Profile of the Prep School Headmistress, Mrs Sally Harrod
Sally Harrod came to Durham School to take up the Headship at Bow in September 2016. Prior to that, Sally spent five years – two as Head of English and three as Deputy Head – at Lincoln Minster School, which is linked to Lincoln Cathedral. Having begun her teaching career in 1996, Sally taught the full primary curriculum for 10 years before moving into independent education at St Mary’s Preparatory School in Lincoln, which merged with Lincoln Minster School in 2011. We asked pupils from Years 2 to 5 to come up with questions they would like her to answer.
What’s your best memory from primary school?
One of my favourite memories from school was being chosen to play the part of Mary in the school play when I was in the infants. I was very quiet at that age and didn’t have the confidence to have a speaking part. My role of Mary had no lines but being a central character gave me a huge confidence boost.
Do you like soft toys?
Soft toys are very special because they often hold a special memory. I still have a teddy bear from when I was a child, who has the rather unoriginal name, Ted! My son, Joel, still has his first soft toy, a little white dog with blue ears who is very threadbare as he used to go absolutely everywhere with us! I love him just as much as Joel because he is such a reminder of many adventures, like being put through the security machines at the airport and Joel’s first day at school.
Have you always taught Primary School children?
Yes, my degree specialised in the primary years and I have always taught this age range. The thirst for knowledge from children of this age and having that opportunity to inspire them is one of the many areas that makes teaching so rewarding. The most lovely thing for me as Headteacher at Bow is seeing the smiles of the children every day and watching the journey they make during their time with us.
Do you like video games?
They are not something I play but I appreciate how popular that are in the lives of young people. My son is very good at keeping me up to date with different games and what they are all about. They are a good way to have contact with friends, that was especially true during Lockdown earlier this year.
Why did you want to become a Headteacher?
After many years of classroom teaching, I started to become very interested in the running and organisation of schools. Having spent lots of years learning from others and drawing together some of the most effective teaching practices, being a headteacher gave me the chance to work with a team to evolve my vision for a school. We are all still constantly learning though and as both a teacher and Headteacher, it is important to continue to be open to changes.
What skills do you think you need to be a good Headteacher?
Being a teacher and a headteacher is a challenging role and you have to wear many ‘hats’. As a headteacher, I think some of the most important skills of leading a team are: being a good communicator; adaptability; forward thinking; being approachable; having patience; and having a sense of humour! I believe happiness is the very best foundation for successful learning and so we are constantly striving to create a nurturing environment in which pupils can be inspired, supported and challenged, depending on their individual strengths and needs.
What is your favourite animal?
Dogs are one of my favourite animals as they are wonderful company and a great way to get out for walks. Unfortunately, with being out of the house all day it would be very unfair for me to have a dog. I have two cats though, called Milo and Dexter. They are very friendly and love having lap snuggles in the evening.
What is your favourite country?
From a young age, I was very fortunate to be able to travel. Seeing and experiencing different cultures is fascinating and so important in developing our understanding of the world. I lived in the USA for a short time from the age of 15 and I made lots of friends who I still keep in touch with now. One of my favourite places I have visited is Thailand; everything about the country is fascinating and I especially loved the Thai food! However, no matter how great a holiday is, I always love returning home!
Did you have a best friend at school? Are you still friends now?
I had a close circle of friends at both primary and senior school, many of whom I still keep in touch with. They live in various parts of the world so I am so grateful that technology allows us to keep in touch so easily.
What do you do on weekends?
The weekends are family time after a busy week for us all. A good portion is usually spent taking Joel to football/cricket training and/or matches. Sunday lunch is one of my favourite family times at the weekend. I also enjoy crocheting, reading, walking and photography.
What is your favourite thing to do at Christmas?
Christmas is such a special time of year to spend time with family and friends. I love the excitement of Christmas Eve and I always prepare all of my vegetables for the next day whilst listening to Christmas songs. After Christmas dinner and the clear up, a Christmas movie and then games are the perfect ending to Christmas Day.
Quickfire questions from the children
Favourite movie? The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Favourite book? The Secret Garden
Favourite song? Imagine, John Lennon
Favourite musical? Annie (the first musical I saw, my grandma took me)
Favourite subject at school? English
Favourite food? Italian
Favourite colour? Yellow. Especially yellow daffodils.