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From the Headmistress - Mrs Carole Jenkinson

Jenkinson Carole - Sep 14 1

What makes a good school a great one? I wish I knew. I came to teaching relatively late, as a second career, at a time when Broomwood Hall was still quite a young school, so I have had the experience of, as it were, growing up with the school and helping to shape it into what it is today. What a privilege that has been! Along the way we have been able to try things out, discard them, try others, greatly extend our buildings, bring in lovely things like Leiths cookery, build many (and wonderful) new facilities, introduce the 13+ curriculum, and watch the Upper School grow from 72 girls (in 1994, when I started) to its present 230.

Now, we have that indefinable but magic mix that you find in all great schools: excellent buildings and facilities and a wonderful staff who truly believe in what they are doing; an ethos that is all our own, that makes few concessions to fashionable nostrums yet is completely relevant to today; the constant buzz of laughter and happiness that comes from being purposeful and focused; the girls know that they are here to work, and they do.

So what makes us different? Well, for a start, we are a single-sex school, something that is not in itself unusual, but about which people have differing views. It is something you either believe in or you don't. I do, passionately, for this age group. Second, our main thrust nowadays is towards girls' Common Entrance at 13+. Again, not so unusual except that we are, so far as I know, the only all-girls day school that does this.

However, if I had to name one area where we stand out, it would be our pastoral care. Girls can be complicated at this age (far more so, in my view, than boys – a reflection, perhaps, of the differing rates at which they mature). At Broomwood Hall we have a fantastic tutorial system that nurtures and protects, and ensures that there is always an adult, out of the home, who takes an interest – a real interest – in every girl's triumphs, disasters and achievements, and who is always on hand to talk about her problems, real or imagined. That, I believe, is what sets us apart.

The girls are of course here to learn, but while academic success is able to be measured through Common Entrance and scholarship examination results, we seek to give them much more than that: achievement and excellence instilled during their prep school years remains with the girls into adulthood. Over the years, Broomwood Hall has gained a reputation second to none amongst senior schools for sending them confident, happy, well-educated and well-rounded girls; that, more than anything, is what they are looking for.

I believe in education for its own sake, and wholly reject the utilitarian approach that sees it solely in terms of skills. That underscores our whole approach, for we understand that the children we are educating now represent the future and that they are going to have to face challenges undreamt of when we were their age. Our aim must be to equip them, mentally and temperamentally, for these challenges.

So, fantastic buildings and surroundings, superb and dedicated staff, supportive parents who believe in what we are trying to do, children who are rewarding and a joy to teach. I personally couldn't want for more. I do hope very much that, if you share my vision of what school should be about, you will come.

 

Carole Jenkinson, Headmistress