Headteacher Talk – Andy Keen from Holly Lodge Girls’ College

One thing I wished I had learned at school:
I always regret that I stopped learning a foreign language after Year 9 at school. I studied both French and Spanish before dropping them in favour of other subjects during my options. Learning a language really helps you develop your understanding of English and broadens your appreciation of other cultures as well as being an excellent addition to your CV – not having one feels like a gap in mine

The book I haven’t read that I must:
Reading is a passion and I always have a book which I am working through. Up until last year I had not read many of the great Victorian novels because I thought I wouldn’t enjoy them.  I finally asked our English department which one I should read and they recommended Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. I read it over a weekend and was amazed at how skilfully the author used language to immerse the reader in a world which has long gone. I’ve now decided to read more, starting with “Jude the Obscure” by Thomas Hardy.

The education story that has caught my eye:
I think that there are too many education stories and sadly, very few of them are about actually improving the lives of the most important parts of the system – the students. As a new headteacher I am currently most interested in those articles about headteachers who have inspired their staff and students to challenge themselves and produce great results and life changing experiences. Luckily there are many heads who do this, so I am spoilt for choice!

What I am most proud of about our school:
Everyone who visits our school always comments on the calm, welcoming and caring atmosphere which pervades it. I am always proud of this because it reflects the personalities of our wonderful students and the hard work and care of all the staff who support them and make us such a cohesive and successful community. I am also proud of the way our staff and students always rise to the challenges set them – we are an aspirational school and when we ask for more the students and staff always give it to us.

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