“I see my role as giving the girls a voice, and that they feel heard.”
Pastoral encompasses everything at Glendower – it isn’t just academic achievement but general fulfilment for our girls. The journey they all go through, from 3 to 11, has a lot of peaks and troughs, and pastoral care is vital in all of that. The biggest part of our Deputy Head Pastoral’s role (Kemi) is ensuring that the girls feel supported in all the challenges they face. In addition though, the positives: celebrating success in learning, but also how to cope with not succeeding.
Kemi’s journey to where she is now is quite fascinating, starting out studying international relations and politics. She describes herself as almost “falling into” teaching. Kemi was born and raised in East London, and did her training and initial teaching in Newham and Greenwich with some challenging behaviour to manage. Kemi then applied for VSO – Voluntary Services Abroad – after feeling a sense of disenchantment with the system that she was working in. She worked in Rwanda for a year delivering teacher training, developing curriculum programmes, and then ended up moving across to West Africa, in Nigeria. Kemi worked with schools who were wanting to teach the British Curriculum, and in fact became Assistant Head at the school.
Eventually feeling the desire to return to the UK and take on a new challenge, Kemi knew that her real passion was for the whole child, and so a role in pastoral care lent itself perfectly to her real purpose. Having spotted the role online, Kemi felt a strong affinity for the school and joined Glendower in August 2022. She was hooked on Nina’s vision for the school and the direction it was going in, and felt a strong sense that it was the right place for her – which has proven true in the time since.
Kemi stills teaches a few hours a week, but most of her day is supporting staff and girls, working with her safeguarding team, which she describes as a really strong collective of people working together. She also spends a lot of time supporting parents, but also thinking about the bigger picture. At the moment, Kemi is really looking to raise the level of mental health provision, to make sure that the resources that are available are being used to their full potential, whether this be counselling or mindset coaching, but also how to equip teachers to be able to do this. Kemi and Laura Rodgers (Deputy Head Academic) work closely together on how to diversify the curriculum to ensure it is rich, and is sure to reinforce the principles of diversity and inclusion. One thing Kemi really enjoys is watching the teaching and leadership team of Glendower evolving along with the changing demographic of the student body, so girls from all backgrounds can see themselves represented in the wider picture of the community.
Kemi’s favourite part of her job is the versatility that comes with it – being in education and also being able to effect change, with opportunities to be involved in decision-making. What Kemi really feels is appreciated at Glendower is that no day is the same: girls are often are her door and so she has formed really lovely relationships with the girls despite not being in the classroom full time. She believes what really sets the school apart from others is the level of care, for the girls and the families, and loves being able to have that role where her emotional literacy is put into full use.
“Glendower is not a hot house – we drive success but the girls are not at a loss in terms of who they are.”Previous PostNext Post