Worth was last week delighted to welcome new Deputy Head (Academic), Mrs Alice McNeill.
Mrs McNeill has joined the School from Bedales, where she was Director of Studies and also led the school’s partnerships and outreach programme. Before that, she was Head of Christian Theology and Assistant Head of Sixth Form at Ampleforth College.
In this Q&A, Mrs McNeill talks about why she is delighted to join Worth, her key goals for the role and how she wants to build further on the School’s strong academic reputation.
What attracted you to Worth?
Worth is a school I have long admired. It combines the best of all worlds. It has a bold vision for education, it strives for every pupil to excel academically, whilst also having a strong community focus where pupils can feel a real sense of belonging. I want to be part of a school that combines tradition and innovation; which has a very strong tradition but is constantly looking to innovate. That is exactly what I have found here at Worth.
What do you see as the key aspects of your role?
I am lucky enough to lead a team of truly inspirational teachers. I have a huge amount to learn from them. I believe that all teachers should be students in that they are constantly learning new methods of teaching and more about their subjects. I have been a teacher for 15 years now and I learn so much more about my subject every year. I think as teachers we need to show our pupils that learning is a life-long and wonderful pursuit which sustains you throughout life; it does not end at 18!
What are your goals as Deputy Head (Academic)?
My main goals are firstly, to ensure that the curriculum is personalised so that each pupil feels that they are being guided on their own individual journey as part of the supportive Worth community. Secondly, I want to ensure there is a creative and innovative cross-curriculum with opportunities for project-based learning from Year 7 to Year 13. There is already much in place, from Austin House’s Young Enterprise, to the EPQ in the Sixth Form. This needs to be built on so that we can offer even more opportunities for pupils to bring their learning to life. Thirdly, I want to ensure that pupils’ experience is future-focused. Especially in these times, we need to have our eyes on the horizon and be excited about what we can achieve, both individually and as a community. As a Catholic school, it is vital that service is part of our vision and hence I want pupils to be inspired to become agents for change through servant leadership both whilst at school and in their lives as Worthians.
Worth has a strong academic reputation. How important is it to maintain and build on this?
I am very excited to join Worth at this time as its academic reputation is taking off. Worth pupils are achieving fantastic results due to their hard work and dedication, but also due to hard work and dedication of their teachers. What has struck me since joining is how determined everyone is for pupils to succeed and to not to settle for anything less than their best. That is inspiring.