How long have you worked at Mill Hill School?
I have worked at Mill Hill School for 23 years. During my time here I have had a variety of roles. I started out as a girl’s game coach for Hockey, Netball and Tennis soon after girls were welcomed to Mill Hill School in year 9. I then worked in the admissions office. Next, I took on a marketing role and one of my main jobs was to co-ordinate the design and production of the annual school magazine. This included a lot of photography of school events both within and outside. I was also Head of the Navy section in the CCF for 12 years and have been Head of Tennis since 2008. Finally, five years ago I took on the role of Co-curricular Coordinator and I balance this with my other sports coaching.
What does your role involve?
As co-curricular coordinator, I oversee a wide array of activities and clubs around the school i.e., everything outside the classroom including Sport, Music, Drama, Creative and Academic Clubs. Each year, over 200 clubs, societies and activities are on offer. I get involved in helping pupils select activities, promoting the programme and ensuring that appropriate spaces, rooms and facilities are booked for each activity.
Another key part of my role is overseeing the Friday Activities Programme for Fourth Form and Remove. Fourth Formers complete a programme called Martlet, which involves a rotation of activities testing skills and initiative along with general familiarisation of the School. Remove pupils choose a leadership option such as Business Enterprise, Debating, Eco Society, CCF and/ or Sports Leaders. It is a wonderful scheme which helps develop leadership skills, preparing pupils for life beyond Mill Hill School.
As Head of Tennis, I also oversee the full programme for Boys and Girls. Our main activity is in the Summer Term when we enter the School LTA events and the prestigious ISTA Championships at Eton, but we try to train most of the year when the weather allows. This year was so satisfying with the fund-raising activity we did for the charity Bright Ideas for Tennis, one of my highlights being the Skydive in March and the fact that pupils got to play at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.
What is your favourite thing at Mill Hill School?
It is very satisfying to see pupils find their passion and excel in things outside of the classroom. Activities also give pupils the opportunity to share their interests and hobbies with others. I love seeing pupils use their initiative and take on leadership roles in their clubs. For example, the Robotics and Jewellery clubs are both pupil-led.
Do you have any advice for our pupils which could help them to get the most out of their time at Mill Hill School?
Our pupils should make the most of the opportunities on offer at Mill Hill School and
find something they are enthusiastic about. It can be easy to choose the same club as your friends, but it is better to try something new and step outside of your comfort zone. This will allow you to spend time with others and develop a wider skill set.
Could you share an inspirational quote with us? How does it inspire you?
“If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.” This is from Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If’. Wimbledon tennis finalists, waiting to go onto the Centre Court, can look up and read these famous words before they play.
I love this quote because it speaks to every reader about what it means to become a complete person and how we as human beings operate through the ups and downs of life.
Do you have any tips to help pupils manage exam stress?
Go outside and move! You could walk around the grounds and enjoy their beauty, listen to the birds or come along to recreational tennis sessions at lunchtime. Getting outside will help you relax and clear your mind during this busy time.
Can you tell us something that we might not know about you?
My maiden name is Collinson, which is the same as one of the boarding houses. This House was named after Peter Collinson who was a botanist and planted many unique species in the School grounds! Perhaps if I traced our families back far enough, I might discover that he is a relative of mine!
What is your favourite book and film for our pupils and why?
This is a hard one, but I would have to say that my favourite film is ‘The Good Year’ with Russel Crow. Max Skinner (Russel Crowe) is a failed bank worker who inherits his uncle’s vineyard in France where he spent his childhood holidays. Here, he falls in love and meets his wife. I love French culture, so this is a beautiful film. My favourite book is ‘A Year in Provence’ by Peter Mayle. This is a wonderful novel about life in France, a place I have spent many a holiday with my family.