WHEN DID YOU JOIN BRADFIELD AND WHICH ROLES HAVE YOU HELD SINCE JOINING?
I joined in 2014 as a Maths teacher and have taken on more responsibilities each year. I became a Tutor in Stanley House and coached lacrosse before taking on the Deputy Housemistress position. Increasing my involvement gradually has allowed me to balance my College commitments with the needs of my own young family and doing it this way, I feel I have been able to give both aspects of my life my full attention.
PRIOR TO TEACHING YOU ENJOYED A CAREER IN BANKING. WHAT MADE YOU PURSUE A CHANGE OF CAREER AND WHY TEACHING?
I fell into banking by joining a graduate scheme straight from studying Economics at Durham. I loved my job. It gave me fantastic opportunities including working in Asia for six years. However, teaching had always been something that I knew I wanted to do, a desire stemming from my own happy boarding school experience. Getting married and having my own children presented a natural career break and I considered what I really wanted to do with the next phase of my working life. Just teaching a few classes to begin with allowed me to give my all to both my home and work life and happily, teaching proved to be everything I wanted it to be! I have loved every minute of my six years to date.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE ROLE OF HOUSEMISTRESS?
I went to boarding school at the age of 8 so I grew up knowing and understanding boarding. Here the boarding houses are intrinsic to the culture of the College – they are the basis of the pastoral care. Having the opportunity to support and guide young people through such formative years I see as a huge privilege. The teachers I remember most fondly from my school experiences are the ones that pushed me to have a go, set clear expectations, encouraged me to be myself and were there for me to turn to for support and help when I needed it. Being a housemistress at Bradfield gives me the opportunity to have a positive influence on the girls in my care, to challenge them to be the best versions of themselves that they can be and to guide and support them as they navigate their own journeys.
HOW IS PALMER HOUSE SET UP TO PROVIDE OUTSTANDING PASTORAL CARE?
Pastoral care is undoubtedly a team effort and I am fortunate to be supported by a fantastic team of people. In Louisa Kruczko we have an amazing matron who just knows and gets the girls! She is open, warm and caring and the girls know they can go to her for help and support with anything, no matter how big or small. Each girl also has their tutor, someone who knows them well and can support them in all three strands of Bradfield life – academic, co-curricular and pastoral. The vertical structure of the House allows for natural peer support. Each girl is assigned to a buddy group, a Prefect is responsible for each Year group and designated peer mentors are present throughout the House. The different levels of pastoral support in Palmer hopefully ensure that the girls will always have somewhere and someone to turn to. Trust and relationships build over time but as I take on the Housemistress position, it is my number one priority to get to know the girls and their families as quickly as possible so that I can support the girls in the best way I possibly can.
WHAT VALUES DO YOU HOPE TO INSTIL IN THE GIRLS UNDER YOUR CARE IN PALMER?
Living closely together, I expect the girls to be kind and respectful to one another – to respect each other as individuals but also to be able to compromise, support one another and work collaboratively as a team. I would like the girls to have the confidence to try things, find their limits, have a go and realise that they may not succeed first time but that failure provides an opportunity to learn. I want each girl to discover “their thing” – the thing they are passionate about that makes them feel good about themselves. Finally, I would like the Palmer girls to enter the world beyond Bradfield as polite and engaging young women with ambition, an understanding of their privilege and a determination to channel the education that have had to be net givers to the society around them.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE BRADFIELD’S GREATEST STRENGTHS?
Bradfield is a truly all-rounder school. The opportunities it offers means that every pupil can find ‘their thing’, something that makes them feel good about themselves and something that can be nurtured and celebrated. The pride and passion that every Bradfield pupil feels about their House is palpable. Boarding offers a home-from-home that pupils can escape to at the end of their working day but it also gives them a safe haven, a place where they are encouraged to give things a go, find their limits and where they can turn to for support as they navigate the natural pressures of the teenage years.