Q and A: St Anthony’s School for Girls headteacher on her first year at helm

PUBLISHED: 11:36 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:46 20 March 2017

St Anthony's School for Girls headteacher Laura Martin with a group of her students. Credit: Jonathan Stewart

St Anthony's School for Girls headteacher Laura Martin with a group of her students. Credit: Jonathan Stewart

Red Photographic-Jonathan Stewart

We spoke to St Anthony’s School for Girls headteacher Laura Martin about her first year at the helm.

Laura MartinLaura Martin

Please can you go into your background in teaching prior to starting at St Anthony’s?

Having completed a BA Ed in primary education with the University of Reading, I began my teaching career in a Catholic primary school in Hertfordshire. Prior to opening St Anthony’s School for Girls, I was a founding member of Holy Family, a new Catholic primary school in the borough of Ealing. Together with my team, I organised, resourced and designed the curriculum for the opening of each class and nurtured the caring, family ethos within a growing school environment. As the assistant head, I was an integral part of the team which led Holy Family to achieve the “outstanding” grade in their first Ofsted Inspection. I have now embarked on a new challenge and aim to apply the experience and skills gained in my previous role to the successful running of St Anthony’s School for Girls.

What attracted you to the job?

St Anthony's School for Girls headteacher Laura Martin, Alpha Plus executive deputy chairman Graham Able and founding parent Ebru Nart.St Anthony's School for Girls headteacher Laura Martin, Alpha Plus executive deputy chairman Graham Able and founding parent Ebru Nart.

The challenge of starting a new school was an incredibly rewarding experience, and so when the opportunity arose to open St Anthony’s School for Girls, I was delighted to be offered the position. What appealed to me most was the opportunity to create from its foundation, a learning environment where all pupils could thrive and reach their full potential. As a school leader, I am blessed with the task of creating our future traditions and aim to achieve this using exciting and innovative approaches to teaching. Prior to taking the position, I visited St Anthony’s Boys and met with headmaster, Paul Keyte. It was clear that we shared the same values and principles in our approach to education and so would go on to make a successful team. I also admired the success of the Alpha Plus Group schools and was attracted to the opportunity of working within a group which would offer the support network of successful and forward-thinking headteachers.

What makes St Anthony’s unique as a school?

As a start-up school, we are unique in that we are not governed by traditions or principles which could have potentially become outdated. The opening of a new school provides us with a blank canvas. We have the opportunity to create an educational setting tailored to the needs of a diverse and ever changing environment. St Anthony’s girls benefit from traditional teaching methods while drawing upon the latest advances in technology and the latest research and innovation in education. Through working closely with the boys’ school, we are also able to give our pupils the opportunities that a co-educational school would provide while maintaining the benefits that singlesex education has to offer. Paul and I meet frequently to ensure that our shared ethos is maintained and academic success of the two schools is on par.

What are your main aims as headteacher?

St Anthony’s School for Boys is known as being both academic and caring. My Headteacher Laura Martin surrounded by a crop of her pupils. Spring Term 2017 37 Interview aim is to nurture this ethos in the girl’s school throughout our period of growth. My approach to education is that first and foremost, the girls should enjoy learning. I want the girls to skip into school every day excited to make new discoveries, to gain knowledge and practise skills. It is our duty to ensure that during their time with us, the girls are prepared for the next stage in their school career. And so we promote independence and encourage our girls to take ownership of their learning. We want our girls to see themselves as individuals, with unique strengths and ambitions and that stems from how we ourselves view the girls, and the education with which we provide them. As our pupil numbers grow, my aim is that our pastoral care will continue to be equal to our excellent academic offering. By attending St Anthony’s, our girls will receive an education which develops the human being as a whole.

What has been your proudest moment during the school’s first year?

There have been many proud moments and successes during our first year but the most memorable for me was seeing the very first St Anthony’s girl cross the school gates proudly wearing her new school uniform. The girls themselves have made the opening of this school a joy. They fully appreciate the importance and responsibility of being a founding member and know that their actions and achievements will go on to set the St Anthony’s Girls traditions. It gives me such pleasure to watch them grow and flourish as the role models to our future year groups.

What are you most excited about this term?

We are incredibly excited about STEM week, which will take place in March. During this week all learning will be focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Through cross-curricular projects, the girls will take part in robotics sessions which will draw on their construction and programming skills. There will be investigations to spark a curiosity in chemistry and mathematical problem solving which will encourage them to pose as many questions as they have answered.

