Life & Living

Meet the Headteacher

Norwich High School for Girls

Alison Sefton joined Norwich High School for Girls as the Head in September 2020.

Can you tell us about your background?

I have enjoyed a very varied career path – finance in City banks to chemistry teaching and leadership in independent schools via a short stint serving with the Territorial Army in Iraq. I am passionate about ensuring girls and young women are given opportunities to thrive and succeed, preparing students for life beyond school where the road to
success is not always straight. I have
been supported and guided by wonderful mentors and I now cherish my position where I can mentor and champion our students, as well as my colleagues to succeed by setting themselves ambitious goals.

What is Norwich High School for Girls like?

Building confidence, aspiration and resilience is at the heart of what we do as a school. Norwich High School for Girls is a very warm place, where each individual is known and supported. As well as a full programme of music, drama and sport, we facilitate over 100 clubs and extra-curricular activities – from F24 racing
to debating, robotics and the Model United Nations. 

Can you tell us a fun fact?

We have two school dogs: Casper, a yellow Labrador, in the Senior School, and Bailey, a Daschund, in the Prep School. There are lots of benefits including reducing stress, offering staff and students a good reason to go for a lunchtime stroll amongst our woodland grounds and enhancing the family-feel of our school.

City of Norwich School

Jo Philpott, Headteacher at City of Norwich School, an Ormiston Academy

What brought you to Norfolk and CNS? 

I trained in Reading in 1991/2 and moved to Norfolk for my first teaching job at Hellesdon High School.  I had no intention of staying in Norfolk long-term, but I fell in love with the county and chose to raise my family here.  My specialism in teaching and learning, and involvement in publishing and post 16 pedagogy whilst at Dereham Neatherd, led me to look for post 16 opportunities.  This brought me to CNS as deputy Headteacher in charge of sixth form under Jim Nixon.  Jim retired in 2017 and I was very privileged to be appointed as his replacement. 

What are you most proud of during your time as Headteacher?

I have so many things to be proud of! The fact that this is my first headship, and I was trusted to be given CNS is just breath-taking.  I’m only the eighth headteacher in 112 years, testament to the school’s longevity and stability.  I’m also incredibly proud of what we have achieved this year following the pandemic.  However, I am most proud of the opportunities we have created, both for the children and staff, through the multiple partnerships we have developed. 

What do you like doing in your spare time? 

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.  I read a lot, and when I am not reading, I am out walking.  I’ve walked the majority of the Norfolk Coastal Path which I aim to complete at some point. 

What is your favourite place in Norfolk? 

I think that depends on many things; what kind of mood you are in and what the season is.  However, Brancaster and Brancaster Staithe are my go-to places and the walk from Brancaster through to Holkham is just beautiful. 

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