There is a wide group of committed and well trained teaching and non-teaching staff at Northampton High School, working hard to enable the girls to achieve their best, in a perfect environment for learning and developing. They are led by a hardworking senior leadership team, who bring a broad range of experience and expertise to their roles but who all share a passion for the very best education for girls.
Dr Helen Stringer
I came into education via my own excellent education at Danum Grammar School in Doncaster, followed by a first degree (History) at Bristol. Teaching in school was always my vocation, though my years doing doctoral research at Sussex on Tudor rebellions, combining study with a variety of jobs, including stints in senior citizens’ homes as a Care Assistant, were hugely rewarding. I still remember some of the fascinating men and women who shared their life stories with me during that time.
After two years at Leicester Grammar, I gained my first experience of teaching in an all-girls’ school, at James Allen’s Girls’ School in Dulwich. Seeing what young women could achieve in an ambitious environment where the teaching was tailored specifically to girls was eye-opening and there, I think, was born my commitment to trying to shape the future of girls’ education. Six years into my teaching career, I decided to take time out to do a post-graduate teacher training course at the Institute of Education. Going ‘back to school’ as an experienced teacher was character-building and made me very aware of how much I still had to learn. Teaching is one of those professions where you have to keep renewing your practice all the time to keep it fresh.
At Channing School in Highgate, where I spent nine happy years, I was lucky enough to have the chance to lead a group of students in a project with The Women’s Library to collect oral testimony from Alumnae and to curate an exhibition to celebrate their lives. This experience brought everyone involved into encounters with the women of our mothers’ and grandmothers’ generations who have pushed against the glass ceiling in their own quiet ways.
My last post before joining the High School was at the Stephen Perse Foundation (formerly Perse Girls’) in Cambridge, first as Head of Senior School and then as Vice-Principal with responsibility for the curriculum from Kindergarten to Year 13. Learning more about early years and juniors was one of the greatest rewards of those years while navigating through successive years of curriculum reform was one of the most interesting challenges.
Serving Northampton High School as its leader is a privilege and a joy. My mission is to build on the strong tradition of the School in providing an exceptional education for girls in the region and, reinforced by the reach and resources of the Girls’ Day School Trust, preparing our girls to be the women leaders of tomorrow. My greatest reward is to get to know the girls in school right now and to hear their stories, their dreams and their ambitions.
Deputy Head (Pastoral Care and Guidance)Read more
Originally from Birmingham, I was educated at an all girls’ school before completing my first degree in Information and Library studies. Having spent a number of years growing, computerising and running a large resources centre at Bromsgrove School, a boarding and day school in Worcestershire, I found myself increasingly interested in both the academic and pastoral life of the pupils at the school. A great believer in seizing opportunities as they arise, I was soon to find myself going from dabbling in teaching a little lower school ICT, to devising the schemes of work and teaching the very first A Level Applied ICT course in the school. The new A Level course was a success and ultimately led me to a change in career which saw me becoming a newly qualified teacher through the Graduate Teacher Programme.
Bearing in mind the ‘seize the day’ approach once more, I also took on the role of Head of Academic ICT, which serendipitously became available, during my NQT year. I also enjoyed taking on responsibility for the Lower Sixth as Assistant Head of Year, editing the school magazine and putting my librarian training to good use as the co-ordinator of the Extended Project, when Bromsgrove became an IB school.
It is fair to say that a boarding school is an excellent training ground for the pastoral practitioner and as much as I enjoy the academic side of school life, I increasingly found an interest and perhaps even a vocational calling, in the pastoral aspects of school. After an opportunity arose to be a maternity-cover Houseparent in a boarding house for a year I realised that this was a route that I wanted to pursue. So in 2011, I moved to Wycombe Abbey School to take up the role of Housemistress to 45 girls aged 12-17. Living amongst the girls and nurturing them through the academic and pastoral sides of their school lives is an absolute privilege and although it requires a person to give much of themselves to ‘the job’ I found it incredibly rewarding and a wonderful education for me too. After becoming Head of Boarding I then moved into the role of Head of Sixth Form, living with and mentoring Upper Sixth girls. Having gained a wide experience of educating girls and of many aspects of running a school and after recently completing an MA (Leadership) and the UCL Institute of Education, I was delighted to join Northampton High School as Deputy Head (Pastoral Care and Guidance). It is a school with values that echo my own and I thoroughly enjoy the stimulating and challenging environment of an all girls’ school with such a wide range of experiences on offer for the girls.
