Q&A With Hannah Horwood, Acting Principal | Surbiton High School
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Q&A With Hannah Horwood, Acting Principal

Posted: 7th May 2024

Hannah Horwood, Senior Vice Principal, at Surbiton High School will become our Acting Principal in the Autumn Term, whilst we await the arrival of Matthew Shoults. Mrs Horwood is a well-regarded, long standing member of the Senior Leadership Team and has a wealth of experience having previously worked at Tiffin Grammar prior to Surbiton High School.

Mrs Horwood has shared her thoughts and views on Surbiton High School and education and leadership below.

Why did you go into education?

When I was at University, I was fortunate enough to spend two summers teaching sailing and water skiing at a summer camp in Wisconsin USA. This gave me the opportunity to see the value learning a new skill had on young people and the enjoyment of watching them gain confidence. I’ve had a deep interest in Biology from a very young age and have always enjoyed learning, whether in Biology, or in any other field. After trialling other career options for a few years and taking some time to explore some of the world, it became obvious that teaching was going to provide me with the right levels of challenge and enjoyment.

Over the last 21 years of being in education, I have become increasingly interested in cognitive development in young people and have taken numerous opportunities to contribute to and lead on the innovation of new teaching practices and innovations; I haven’t looked back.

How long have you been at Surbiton High School?

I have enjoyed 15 years working at Surbiton High School moving from Head of Biology through to Senior Vice Principal. Every role I have undertaken has taught me something new about myself, the School, working with young people and the value of a great education.

What’s your leadership style?

Over the years I have enjoyed learning about myself as a leader and hold great value in flexing my leadership style to the moment. I like to get to know my colleagues and the pupils individually, so I can both build and lead teams, ensuring everyone can be the best version of themselves and make progress.

How will you help prepare the new Principal, Matthew Shoults for when he joins Surbiton High School?

Having met Matthew I have no doubt he is going to settle into the leadership of Surbiton High School quickly. We will be setting up regular meetings throughout the Autumn Term to discuss every aspect of school life. I am keen to ensure continuity and part of that will be through the sharing of my deep knowledge of the school community, ethos and values.  I know Matthew is keen to get started at Surbiton High School and will embrace as many opportunities as he is able to in the Autumn Term.

What do you love about working at Surbiton High School?

This is the question I am asked most frequently by pupils, teachers and parents alike. My answer hasn’t changed. Surbiton High School is a genuinely vibrant and creative, caring, community alongside being a highly professional environment. It is therefore the people who make this such a great School to work in. From our pupils in Reception, to our young leaders in the Sixth Form, from our support staff to our teaching staff, everyone is friendly, warm and focused on achieving their best every day.

What are your hobbies and pastimes?

If I could spend a day doing anything it would be either gardening, beach combing on a wild windswept beach on the west coast, walking in the Brecon Beacons, snuggled up on a cosy chair reading or focusing on the completion of a still life painting.

Categories: Staff Information Whole School