MRS Julie King, the new head of Elleray, the Preparatory division of Windermere School, says she will put adventurous learning at the heart of the curriculum and help to make it the best small school in the country.
Established in 1863, Windermere School is a boarding and day school for boys and girls aged between 3 and 18 years of age. Approximately 75 children attend Elleray and 275 are in the Senior School. Earlier this week (Sat 6 July) students were celebrating an outstanding set of International Baccalaureate results.
Julie King takes over as Head from Rachael Thomas on 1st August. But she has already been getting to know parents, pupils and teachers, moving from a position as Director of Student Pathways and Careers, a post she has held at the Senior School since January 2015. In that role she co-piloted and successfully introduced the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP), which offers a more vocational style of learning, combining practical and academic skills. She also re-introduced work experience for year 10 pupils.
Mrs King said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed helping prepare our young people for life beyond school. I am now excited to be involved with those at the start of their learning journey with us. We are so fortunate to be part of a wider spectacular classroom, we are literally in the middle of an incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the many jewels, in its fabulous crown, and seen from school is lake Windermere. Last week our Year 6 pupils spent five days canoeing, cycling, walking and climbing their way around it, how amazing is that? We also have our own Forest School in the grounds. The skills and experience gained here are as important as classroom learning and we want to meld them together and do much more.
“I also want to build on our unique position as the only school in the UK to be a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Championship Training Centre and a recognised centre for British Youth Sailing. It means pupils could be part of the British Sailing Teams, and learn many life skills along the way. We are also a British Canoeing Training Centre.”
Julie King is also quick to point out that she will be looking to take the curriculum outdoors, as she explained: “Geography becomes real, and science is linked to the preservation of the environment and conservation. I also want to strengthen the links with the community and we already share our facilities with a number of local schools.”
Julie King is looking forward to working with a talented staff team and building on progress which has been made under Rachael Thomas.
Before taking a summer break with her husband, the principal of the British International School Lagos, Julie will be showing prospective pupils around school and overseeing renovations. They include giving the classrooms a link of new paint, a non-toxic one developed by Lakeland Paints, to help those who suffer a reaction from standard paints.
Mrs King is keen for parents to see the school in action, although many visit the school in summer holidays. She said: “I would encourage people to come and see us, including grandparents who often fund a place, on our Open Day which is on Friday 13 September.
When not at work Mrs King, who is from Scotland and who lives on site, enjoys taking her two dogs for walks and spending time at her home in France.