Headteacher Walthamstow School for Girls (11-16 girls’ comprehensive in Waltham Forest)
A passionate advocate of comprehensive education, Meryl has taught in London schools for over thirty seven years. Currently Headteacher at Walthamstow School for Girls, a position she has held for seven years, she was previously Headteacher in Bromley for nine years.
Meryl has recently been awarded National Leader of Education status, a role which enables her to support school leaders nationally. As well as a strong commitment to girls’ education through her work on the ASGS, she also represents high performing schools on the SSAT Leading Edge Steering Group and chairs the Waltham Forest Secondary Challenge Board.
Two professional achievements of which you are most proud?
1. Achieving NLE and Teaching School Status (July 2017)
2. Outstanding Ofsted inspection (June 2018)
Four words which best describe your approach to leadership?
What have you learned about effective leadership most recently?
- To focus on skilling up those colleagues around you, thus all potential leaders to have as many opportunities to widen their experiences as possible.
- Be mindful always about clear communication and the workload of other colleagues at all levels.
- Be prepared to apologise with dignity, even if you are not necessarily at fault!
What three pieces of advice would you give to a new headteacher colleague?
Establish good relations with local Headteachers
Invest in building a strong leadership team which operates through trust, openness, integrity and humour
Ensure balance within your working life and life outside school
Who have been your influential mentors/ role models?
Previous Headteachers/line managers
What do you view as the most pressing issues / challenges for girls and young women in our schools currently?
Dealing with the pressures of social media, examinations and, for many, poverty and family expectations.
Do you have any books that have been important to you professionally that you would recommend for our leadership library?
Good to Great: Jim Collins
Women and Power: Mary Beard