What do you like most about working in Camden?

The situation of the school between Hampstead and Golders Green enables me make the most of bustling north London life while enjoying the glorious greenery and outdoor space provided by Golders Hill park.

What is the school’s ethos?

Our ethos underpins every aspect of school life at St Anthony’s School for Girls. As with our sister school, St Anthony’s School for Boys, it is our nurturing family environment and high quality education which makes us exceptional. We believe that children reach their true potential when they feel safe, secure and valued as part of a supportive community. We recognise that each child is an individual, with unique strengths and abilities. Through our guidance, it is the St Anthony’s School for Girls aim that our pupils will flourish academically and go on to affect change, making a positive contribution to society through their academic abilities and moral and spiritual beliefs. Through living out our aims and ethos, we hope to foster in each child a passion to learn, the motivation to achieve and the desire to excel.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate education news

From maths mystery to maths mastery: Coldfall Primary School teacher on enlightening trip to Singapore

A group of teachers from a Muswell Hill school paid a visit to Singapore over the Easter break in a bid to expand their outlook on the teaching of maths.

Get inspired to put pen to paper by performance of Suddenly at Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone

A theatre company is hoping that children who come along to their latest production will be inspired to put pen to paper.

Parents missing out on National Offer Day due to high demand for ‘outstanding’ primary schools

We spoke to London Metropolitan University’s head of subject for health and childhood Kelly Cooper about her experience of National Offer Day...

Advice for Camden, Haringey, Barnet and Westminster parents on what to do if your child misses out on top primary school place

Families in Camden, Haringey, Barnet and Westminster found out yesterday whether their children had bagged their top choice of primary school.

More Barnet children set to attend primary school of their choice in September

More Barnet children will be attending the primary school of their choice in September.

Camden and Haringey 2017 primary school places allocated

Parents across Camden and Haringey have found out today which primary schools their children will be going to in September.

Campaigners call on Haringey parents to come up with summer term plan of action against funding cuts

Campaigners are calling on parents to help them come up with a plan of action in their fight against funding cuts to schools.

Controversy over private girls’ school teacher taking part in Miss Universe contest

A teacher from top private girls’ school Channing has hit tabloid headlines after announcing she is entering the Miss Universe GB competition.

North London Conservatoire expanding innovative music school for young children to include Hendon

An innovative music centre which provides young children with a wealth of musical opportunities is expanding its school to include Hendon.

Children tumble into world of Alice in Wonderland at Highgate United Reform Church

Children have been tumbling into the topsy-turvy world of Lewis Carroll as part of a action-packed project to teach youngsters how to perform.

Q and A: UCS Hampstead student, 17, creates app to help fellow pupils struggling with GCSEs revision

An app creator at the age of 17, we spoke to UCS Hampstead student Jonny Boone about why he took it upon himself to help fellow pupils with revision for their GCSE exams.

Portland Place School students walk, run and hop for charity in Regent’s Park ‘bunny run’

Students at Portland Place School walked, ran and hopped on a charity ‘bunny run’ to raise more than a thousand pounds for homeless charity Shelter.

St Anthony’s School for Girls students enjoy action-packed Easter celebrations

Students at St Anthony’s School for Girls had a cracking good time celebrating Easter at the end of the term.

Students at St Michael’s School parade Easter bonnets in Highgate

Students at St Michael’s School put their Easter bonnets on display during an annual parade in Highgate.

Highgate Primary School’s bid to build amphitheatre boosted by Bellway Homes

Highgate Primary School’s bid to raise £65,000 to build an amphitheatre in the playground has been boosted by the involvement of a housing developer.

Changes to free nursery places in Camden revealed

Changes to free nursery places in Camden have been revealed.

Whittington Trust launches competition to showcase work of budding artists in Archway hospital

An Archway hospital trust is launching an art competition designed to seek out budding artists from across north London.

Barnet parents encouraged to sign petition calling for fairer school funding

Parents across Barnet are being encouraged to sign a petition calling for fairer funding to schools across the borough.

Creativity is order of day at St Saviour’s Primary School

Creativity was the order of the day at St Saviour’s Primary School as students let their imaginations run wild.

New skipper appointed at Haverstock School ahead of headteacher’s retirement after 17 years of service

A new headteacher has been appointed at Haverstock School for the first time in 17 years.

