Meet the teachers at the north-west's top schools

PUBLISHED: 10:25 28 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:34 28 October 2019

(c) Hongqi Zhang/Getty Images/iStockphoto

(c) Hongqi Zhang/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Archant

Meet the leaders of some of the region's top schools and colleges

Rachel CooksonRachel Cookson

Mrs Rachel Cookson

Principal of the Infant and Junior Division at The King's School in Macclesfield

What is the most enjoyable part of your role?

Without question it is engaging with the children; listening to them; laughing with them; watching and encouraging them to learn, question and discover. I learn every day from them. It is such a privilege to be part of their lives and their educational experience.

What is unique about your school?

The King's School values the importance of love; kindness; ambition and valuing the individual. Our holistic approach to education sets us apart from others, as pupils are encouraged to aim high and work hard. Our vibrant curriculum inspires pupils to be adventurous and tenacious, developing a confident voice and resilient approach to the world around them.

What is the best advice for parents choosing their child's school?

Come and visit; meet our wonderful pupils; watch and listen. Soak up the warm, friendly atmosphere; focus on the child-centred approach and seek out the school's values and vision. We are passionate about young people, their potential and our responsibility to provide the highest quality education we can, prioritising their happiness and confidence as we walk with them on their journey.

www.kingsmac.co.uk

Bridget HowardBridget Howard

Bridget Howard

Head of Juniors at Withington Girls' School

What is the most enjoyable part of your role?

My interaction with the pupils, whether that be during a lesson or when I meet them around school or in the playground. Being shown an amazing piece of work where a pupil has really excelled is always special. Their enthusiasm for learning and for life in general, is infectious and never fails to bring a smile to my face!

What is unique about your school?

The warm, welcoming and, in many ways, informal atmosphere. It creates the perfect environment in which our pupils can be encouraged to be themselves, to 'have a go' and to strive to be the best they can.

What is the best advice for parents choosing their child's school?

Visit the school on a normal school day. You will get an insight into how the staff interact with the children along with the curricular and extra-curricular activities on offer. Each school has its own special atmosphere and you will get a real sense of whether your child would be happy and thrive there.

www.wgs.org

Sue WalshSue Walsh

Mrs Sue Walsh

Deputy Headmistress at Bowdon Preparatory School.

What is the most enjoyable part of your role?

When I see girls encapsulate all we've instilled in them, from a spine-tingling choral speaking performance to success on a difficult outward bound challenge.

What is unique about your school?

BPS blends traditional values and high academic standards with the latest educational practice and the development of extended skills including reasoning, resilience and resourcefulness. This means our girls have a greater breadth of capability and increased mental agility which will serve them well in their senior education and beyond.

What is the best advice for parents choosing their child's school?

Talk to a range of people who have experienced different aspects of the school - current and former pupils, staff and parents. And make sure you spend time in the school. We offer Taster Days for example, where girls can spend a day in school and get the full 'BPS experience'.

www.bowdonprep.org.uk

George BuddGeorge Budd

George Budd

Principal at Moreton Hall

What is the most enjoyable part of your role?

It is a genuine privilege to lead a school that enjoys success in such a broad spectrum of life. For me, the best part of being a teacher is all about giving young people the tools and experiences they need, within and beyond the classroom, to find what truly excites them and those areas where they are able to excel. As Principal, the best part of the job is the ability to steer this journey of discovery and see the results at the end when our alumni seamlessly move to take their place in the world.

What is unique about your school / college?

An infectious energy, great resilience and considerable mutual trust are threaded across the sports pitches, onto the stage and into the classroom and that it what makes us what we are; alongside a unique entrepreneurial spirit. Moreton is not a cookie-cutter sort of school - from prospective medics to those seeking a career in the performing arts, everyone finds their place in this most welcoming and accepting of communities.

What is the best advice for parents choosing their child's school?

At our recent Open Day, many prospective parents told me they would be very happy indeed that if their daughter turned out like any of the Moreton girls who spoke at our welcome event with such self-assuredness, confidence and with such fondness for the school and its staff. I think that's the best way to choose a school; meet its students, tour the campus, get a feel for the ethos and ask yourself if that fits with the values of your family.

www.moretonhall.org

Liz ElamLiz Elam

Liz Elam

Principal at Abbey College Manchester

What is the most enjoyable part of your role?

Knowing that we are playing a key role in shaping students' futures in terms of education, careers and life skills is a huge privilege (albeit a little daunting sometimes).

What is unique about your college?

Strong individual care and support, very small class sizes and expert university guidance, advice and preparation.

What is the best advice for parents choosing their child's school?

Go and visit! Only with this do you get a feel for the place, the learning environment and whether it will allow your child to flourish.

www.abbeymanchester.co.uk

John BrowneJohn Browne

Mr John Browne

Headteacher at Stonyhurst

What is the most enjoyable part of your role?

Talking with young people about what they are going to do to change the world for others. Basically anything to do with supporting our young men and women.

What is unique about your college?

A 425 year old tradition of forming young people to be the best version of themselves. In the words of our motto 'Quant Je Puis'.

What is the best advice for parents choosing their child's school?

It needs to be an environment where your child will feel known and loved for who they are. Does it feel right?

www.stonyhurst.ac.uk

Toby PercivalToby Percival

Toby Percival

Head of Higher Education at Shrewsbury School

What is the most enjoyable part of your role?

Helping pupils make the next step to university; it's really rewarding when you see that lightbulb moment and the confidence it brings.

What is unique about your school?

The sense of community and interactions between staff and pupils; there's a feeling we're all on the same team with the same goals.

What is the best advice for parents choosing their child's school?

Make sure you talk to current pupils; they'll be honest about a school's strengths and weaknesses.

www.shrewsbury.org.uk

Paul VicarsPaul Vicars

Paul Vicars

Headmaster at Birkenhead School

What is the most enjoyable part of your role?

Seeing students achieve in areas that they never thought possible. It is skills above everything else that today's students need to thrive in the modern world. Providing them with these core abilities and seeing them develop is a great privilege.

What is the best advice for parents choosing their child's school?

Go with gut feel. Choosing a School is an emotive decision; you know your child and the community in which they will be happy. A happy child will thrive, feel supported, try new things and respond positively to challenge.

www.birkenheadschool.co.uk

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