Preparation for life
- Credit: Archant
She may have had an ambition to present Blue Peter, but now the director of St Mary’s Lower School in Colchester, Emma Stanhope, concentrates on preparing her young pupils to fulfil their dreams in the world of the future
If you hadn’t become a teacher, what career would you have chosen instead?
I would have loved to have been a Blue Peter presenter. Once reality hit home, I knew I wanted to work with children, inspiring them in their learning.
Who would you most like to have as a pupil, if you could pick anyone?
There isn’t one I would choose. People become the people they are through different inspirations in their lives. Each person should be treated as an individual and teachers should inspire them to become the best person they can be, whether or not they go on to be famous.
Was there any type of school dinner that you couldn’t stand?
Most definitely. It was liver and semolina.
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What was your least favourite lesson?
My least favourite lesson was geography. It goes back to an uninspiring teacher.
If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would be the first thing you’d do?
If I was Prime Minister for the day I think I would first have to act out the Hugh Grant scene from the film Love Actually — it makes me laugh every time. After that I would put Education for All at the top of the agenda. This is because the targets of 2015 are not going to be achieved and I believe every child deserves the right to an education.
Which record would you want with you if you were marooned on a desert island?
This is so hard because I enjoy all genres of music. A favourite of mine though is Nella Fantasia by Ennio Morricone. The words translate as, ‘In my fantasy I see a fair world, Where everyone lives in peace and honesty. I dream of a place to live that is always free, Like a cloud that floats, Full of humanity in the depths of the soul’. It is a very moving song.
What would you like to make disappear from this world?
Bad manners should go. Everybody seems to be so busy, but politeness and good manners are so important, particularly for young children today. They must learn how to communicate with each other and also how to listen.
Is there a television programme that you make sure you never miss?
There isn’t a programme that I feel I have to watch, however I do enjoy Jamie Oliver’s cookery programmes.
What is your favourite film of all time and why?
This has got to be Notting Hill. It is a favourite of my whole family so we watch it together a lot. I like the simplicity of it.
How do you relax away from work?
As any working mum knows, there never is much time for relaxing. If I do have a spare moment I enjoy reading, playing the flute and the saxophone.
What is special about your school?
At St Mary’s we focus on getting to know each individual pupil and giving her just the right amount of support and encouragement she needs to do her very best. It’s a very happy school and we find that happy girls are high achievers.
Did you know?
The main school building at St Mary’s Lower School is named Comrie House after Miss Phyllis Comrie, who was headmistress from 1934 for 23 years. Under her leadership, the school thrived and developed as the St Mary’s we know today, although I’m sure she would be amazed to see our Forest School outdoor classroom, our professional dance studio and all our computers!
Get in touch
St Mary’s School for Girls
91 Lexden Road