There is a wide group of committed and well trained teaching and non-teaching staff at Northampton High School, working hard to enable the girls to achieve their best, in a perfect environment for learning and developing. They are led by a hardworking senior leadership team, who bring a broad range of experience and expertise to their roles but who all share a passion for the very best education for girls.

Dr Helen Stringer

Headmistress

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I came into education via my own excellent education at Danum Grammar School in Doncaster, followed by a first degree (History) at Bristol. Teaching in school was always my vocation, though my years doing doctoral research at Sussex on Tudor rebellions, combining study with a variety of jobs, including stints in senior citizens’ homes as a Care Assistant, were hugely rewarding. I still remember some of the fascinating men and women who shared their life stories with me during that time.

After two years at Leicester Grammar, I gained my first experience of teaching in an all-girls’ school, at James Allen’s Girls’ School in Dulwich. Seeing what young women could achieve in an ambitious environment where the teaching was tailored specifically to girls was eye-opening and there, I think, was born my commitment to trying to shape the future of girls’ education. Six years into my teaching career, I decided to take time out to do a post-graduate teacher training course at the Institute of Education. Going ‘back to school’ as an experienced teacher was character-building and made me very aware of how much I still had to learn. Teaching is one of those professions where you have to keep renewing your practice all the time to keep it fresh.

At Channing School in Highgate, where I spent nine happy years, I was lucky enough to have the chance to lead a group of students in a project with The Women’s Library to collect oral testimony from Alumnae and to curate an exhibition to celebrate their lives. This experience brought everyone involved into encounters with the women of our mothers’ and grandmothers’ generations who have pushed against the glass ceiling in their own quiet ways.

My last post before joining the High School was at the Stephen Perse Foundation (formerly Perse Girls’) in Cambridge, first as Head of Senior School and then as Vice-Principal with responsibility for the curriculum from Kindergarten to Year 13. Learning more about early years and juniors was one of the greatest rewards of those years while navigating through successive years of curriculum reform was one of the most interesting challenges.

Serving Northampton High School as its leader is a privilege and a joy. My mission is to build on the strong tradition of the School in providing an exceptional education for girls in the region and, reinforced by the reach and resources of the Girls’ Day School Trust, preparing our girls to be the women leaders of tomorrow. My greatest reward is to get to know the girls in school right now and to hear their stories, their dreams and their ambitions.

Adèle O'Doherty

Deputy Head (Pastoral Care and Guidance)

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Originally from Birmingham, I was educated at an all girls’ school before completing my first degree in Information and Library studies. Having spent a number of years growing, computerising and running a large resources centre at Bromsgrove School, a boarding and day school in Worcestershire, I found myself increasingly interested in both the academic and pastoral life of the pupils at the school. A great believer in seizing opportunities as they arise, I was soon to find myself going from dabbling in teaching a little lower school ICT, to devising the schemes of work and teaching the very first A Level Applied ICT course in the school. The new A Level course was a success and ultimately led me to a change in career which saw me becoming a newly qualified teacher through the Graduate Teacher Programme.

Bearing in mind the ‘seize the day’ approach once more, I also took on the role of Head of Academic ICT, which serendipitously became available, during my NQT year. I also enjoyed taking on responsibility for the Lower Sixth as Assistant Head of Year, editing the school magazine and putting my librarian training to good use as the co-ordinator of the Extended Project, when Bromsgrove became an IB school.

It is fair to say that a boarding school is an excellent training ground for the pastoral practitioner and as much as I enjoy the academic side of school life, I increasingly found an interest and perhaps even a vocational calling, in the pastoral aspects of school. After an opportunity arose to be a maternity-cover Houseparent in a boarding house for a year I realised that this was a route that I wanted to pursue. So in 2011, I moved to Wycombe Abbey School to take up the role of Housemistress to 45 girls aged 12-17. Living amongst the girls and nurturing them through the academic and pastoral sides of their school lives is an absolute privilege and although it requires a person to give much of themselves to ‘the job’ I found it incredibly rewarding and a wonderful education for me too. After becoming Head of Boarding I then moved into the role of Head of Sixth Form, living with and mentoring Upper Sixth girls. Having gained a wide experience of educating girls and of many aspects of running a school and after recently completing an MA (Leadership) and the UCL Institute of Education, I was delighted to join Northampton High School as Deputy Head (Pastoral Care and Guidance). It is a school with values that echo my own and I thoroughly enjoy the stimulating and challenging  environment of an all girls’ school with such a wide range of experiences on offer for the girls.

I’m married to Graeme and between them we have three children. I enjoy long walks, geocaching and knitting when time permits. My two major passions though are reading and music.

Henry Rickman

Academic Deputy Head

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I was born in London and grew up in a small village near Stratford-upon- Avon in Warwickshire. Following secondary school, I chose another historic English setting for my Modern Languages degree; Canterbury. Before starting university, I spent some time abroad to improve my languages, living near Valencia for two months and then in Paris for the rest of the year. As well as my BA, I also have a degree in Lettres Modernes (French Language and Literature) from the Université Jean Moulin in Lyon and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of
Leicester. I completed my PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages in 1998.  I taught at Latimer School for two years before moving to Northampton School for Boys where I remained for 10 years. I enjoyed a variety of roles there, ranging from examinations to pastoral leadership and on to departmental head for Modern Languages. While at Northampton School for Boys I also chaired the Curriculum Board which influenced the school’s overall academic direction and allowed me to join senior leadership meetings to discuss the curriculum and the views of middle management.

I joined Northampton High School in 2011 as Director of Studies and became Deputy Head, Academic in 2012. The highlights of my time at the school so far have been setting up a variety of academic programmes such as the annual skills days and the thinking skills programme, as
these have really empowered teachers and students to find new ways to bring learning to life.

