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Meet the head: Kate Reynolds at Leweston School

PUBLISHED: 12:04 14 November 2016 | UPDATED: 12:04 14 November 2016

Kate Reynolds

Kate Reynolds

All copyright belongs to Millie Pilkington Photography.

Academic excellence and the opportunity to shine in extra-curricular achievements is the magic elixir behind every Leweston girl says its head, Kate Reynolds

What are the benefits of single sex schooling?

Pupils can grow at their own pace without worrying about what boys might think of them. They get plenty of interaction with other boys and girls at Sherborne socials to work that out. There are no gender stereotypes here; indeed our latest GCSE results showed that Maths and Science are amongst our strongest subjects with 66% of Further Maths achieving an A* grade.

How do you balance life as head of a large school family and being a mother?

Having institutionalised children helps - two of them were actually born in and all four have grown up in a boarding house where my husband was Housemaster. There are lots of mutual benefits too – my children get to enjoy the concerts and plays as well as the stunning grounds at Leweston. We invite all our boarders for suppers in our school house so they have the chance to relax in a family environment.

What special qualities do you think Leweston bring out in its pupils?

Academic excellence is a given, but we also give individuals the opportunity to shine in extra-curricular achievements. Somewhere in this magic mix is the elixir that makes Leweston so special – the students here are also wonderfully natural and happy. What more could you want from childhood?

Tell me about the pastoral welfare at Leweston

It is multi layered and ever evolving, as it needs to in this era of rising concern for wellbeing, particularly of high achieving girls. Last year a qualified Counsellor joined our team of highly trained Heads of Year. Our Lay Chaplain and registered nurses in the Health Centre offer an additional level of support.

This year we are investing in peer mentoring so older students can support and guide others in the school. But our most precious Pastoral commodity is time; Leweston is a small school and the staff know the pupils incredibly well so we can give extra support when it’s needed.

What role do extra curricular activities play?

I always tell pupils that what matters just as much as academic achievement is the ‘more than’ – what more than this did you achieve in your time at Leweston? I am constantly impressed with the ‘more than’ accomplishments we celebrate be it a student gaining a coveted music diploma after their Grade 8 or successfully completing their Duke of Edinburgh gold award or representing the county or GB in their chosen sport. Resilience and soft skills are increasingly seen by employers as being as important as academic results.

You are one of the UK’s ‘Pentathlon’ schools, what does that involve?

We are one of only eight Pentathlon Academy status schools in the UK, run by Team GB Biathle Coach Mick Flaherty. Pupils are encouraged to try an ‘athle’ sport and we also train Dorset Pentathletes. We recently hosted the National Triathle Championships with three Leweston girls selected to represent Team GB at the World Championships in Florida.

What is your favourite subject?

English – the subject I chose to teach. What sheer indulgence – reading wonderful novels, poems and plays in preparation over the holidays. What an honour to share your love of these forms with future generations. I cannot think of anything better.

Situated in 46 acres of parkland just south of Sherborne, Leweston School is an independent day and boarding school which is co-educational in the Nursery and Junior Departments and all girls in the Senior School and Sixth Form. For more details please visit leweston.co.uk or call 01963 211010.

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