Louise McCabe-Arnold joins Surbiton High Girls’ Preparatory School in April this year. She brings with her years of experience, specifically working with girls. We sat down with her to talk through some of the most pertinent questions you might have.
1. What is your background in teaching?
I have always enjoyed playing and coaching sports and following two years post-university coaching the Junior National sailing team in the Cayman Islands, I decided to undertake a PGCE in Primary Education. After teaching for six years in a Kent prep school, I moved to Abu Dhabi to work as Head of Maths at a large British 3-18 School, which was a fantastic experience. Before my current role, I worked as a Deputy Head in a girls’ prep school in central London. I have a real passion for girls’ education having spent most of my career in all-girls’ schools.
2. What do you enjoy about working in teaching?
I love seeing that light bulb moment – not necessarily in just the knowledge children are gaining, but in how they develop their personalities too. Seeing a child realise they are capable of something they previously found difficult, watching a child succeed or even seeing them solve friendship issues in the playground; it is incredibly rewarding playing a small part in a child’s development.
3. What is your philosophy in teaching?
I have always stood by the philosophy that happy children learn best. Children need to be inspired and challenged by their teachers to reach their potential whilst feeling supported and encouraged. But education is so much more than learning facts and figures, it’s also about developing a child’s personality and the traits that will make them successful later in life, such as resilience and determination, perseverance, independence and kindness. Most importantly, a quality education is not a one size fits all approach – it is about finding the approach that best suits the individual and tailoring the learning experience to that child’s strengths and weaknesses so that every child can flourish.
4. What attracted you to the role of Head at Surbiton High Girls’ Preparatory School?
I have long known about Surbiton High Girls’ Prep School’s excellent reputation and as a passionate advocate of girls’ education, it has always been the kind of school that I aspired to lead one day. The high academic standards are impressive, as are the rich experiences that Surbiton High School offers which complement the academic curriculum. My first visit to the School only confirmed everything I had read and heard. Everyone I met was warm and friendly and the girls were so proud to tell me about their wonderful school. They were fantastic ambassadors for Surbiton High – knowledgeable, articulate and most of all they showed a real sense of community spirit and care for one another.
5. How would you describe your style of leadership?
Ambitious, but above all, personable. My style of leadership is primarily about building strong relationships by showing warmth and kindness and supporting those around me to achieve their goals. I believe that honest and open communication to be at the heart of all high-achieving cultures.
6. What are your main aims as Head of Surbiton High Girls’ Preparatory School?
The School already provides an excellent education, and my main aim is to ensure that this continues alongside developing and supporting the girls’ social and emotional well-being. Celebrating the diversity and differences within the Surbiton High School Community is also very important to me and I want to ensure that all girls see themselves represented in the School’s collective successes.
7. What changes do you plan to make in the School?
Surbiton High Girls’ Prep is already a wonderful school and there is no need to make large- scale changes. Initially, I want to build strong relationships with the girls, parents and staff and then look to see where small improvements can be made whilst always upholding the school’s motto of ‘May love always lead us’. I am hugely excited to become a part of the Surbiton High Community and continue the excellent traditions and successes that the School is known for.Categories: Girls' Prep School