Prep School Head Lucy Davies took part in a special feature for Welsh Border Life magazine, which will be in their next edition.
Which school and university did you attend?
Worcester Grammar School for Girls followed by sixth form in Rydal School (yes, the school I am now working in!). I then went to Durham University to study Anthropology. Later I received my teaching qualification from Exeter University and in 2017 I attained my Masters in Educational Leadership from Chester University. One could say that I like learning!
Which subjects were most enjoyable for you at school?
In primary school I loved maths, I seemed to be quite good at it at this stage! Later I chose History, English and Geography for my A levels as these were the ones linked with my desire to travel and find out about the world. In pre-internet days you had to actually go to the places to find out about them; it’s true to say that I have never forgotten about drumlins, a glacial feature I had to measure in miserable weather during an A level geography fieldtrip. I have now visited drumlins across the world, life’s more interesting with a good education!
What made you decide to become a teacher?
My parents were teachers and I knew how much hard work it was, as a teenager I felt there must be easier ways to earn a living! After my degree I travelled for a year and then settled to a graduate job with IBM in London. I found myself organising the recruitment office and someone said; ‘You’ve missed your vocation, you should be a teacher!’. I applied, was accepted and thirty years on I never regretted the decision, not once!
Have you always hoped to become a head teacher?
Absolutely not! This is my third Headship but I was well into my forties before I took my first one. Teachers love teaching; managing a school is not why we come into the job. However, once I got used to not having a class (this was a real wrench, I was quite possessive about my pupils and worried I wouldn’t see any if I was in an office all day) I began to see that, working together with the whole school team, I could influence more children’s lives by building truly inclusive and inspirational places to learn.
What drew you to Rydal Penrhos?
If you go to a good school as a pupil I think this stays with you for ever as a remembered passion. The opportunity arose for me to be the Head of the Prep School at a time of change for the school (moving from boarding to day) and I felt that I could make a positive contribution. I still feel as passionate about the school as I did all those years ago and I want to make sure that the current pupils gain as great an all-round education as I did.
What’s been your proudest achievement during your time at the school?
Well, I’ve only just got here, this is my first term! At the moment it’s managing to walk up and down the hill three times a day without having a red face at the top! I’m quite proud that I learnt all the pupils’ names in my first month.
It’s a silly thing but I feel so proud hoisting the school flag up the flagpole; I watched this being done as a pupil and can’t believe that it’s now my responsibility. I never realised it was quite so complicated, I have had to learn the correct knots quickly…wouldn’t want the flag flying off out to sea!
What do you still hope to achieve?
The school has great plans for the future and is currently finalising its next five year strategic plan. Pupil consultation has been vital in this process; they have great ideas for how and what they would like to study and we listen and act on these suggestions.
I hope to be able to be part of the staff team that brings their dreams for the school, and indeed their futures, to fruition.
What’s the toughest part of your job?
Trying to make sure that everyone feels valued and listened to. There are so many different adults who work for and in the school, everyone plays a vital role. There are many pupils of all different ages, our two year olds are just as important as our older pupils. I need to make opportunities every day to get out of the office and talk, listen and engage with everyone. It’s a cliché but it’s true…there really are not enough hours in the day!
What’s your favourite part of the school day?
I’m a morning person…I get to my desk at 7am and it has the most beautiful view over the North Wales coast. At the moment I watch the sunrise as the parents walk their pupils through the school gates and, as I go outside to greet them, I enjoy the feeling that every day holds new opportunities and that I am truly part of a very special school.