I’m married to Graeme and between us we have three children. I enjoy long walks, geocaching and knitting when time permits. My two major passions though are reading and music.
Academic Deputy HeadRead more
I was born in London and grew up in a small village near Stratford-upon- Avon in Warwickshire. Following secondary school, I chose another historic English setting for my Modern Languages degree; Canterbury. Before starting university, I spent some time abroad to improve my languages, living near Valencia for two months and then in Paris for the rest of the year. As well as my BA, I also have a degree in Lettres Modernes (French Language and Literature) from the Université Jean Moulin in Lyon and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Leicester. I completed my PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages in 1998. I taught at Latimer School for two years before moving to Northampton School for Boys where I remained for 10 years. I enjoyed a variety of roles there, ranging from examinations to pastoral leadership and on to departmental head for Modern Languages. While at Northampton School for Boys I also chaired the Curriculum Board which influenced the school’s overall academic direction and allowed me to join senior leadership meetings to discuss the curriculum and the views of middle management.
I joined Northampton High School in 2011 as Director of Studies and became Deputy Head, Academic in 2012. The highlights of my time at the school so far have been setting up a variety of academic programmes such as the annual skills days and the thinking skills programme, as these have really empowered teachers and students to find new ways to bring learning to life.
I currently live in rural Cambridgeshire with my wife, Emma, a GP and between us we have six children including two at University. Coming from a big family myself I have a good understanding of what makes children thrive and it is always a life-affirming experience to be amongst young people. I try to bring a sense of positivity with me to school and have a simple philosophy of education; students work best when they have a calm environment where their individual needs are recognised and are of paramount importance.
I am passionate about improving equality of opportunity in the workplace and I feel that working in a GDST school offers me the chance to bring about change and improve the life chances of women.
Head of Junior School (Interim)Read more
I was educated in the North West of England, with the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales on my doorstep, and I have many happy memories of my school days. I decided fairly early on that I wanted to teach and entered the profession via a degree in Mathematics from the University of York and a PGCE in Secondary Mathematics and Religious Studies from St Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill.
It was during my initial teaching placement that I had my first experience at an all-girls’ school. I immediately noticed the difference in the way that the girls learned and behaved in their own environment and spent much of the rest of the year researching and writing on the subject of Girls in Mathematics. By the end of the course, my interest in single-sex girls’ education was really piqued and I had accepted my first teaching position at Dr Challoner’s High School, an all-girls grammar school in Buckinghamshire.
Three years into my career my husband’s studies took us to Cambridge and I accepted a teaching position at The Perse School for Girls. In 1997 I resigned this post to concentrate on raising our two daughters, Francesca and Olivia. Over the next few years I combined motherhood with my various part-time roles as a tutor, writer, editor and examiner, whilst also volunteering at my daughters’ nursery and serving as a governor at the local primary school. During this period I worked for the BBC, writing much of the original Bitesize Maths material and consulting on their Digital Curriculum. Later, I took two part-time teaching roles at St John’s College Prep School and St Mary’s, Cambridge.
In 2007 – after a ten-year ‘maternity leave’ – I returned to The Perse School for Girls (now The Stephen Perse Foundation), where my daughters, by then, were studying. Over the course of the next decade, I took on a number of middle and senior management roles, including Head of Year, SENCo, Assistant Principal and Director of Studies. During this period I relished the opportunity to take a Foundation-wide perspective and particularly enjoyed having responsibility for the 3-18 curriculum and whole-staff training.
