion for the school.
What was your favourite subject at school?
I loved modern foreign languages. I loved the sounds of the words and learning about different traditions. It inspired me to travel and relish different cultures.
What are you currently reading?
I have recently discovered the St. Mary’s Chronicles by Jodi Taylor. I am now on the sixth book in the series which is aptly called What Could Possibly Go Wrong? It is fictional historical escapism with laughter, tears and enthralling characters.
What issue in education are you most passionate about?
The development of pupil self-efficacy through metacognition; it is important for pupils to understand how we think and how we learn. By understanding the complexities of the learning process pupils can monitor their own processes and become independent and confident lifelong learners.
If you weren’t in education what would you do instead?
In my youth, I trained as a chef in France. I would have a small restaurant somewhere idyllic, maybe in the south of France.
Do you have any advice for other school heads as they begin the new academic year?
Be positive and instil confidence. Be true to your school’s ethos and values, and embrace change. 2020–21 is being coined as the ‘new normal’ – what does this mean to your school? For me, it is the ability to be flexible, resilient and optimistic in the face of change. At Abbotsholme, this is core to our values and a strength of our school community.
Read our previous interview: Sebastian Hepher, principal, Eaton Square Schools