Welcome to the new head teacher!
We met Frances Mwale, who will be taking over from Joy Baggs as Farlington’s new Prep headmistress in September 2014
Frances Mwale has been teaching since 1986, spending six years in Bexley, North Kent and then eight in Nairobi, Kenya, before teaching for 14 years at The Hawthorns in Surrey. She grew up in South Norfolk, was a student in Nottingham and then London, after which she lived in Dartford before heading off to Nairobi. She returned to West Sussex to live near her family.
Although currently in a co-ed school, Frances attended Norwich High School from four until 18 years of age and fully understands how girls’ education allows you to be yourself. She left school with plenty of confidence, a ‘can do’ attitude and the security to know that she could follow her passions, irrespective of whether these were perceived as male or female domains.
She is looking forward to working with a fantastic teaching team at Farlington and getting to know the girls and their parents. She says: “I am an ‘ideas’ person, so hope to be able to offer fresh ideas and ways of working and enthuse and motivate others. My first priority is to get to know everyone, their strengths and what concerns them.
I want the education offered to the girls to be one that affords maximum opportunity, challenge, support and inspiration.
Creativity is so important and to look at ways of using the fantastic grounds and buildings to develop a passion for learning is really important.”
Here she answers a few questions on her background, leisure pursuits and plans for the future:
What do you owe your parents?
A great deal – they sent me to a great school and were always there for me, no matter what I threw back at them! They kept me grounded, too.
What do you like to do when you aren’t teaching?
I have many interests including gardening, dog walking, dress-making and writing letters.
Book or kindle? Why?
Book –my eyes get tired with too much screen time and I like to be able to see how near I am to the end!
What book are you currently reading?
I read books by Meja Mwangi, a Kenyan author. They are full of Swahili double-entendres and fun.
What was your first pet and what was its name?
Dogs always –Jane, Sue and Scamp were the first I can remember.
What was your favourite book as a child?
The Biggles books –not very p-c, but I loved the adventures, set in Africa. I also used to read ‘Jennings and Derbyshire’ books by Anthony Buckeridge and my friends and I acted out the stories at break times.
What is your favourite holiday destination? Why?
The Kenyan coast or the Rocky Mountains in Canada. I travel to South Germany too –anywhere where my friends are!
What is the most exciting place you have ever visited? Or exciting thing you have ever done?
I travelled to Russia many years ago, on the trans-Siberian railway.
What is your favourite TV programme?
I quite enjoy University Challenge and seeing how many answers I know. Nothing beats a good documentary.
What is your favourite piece of music?
Depends on my mood, but I like to listen to Nina Simone and I love any music that makes me dance!
What’s your favourite colour?
What is your most treasured possession?
I have a great gardening jumper that used to be my dad’s.
If you could be Michael Gove for the day, what changes would you make to the Junior curriculum?
I would stop having so much testing and give more support to teachers to hone their craft.
For more information go to farlingtonschool.net