I currently live in rural Cambridgeshire with my wife, Emma, a GP and between them we have six children including two at University. Coming from a big family myself I have a good understanding of what makes children thrive and it is always a life-affirming experience to be amongst young people. I try to bring a sense of positivity with me to school and have a simple philosophy of education; students work best when they have a calm environment where their individual needs are recognised and are of paramount importance.

I am passionate about improving equality of opportunity in the workplace and I feel that working in a GDST school offers me the chance to bring about change and improve the life chances of women.

Ross Urquhart

Head of Junior School

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I attended school in a small town in the Highlands of Scotland where I was fortunate to have many outstanding teachers who inspired me to pursue a career in education.  Sport has played a significant role in my life from a young age and my commitment to this aspect of education
remains strong.  As a member of the Scottish basketball team from the age of 12 there were many opportunities to travel around the British Isles and Europe. I chose to study a Secondary Physical Education and Geography degree at Brunel University, allowing me also to further my
basketball career in the English national league.

Having spent several years teaching PE in a variety of maintained secondary schools, changing into the independent primary sector provided new stimulation and my passion for early education was born.  Following promotion to Deputy Headteacher I decided to move from the sports hall to the classroom and began teaching English and Maths in year 4, 5 and 6 to broaden my experience.

When offered the Headteacher position at newly built Broughton Manor Prep School I jumped at the chance to lead my first school and spent 3 successful years growing the school roll from 170 to 270 pupils, developing the school facilities and gaining an outstanding inspection report.  As a Headteacher my philosophy has always been to give every pupil in my care the best start in education possible, with a broad range of extra-curricular opportunities.

Being the father of two daughters, I have always had a stake in girls’ education and having visited local independent schools chose Northampton High School when my daughter Caitlin was ready for senior school. Only 6 months later in 2012, I followed her with younger daughter Gemma and was delighted to become Head of the Junior School.  It is a school where I am very much at home. I class myself as a GDST man, working tirelessly to make sure that girls gain a love of learning and have the opportunity to do whatever they want in the future.  I looks forward to the day when girls who are currently in the Nursery achieve incredible success at A level and beyond.

Julia Cantwell

Director of Sixth Form

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I experienced the advantages of being educated at a single sex girls school, James Allen’s Girls School in Dulwich. An innovative and forward thinking school with some excellent role models, it gave me the confidence to follow my interests in science and engineering and study Applied Physics and Chemistry at Durham University. On graduation I became a Process Engineer making silicon chips.

When the company relocated to California I decided that I was motivated by the development of people rather than money or objects and decided to teach.

I completed my PGCE at the Institute of Education at London University and begun my career teaching Physics and tutoring in the girls’ boarding houses at two leading co-educational independent schools, Felsted School in Essex and later at Eastbourne College where I taught with my husband, Philip. It was while we were in Eastbourne that our two daughters, Louisa and Helena were born.

Career moves took us to London and I became Head of Science at St Olave’s Grammar school in Orpington, a very different experience, as this was a single sex boys school. Our son, Joseph was born while we were there.

Our next move was to Cokethorpe School in Oxfordshire where I taught Physics part time. I also became manager of the West Oxfordshire Education Business Partnership, an organisation that brought together businesses and schools, setting up programmes to enable school students to learn about enterprise and the world of work. I continued to work in this area when we moved to Tynemouth, managing the North Tyneside Education Business Partnership working with schools and businesses across the North East.

When we relocated to Northamptonshire in 2010 I was appointed to teach Physics at the High School. I immediately felt “at home” surrounded by passionate and inspiring colleagues and welcoming, curious and motivated girls. I thoroughly enjoy teaching here, becoming first Head of Science and latterly Director of Sixth Form. It is a pleasure to see each girl develop her confidence and independence and to support them as they make the decisions and choices that will take them to university and on to their chosen career.

Jo Fitzroy-Ezzy

Director of Development

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I began working at Northampton High School in 2006 as Marketing Manager; in September 2013 I became Development Director and joined the Senior Leadership team expanding my role to include fundraising as well as being responsible for marketing and admissions.

I began my career in marketing working for a paper company in London but after three years moved to be a Community Fundraiser for Scope.  From here I progressed to become a Fundraising Manager of a team in the Midlands region (who undertook Corporate & Trusts, Events, Shops and Community fundraising as well as campaigning and PR), before becoming a Community Marketing Manager for the organisation.

I gained a Geography degree from Nottingham University and have always had a love of travel! After graduating I spent 18 months working and travelling in America, Australia and New Zealand and met my husband, Alistair in Sydney. He is Managing Director of a printing company based in Leicester. We go back to Australia to visit family and friends and also try to see other parts of the world which we haven’t visited. We have 3 children, 2 boys and a girl, who has recently finished A Levels at Northampton High. Marketing the school and seeing every day the outstanding education the girls get as well as the fantastic facilities and resources on offer, I was delighted to be able to send my daughter to the school.

I’m keen on amateur dramatics and have acted, directed and supported backstage in many productions over the years. I undertook a start sailing course and am a member of a book group locally and at school.

Anne Headley

Director of Finance and Operations

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I attended the University of Manchester where I graduated with a degree in Geography. From there I went on to qualify as a management account whilst working full time firstly at British Telecom and then at Pedigree Pet foods.

I came to Northampton High School with significant experience of working in Education having worked for several years as Research Accountant at the University of Leicester followed by 5 years as Director of Finance, Estates and HR at a Sixth Form College in Leicester. Independent school experience was gained immediately prior to my move to Northampton when I spent 7 years as Bursar at Leicester High School for Girls.

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