Meet the Head - Lucy Pearson, Cheadle Hulme School
- Credit: Jason Lock
Lucy Pearson is the Head at Cheadle Hulme School. Here she tells us what drives her passion for education.
Photograph by Jason Lock
When you see a great opportunity, you should grab it. I wanted to be part of something special.’ So states Lucy Pearson on becoming Head of Cheadle Hulme School in 2010, the first female Head in the School’s 150 year history - although this isn’t something she tends to dwell on.
‘Leadership isn’t about gender so in my own mind being the first female isn’t something I have thought much about. What I am aware of is the long line of fine Heads who have gone before me and that, whether male or female, my responsibility is to do the best that I can for the School.’
No stranger to being at the helm, Lucy has previously served both as Deputy Head at Wellington College and Vice Principal at Wellington Academy, as well as leading the England Women’s Cricket Team bowlers from 1996 to 2006, achieving a world record in the process - the greatest number of dismissals, during the Second Ashes Test at Sydney in 2003.
Twice named Player of the Year whilst with England, Lucy is also an accomplished musician, being a former member of the National Youth Choir, and is an Oxford University Graduate (English Literature and Language, Keble College). As a woman who has known a great deal of success, she has this advice to offer her students: ‘We cannot be brilliant at everything. Know your limitations, be prepared to make mistakes and give yourself options; work really hard to make the best of your full self, not only one part.’
It is the “full self” which sits at the heart of Lucy’s vision for a great education. ‘Education needs to be flexible and it needs to be wholesome. The true meaning of education is to “draw out that which lies within” – developing the individual inside out, not forcing knowledge in.
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‘By offering the right balance of academic stretch, personal challenge and co-curricular opportunity, we can help each child develop as a well-qualified, socially confident and independent young adult.’
Lucy’s happiest memories come from her own school-days, first at Taverham Hall in Norfolk and continuing as a border on a bursary at Oakham School. ‘I loved school,’ she says. ‘It was full of adventure. I loved learning and being with my friends.’ These early happy experiences are perhaps what first sparked Lucy’s infectious passion for education – something which is clearly apparent when she discusses the subject. ‘Education is an all-consuming passion. And whilst passion is a good thing – wonderful even – it must be handled wisely. You have to work at it; you have to be inventive, open-minded, challenging. You must never take it for granted.
‘It is my colleagues at CHS who are my true inspiration point, however. Thoughtful, eager to learn, engaging and open-minded, they are testament to the excellence that CHS can boast as being synonymous with its staff, both teaching and non-teaching. We are right to be passionate about education. Education matters. Being able to share that passion makes it all the more special.’