We were delighted to appoint Mrs Rachel Roberts as Assistant Principal at Woodford House at the beginning of Term 3, 2018. Mrs Roberts joined the Senior Leadership Team after nine years of experience at the School in key positions including Head of Social Sciences and House Dean. Mrs Robert’s passion for Woodford House is clearly evident as you will regularly see her on the sidelines at hockey and netball matches, leading national and international school trips, organising key events and most importantly, supporting our girls on a daily basis. Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Mrs Andrea Jackson caught up with Mrs Roberts to find out more about her career path and aspirations for the future.
Tell me a bit about your background and an overview of your career in education?
I have been teaching for over 20 years, starting my career in a large girls’ Church of England school in Westminster called the Grey Coat Hospital. I then moved to a co-educational school in the London suburbs as Head of History, later becoming a Head of a large Faculty including English, History and Religious Education, and the Library. In late 2008, I was lucky enough to be offered the Head of Social Sciences position at Woodford House and in April 2009 my family emigrated to New Zealand. I have three children including Jack, who is in his first year studying Law and International Relations at Victoria University, Lucy, who is in Year 13 here at Woodford House, and Ruby, who is in Year 10. My husband Bill is a Project Manager at Furnware where he enjoys working alongside schools and teachers to research innovative learning environments.
What attracted you to the Assistant Principal – Student Outcomes position at Woodford House?
The role combines my interest and experience in both the pastoral and academic aspects of school life. As the mother of three busy teenagers with a varied range of skills and talents, I have a good understanding of the pressures and challenges young people face. From the new students starting out on their Woodford House journey to those who are leaving in Year 13, we as a school are committed to ensuring each individual receives the best possible support. Another aspect of the role I am particularly excited about is supporting the four key cornerstones of school life – academic, cultural, spiritual and sporting.
How have you found your time in the new role so far?
I am enormously grateful for all the support I have received from the entire Woodford House community in helping me to take on this new position. There is a real and genuine commitment towards achieving the best possible outcomes for all girls. Particular highlights include working with individual students to plan their learning journey in school and helping to organise the smooth running of major school events such as Grandparents’ Day and New Entrants’ Day.
Which unique qualities do you hope to bring to your new role and the Senior Leadership Team at Woodford House?
During my nine years at Woodford House I have stepped into a number of temporary senior leadership roles. This has given me a valuable opportunity to see first-hand how different aspects of school life run. From managing the 1st XI Hockey team to coaching our senior debating teams. I am actively involved in the different cornerstones of school life. I have also been closely involved in a number of whole school strategic developments, including the introduction of our vertical pastoral system and home rooms, and the establishment of strong links between the boarding and day schools. I enjoy working with a range of different people and juggling a number of tasks and projects.
What are your dreams and goals for the future both personally and for Woodford House?
I look forward to playing a key role in implementing our vision of best practice 21st Century learning. This includes ensuring that we are able to support students holistically and individually to achieve the best possible outcomes in all aspects of their school life, and also ensuring that we develop resiliency in our young people and a deep and authentic understanding of the world in which we live. As a history teacher I am also very excited by the opportunities presented by our upcoming 125th anniversary. Our junior students will have some exciting opportunities to develop their understanding of this important event in our upcoming end of year projects.