Portland Place School deputy head gives her top 10 revision tips ahead of GSCE and A-level exams

Julia Findlater, deputy headteacher at Portland Place School, gives her top 10 tips for revision success.

Mother’s Day breakfast to raise money for chosen charities at St Anthony’s School for Girls

St Anthony’s School for Girls held a special Mother’s Day breakfast to celebrate their loved ones and to raise money for their two chosen charities.

Camden Council pledges to put mental health at forefront of agenda for young people living in borough

Camden Council has pledged to keep the subject of mental health at the forefront of the agenda in its bid to improve the wellbeing of young people living in the borough.

Army of kids take part in fun run to help secure future of Highgate Primary School family centre

The future of a family centre which is battling a lack of funding is closer to being secured after 127 children took part in a fun run.

Former MOBO award winner takes part in five-hour drumming marathon at King Alfred School

A former MOBO award winner took part in a five-hour drumming marathon at King Alfred School to raise money for Comic Relief on Red Nose Day.

Column: Hampstead couple talk through their experience of home schooling

Hampstead couple Haleh Babavand and her husband Ash Parsa spoke to the Ham and High about their experience of home schooling.

Henrietta Barnett School students reach final of competition to find codebreakers of future

A team of Hampstead schoolgirls have beaten 8,000 rivals to reach the final of a competition to find the best code breakers of the future.

St Anthony’s School for Girls students build robots and rockets as part of STEM week

Students at St Anthony’s School for Girls embraced new technology by building robots and rockets as part of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) week.

Fearless Coleridge Primary School students crowned public speaking champions

A group of fearless Coleridge Primary School students have taken a public speaking competition by storm.

Channing School gets dads on board as part of campaign to eradicate gender inequality in workplace

Channing School has been getting the dads on board as part of an awareness campaign to eradicate gender inequality in the workplace.

Campaign to address gender gap in apprenticeship schemes

A trust which supports young woman who are struggling to make ends meet is campaigning to address the gender gap in apprenticeship schemes.

Q and A: St Anthony’s School for Girls headteacher on her first year at helm

We spoke to St Anthony’s School for Girls headteacher Laura Martin about her first year at the helm.

Portland Place School students pay tribute to Jane Austen in year which marks 200th anniversary of her death

Students have paid tribute to pioneering author Jane Austen in the year which marks the 200th anniversary of her death.

Study: The rise of home schooling in Camden

A study looking into the growth of home education in London has revealed a 582 per cent increase in the number of children being taught at home over the last 10 years.

St Anthony’s School for Girls launches mindfulness initiative as part of focus on mental health

St Anthony’s School for Girls has launched a new mindfulness initiative to teach the pupils the importance of looking after their mental health and wellbeing.

Union calls on Theresa May to back up pledge to transform mental health support on offer in schools

A union has called on the government to back up its mission to change attitudes towards mental health issues suffered by young people.

Freedom Charity founder speaks to Haverstock School about fight to end practice of FGM

Education is the key to ending the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), according to the founder of an awareness charity.

South Hampstead High School teacher’s legacy celebrated by ex-students and colleagues

A South Hampstead High School stalwart has been celebrated more than 40 years after she retired.

Camden School for Girls student running debating programme to ensure state school kids get voices heard

A 15-year-old girl is running a debating programme to ensure that state school kids get their voices heard.

Animation encouraging children to talk about mental health launches in Primrose Hill

A short film to encourage children to talk about their feelings in the classroom was shown today at Primrose Hill Primary School.

Hampstead and Highgate duo on mission to talk to teens in schools about sex, likes and social media

A determined duo from across the pond who brought up their children in north west London are on a mission to encourage healthy relationships among young people and teach them about the many pitfalls surrounding social media.

Interview: Fiona Millar delves into her time at Camden School for Girls

We spoke to writer and education journalist Fiona Millar about her time at Camden School for Girls (1968-1975).

St Michael’s Primary School finds creative way to protest against Haringey funding cuts

Parents, students and staff at a Highgate school have found a creative way to protest against funding cuts across Haringey.

Crouch End families come together to spruce up area as part of Great British Spring Clean

The ‘Crouch End tidy up’ was in full swing on Saturday as families came together to spruce up the area.

PICTURE SPECIAL: Camden and Haringey schools celebrate World Book Day

Schoolchildren across Camden and Haringey have been sharing their love of fiction on World Book Day.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2017 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant