2 years ago

Education | ED03 | Summer 2016

A Wealden Times Magazine

Sponsored by Tunbridge

Sponsored by Tunbridge Wells Meet the Heads Just as all schools are different, so too are their head teachers. Here we speak to three different ‘heads’ to find out what makes them tick, how they ended up as a teacher and ask them a few other curious questions to boot... Merinda D’Aprano Head of the Prep School at Notre Dame School in Cobham, Surrey What was your favourite subject at school and why? My favourite subject at school was Drama. I loved the experience of being up on a stage. This joy of acting has stayed with me throughout my life and inspired me to push for the building of our own theatre at Notre Dame School which is based on the Globe Theatre in London. We are extremely fortunate to have such a facility and every child from the Nursery to the Sixth Form has the opportunity to perform, be part of and enjoy fantastic and varied productions. Did you always want to be a teacher? If not, what other jobs did you consider? I briefly considered the priesthood and, although I remain committed to my local church, I decided that teaching was my true vocation and I have enjoyed a varied and greatly enjoyable career so far. What is your favourite day of the school calendar? My favourite day is Feast Day when we celebrate the canonisation of Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac, the foundress of the school. She became a Saint on 15th May 1949 and today we celebrate with a Mass, music and a special lunch in the grounds. We have been very lucky in previous years that Saint Jeanne has blessed us with gorgeous sunshine and this year was no exception. Which school teacher, would you say had the greatest effect on your early life? My favourite teacher was Sister Cristina. She taught me in Year 6. My enduring memories of her are the way she made every child feel. It did not matter what she was doing, she always made you feel like you were the most important part of her day. She had a true passion for teaching and nurturing young minds. What do you like to do in your spare time? I love all creative pursuits and in my spare time, I like to sing, cook, paint, read and play my bodhran (an Irish frame drum). I am part of a choir both at Notre Dame and my church and I enjoy sharing this passion with others. What is your favourite holiday destination? I would choose the West Coast of Ireland as my favourite holiday destination. It is absolutely beautiful. What is your greatest achievement? I am extremely proud of my achievements in teaching and the publication of my book Head Teacher in Your Pocket was a real highlight for me as well. My greatest achievement is a difficult one, family is extremely important to me and I like to think I am a brilliant auntie to my nephews and nieces. Tell us one interesting fact about yourself that your pupils would be surprised to know! I think my pupils would be surprised to know that I have a lot of relationships with other schools in that I am an Independent Schools Inspector. Notre Dame School, Burwood House, Convent Lane, Cobham, Surrey KT11 1HA. 01932 869990. 18

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