Meet the Head of Chelmsford’s New Hall School


EXG MAY 15 MEET THE HEAD - Credit: Archant

Katherine Jeffrey, principal of Chelmsford’s New Hall School, explains why she would recommend a career in teaching to anyone with a passion for their subject and the will to enable young people to realise their potential

If you hadn’t become a teacher, what career would you have chosen instead?

At the age of 11, I auditioned for the Royal Ballet School (I was too tall). Then, while studying mathematics, physics and chemistry in Sixth Form, I considered a career in engineering. Working in radio or journalism also had an appeal and I pursued work experience in these areas. However, the only career that ever truly caught my imagination and interest over time was teaching. During my PPE finals at Oxford, I decided to commit to the post graduate teacher-training course and a further degree in Theology. It was the best decision I could have made.

Who would you most like to have as a pupil, if you could pick anyone?

Emma Watson. As well as being highly motivated and intelligent, with notable academic success, her exceptional talents in the creative and performing arts would have been an inspiration to fellow students at New Hall.

What was your least favourite lesson?

At school, I had a very tedious history teacher who just talked at us and after a few weeks we realised he was just repeating everything in the textbook, only making it rather more boring in the process since we didn’t even have the benefit of the pictures.

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If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would be the first thing you’d do?

If I had to choose one issue, I would focus on our energy crisis and the importance of investing in public transport, particularly our railways. I would also like to find a way to re-instate the idea of a day of rest, as a break from the endless work/shopping treadmill that is consuming our society and contributing to the breakdown of family and community life.

Which record would you want with you if you were marooned on a desert island?

Mr Lonely… Only joking. Probably a CD of Gregorian plainchant, which is the only music I could tolerate on an endless loop.

Is there a television programme that you make sure you never miss?

Question Time. Although, until my eldest daughter pointed it out, I had never realised that I argue aloud with the panel and audience throughout!

What is your favourite film of all time and why?

Mary Poppins. I would like to have met her at the time I was struggling with the juggling act of a career and four young children! Seriously though, I’ve enjoyed the story as a child and as an adult - rediscovering it with my own children.

How do you relax away from work?

Skiing and walking in the French Alps. Recently, I became a dog owner for the first time too, so I am enjoying walking )our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Leila.

What is special about your school?

The school has a distinctive and rare ‘diamond model’ structure. From ages three to 18, this enables us to provide a brilliant mix of co-educational teaching together with five years of single-sex teaching from Year 7 to GCSE. The school’s boarding provision and pastoral care, for 260 full and weekly boarders, was rated Outstanding by Ofsted in 2011, following on from the excellent ISI reports earlier that year.


New Hall School The Avenue, Boreham CM3 3HS

01245 467588

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