01 Sep

Meet the Principal

Kirsty on her own education:

"My early life was spent in Shropshire and at seven, I received full scholarships to attend initially a Prep School in Warwickshire, and then The Purcell School of Music, in London. Following being a prizewinner in the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, I was awarded a scholarship to attend the Guildhall School of Music, which I attended for a year before transferring to Christ’s College, Cambridge, to read English. Immediately after university I freelanced as a violinist, but soon discovered my vocation in teaching, and trained as a teacher in London. I was fortunate enough to have excellent choices available to me, and I encourage my students to develop their various interests, as they never quite know where life’s course will lead!"

On her career so far:

"I began my teaching career in London state schools, where I was twice Head of English. I became Deputy Head at Putney High School, and then Head at Norwich High School, both GDST schools with strong alumnae communities. In my first year at Norwich High School, I devised the Inspiring Females programme, a programme which connects girls with inspiring women in a range of fields. Our online Summit last year managed to reach 30,000 young people nationally, and involved speakers such as Prue Leith and Tessy Ojo, CEO of the Diana Award. Last year the programme led to Norwich High School being named ‘Independent Girls’ School of the Year’."

First impressions of KEHS:

"It may seem a cliche, but KEHS is very much the school I would have liked to attend myself! It thrives on intellectual stimulation, has a rich co-curricular life of lectures and societies, and reaches great heights in its extra-curricular life. I have coached some music already, as well as heard girls perform, and the music well deserves its excellent reputation. The staff here are committed to their subjects, and to every girl achieving her very best, and the girls throw themselves into school life with great gusto. I have been impressed, in my own English teaching, by how engaged the girls are in challenging material, and also, how they are open to having fun!"

On her plans for the future:

"One of the reasons I was attracted to KEHS was its commitment to educating the brightest in Birmingham, independent of their means. My own experience of receiving fully assisted places, and my initial career in London state schools has made me keen to ensure that KEHS is able to maintain its accessibility to those who would otherwise not be able to afford to experience these unrivalled opportunities in such a scholarly school.

My work with Inspiring Females will demonstrate to you that preparing girls for the career landscape of the present day and future, and instilling them with the knowledge, the skills and the connections to succeed in later life, is important to me. I will be reviewing the academic and wider curriculum to this end, and also ensure that the school’s facilities and resources support this aim."

On her interests:

"It won’t be any surprise to you that music is still very important to me. I both listen and play almost every day- although my instrument of choice is now the piano, as you don’t need anyone else to fill in the other notes. I also enjoy reading, mostly non-fiction these days, and love the outdoors. One of the great pluses of returning to Birmingham is the proximity of hills and mountains. My boots, and my family’s boots, have already been donned in pursuit of their summits."

Final word:

"I already know what a privilege and delight it will be to lead KEHS over the coming years. I look forward to serving the community so that we can remain true to our compelling mission: to provide an unparalleled education to the brightest girls in the region."