Starting a new job as the headteacher of a prominent city school midway through a pandemic is not what most would choose – but that’s exactly how things have worked out for Jenny Brown, the new head at Derby Cathedral School.
Jenny, who has worked in education for 22 years, was appointed to the post just before the country went into lockdown, so her first weeks and months in post will be particularly challenging.
Jenny said: “Yes – I have certainly picked my moment, haven’t I! Navigating through Covid will clearly be one of my main challenges as I continue to get to know everyone, but I am determined the pandemic will not stop the school in its aspiration to put quality at the heart of everything we do.
"And that’s not just in terms of academic achievement, but also in life education to set students up for whatever they choose to do next.
“My ambition is for every member of the school community to be the best that they can be and to fully embrace our FAITH values (fellowship, aspiration, integrity, tenacity, humility).
“The challenge is to remain focused on that ambition as the school grows, for everyone to have a clear understanding of the vision of the school and for this to be ‘felt’ and visible to all.
Jenny grew up in Bedfordshire before doing a maths degree at the University of Nottingham and making the city her home.
And she brings with her plenty of experience: “I have worked in Nottingham schools for over twenty years and have had various roles with increasing leadership responsibility.
“I have always taught maths, which is a subject that I dearly love, but have also taught a great deal of PSHCE and led both subjects for a number of years.
“Once I moved into senior leadership, I was asked to move to a school in Special Measures to help support its improvement.
"This was a seminal time in my career and gave me a real thirst for school improvement and development. I truly saw the impact that a school has on its whole community.
“I then moved to take up the headship of a new free school in Nottingham.
“Starting a new school is such a privilege, challenge and a responsibility. Having thoroughly enjoyed this process, I am delighted to bring my experience to Derby Cathedral School.
"The school is a fantastic community that is centered on providing the best possible education for young people.
“My balance of high expectations with focused support will enable the school to continue to grow in this vein.
“As it continues to develop and looks forward to moving to a new, state-of-the-art building, it is an incredibly exciting time for the school, and I am so pleased to be part of it.”