Evelyn Forde

Headteacher, Copthall School 

What is your present role & school?

I am a mum of three amazing girls and a grandmother.  I have been in teaching for nearly 20 years and a Headteacher for the past 4 and a half years.  I started teaching at White Hart Lane School in Tottenham as a History Teacher and then moved to Hornsey School For Girls as a HOY.  It was here at Hornsey that I realised the power of girls’ education and it also got me thinking about senior leadership.  I joined the Future Leaders program in 2008 and have been in senior positions since then.  I secured my first Headship in April 2015 in Cambridgeshire but I missed London and I was ready for a new challenge and I am now Headteacher at Copthall School where I have been since September 2016. In 2016 I also acquired my NPQH and I have completed an Ofsted Shadowing Programe.  I am driven by the belief that all schools can, and must, transform the life chances of their students. Students who are socially and economically disadvantaged must have the same opportunities as those that are not, and we as educators must create schools where there is no attainment gap.  I believe in a holistic approach to education; we educate the whole person, socially, spiritually and emotionally as well as academically to ensure that they are successful adults who will engage in lifelong learning and contribute positively to their community.

Outside of the classroom I am a Trustee for Franklin Scholars and I facilitate on Ambition School Leadership’s women only NPQH program.

When time permits, I enjoy cycling and yoga and I travel frequently.

What two professional achievements are you most proud of?

1. Moving Copthall from RI to Good in just over two years

2. Gaining my NPQH whilst leading Copthall

What four words best describe your approach to leadership?

 Consistent, Fair, Ambitious, Visionary

 What have you learned about effective leadership most recently?

 It is important to have clarity of vision and purpose and that this should be effectively communicated.  Recognising the areas of strength and the areas of development of your team and then making sure you address these will lead to a much more productive team.  Know where your red lines are and stick to them!

 What three pieces of advice would you give to a new headteacher colleague?

1. Avoid snap decisions - "time is the master"

2. Get to know your staff - be visible, it will go a long way to building relationships

3. Look after yourself

Who have been your influential mentors/ role models?

Rita Pierson ‘Every Child Needs a Champion’ is my go-to video for inspiration and to uplift me when the job gets hard. She believes in the power of relationships which totally resonates with me and it influences my practice and interactions on a daily basis

What do you view as the most pressing issues / challenges for girls and young women in our schools currently? 

Well-being  (anxiety/self harm/suicide)

Social Media

Do you have any books that have been important to you professionally that you would recommend for our leadership library? 

Fierce Conversations – Susan Scott

The Chimp Paradox – Steve Peters