I have a passion for girls’ education and it is a privilege to work at Northampton High and to share my expertise and enthusiasm with such a wonderful community of learners through my leadership of the Junior School. I currently combine this role with part-time study for a professional master’s degree, my work as an ISI Inspector and a little educational writing and consultancy.
Director of Sixth FormRead more
I experienced the advantages of being educated at a single sex girls school, James Allen’s Girls School in Dulwich. An innovative and forward thinking school with some excellent role models, it gave me the confidence to follow my interests in science and engineering and study Applied Physics and Chemistry at Durham University. On graduation I became a Process Engineer making silicon chips.
When the company relocated to California I decided that I was motivated by the development of people rather than money or objects and decided to teach.
I completed my PGCE at the Institute of Education at London University and begun my career teaching Physics and tutoring in the girls’ boarding houses at two leading co-educational independent schools, Felsted School in Essex and later at Eastbourne College where I taught with my husband, Philip. It was while we were in Eastbourne that our two daughters, Louisa and Helena were born.
Career moves took us to London and I became Head of Science at St Olave’s Grammar school in Orpington, a very different experience, as this was a single sex boys school. Our son, Joseph was born while we were there.
Our next move was to Cokethorpe School in Oxfordshire where I taught Physics part time. I also became manager of the West Oxfordshire Education Business Partnership, an organisation that brought together businesses and schools, setting up programmes to enable school students to learn about enterprise and the world of work. I continued to work in this area when we moved to Tynemouth, managing the North Tyneside Education Business Partnership working with schools and businesses across the North East.
When we relocated to Northamptonshire in 2010 I was appointed to teach Physics at the High School. I immediately felt “at home” surrounded by passionate and inspiring colleagues and welcoming, curious and motivated girls. I thoroughly enjoy teaching here, becoming first Head of Science and latterly Director of Sixth Form. It is a pleasure to see each girl develop her confidence and independence and to support them as they make the decisions and choices that will take them to university and on to their chosen career.
Director of Marketing and AdmissionsRead more
I began working at Northampton High School in April 2016 as Registrar; in February 2018 I became Director of Marketing and Admissions and joined the Senior Leadership Team, expanding my role to include marketing, alumnae relations, development, outreach and enterprise.
I began my graduate career as a Trilingual Assistant at Mercedes-Benz Finance in Milton Keynes, and two years later moved to join a project team to establish a financial services company in South Africa for Mercedes-Benz. We launched the company in 1997, and I progressed from Product Controller to become Marketing Manager of a team tasked with product development, marketing and communications and dealer training. I then took up an international position for the Latin America, Africa and Middle East (LAM) region, coordinating eBusiness and communications activities, and also became the Board Member for Marketing of the South African organisation.
I returned to the UK having spent a wonderful 5 years in South Africa, now with a husband and a son. I worked as General Manager for Marketing and Product Development on the Senior Management team of the UK company for a further 3 years, before transferring my skills to the independent schools sector, firstly as Director of Marketing at Bedford High School (Harper Trust) and then as a marketing consultant. I took up the role of Marketing Manager at Quinton House School in 2013, joining the Senior Leadership Team.
I gained a degree in French, German and Russian Studies from Keele University and have been lucky enough to live in France, Germany and Russia as well as travelling at every opportunity.
I have two children, a son embarking on his first year at university and a daughter who attended the Junior School and is now studying for her GCSEs at Northampton High. I love seeing at first hand the outstanding education our High School girls receive and to meet families who are looking for the right school for their own daughters.
I enjoy the theatre and am keen to explore all types of production on stage and screen. I am a member of a book group at home and at school.
Director of Finance and OperationsRead more
I attended the University of Manchester where I graduated with a degree in Geography. From there I went on to qualify as a management account whilst working full time firstly at British Telecom and then at Pedigree Pet foods.
I came to Northampton High School with significant experience of working in Education having worked for several years as Research Accountant at the University of Leicester followed by 5 years as Director of Finance, Estates and HR at a Sixth Form College in Leicester. Independent school experience was gained immediately prior to my move to Northampton when I spent 7 years as Bursar at Leicester High School for Girls.