There is a joke about Headship that goes like this: Who runs the school when the Head is away? The answer is: The same people who run it when she is there! Although not 100% accurate, a school is very much a team. I may have my hand on the tiller of HMS St Christopher’s, but I depend on the crew in the Engine Room: our Administrative Team.
It says a lot about my job that it actually takes two people to keep me organised! Mrs Charlie Moore and Mrs Karen Walsh are my Head’s PAs. Karen joined the admin team last year whilst Charlie was busy with baby Olivia. She does all that she does for me alongside being part of the Newsletter Team, handling all the Commendations and House Points for the week, the most anticipated part of Celebration Assembly. Charlie’s job runs in the family, with her mother in law serving many years in the role for three of my predecessors. She is also responsible for organising school events; if you enjoyed a glass from the Prosecco Cart at the Summer Concert, you have her to thank.
The Office, best described as the Front Line, is maintained by a pair who can react instantly to everything from a nosebleed to a VIP guest, whilst simultaneously answering the phone, opening the gate, checking the Absences, and a million and one other things. Mrs Lisa Hammond and Mrs Sarah Sherwood are the true embodiment of the line “If you can keep your head when all about you…”. Sarah is a stickler for grammar, spotting a split infinitive at fifty paces, and Lisa wears the medal as longest serving member of St Christopher’s staff, having served six Heads. They can solve just about any problem for you, but woe betide you borrow their stapler and don’t return it.
Working from an office that an estate agent would label “compact yet functional”, Mrs Natasha Everard, affectionately known as Reg to many, is our School Registrar. She is often the first person you will speak to on your St Christopher’s journey as a parent, and she is always there to calm nerves when new pupils take their first steps through the red gates. Having seen her three sons through St Christopher’s, she is ideally placed to explain to visitors who we are and what we are about.
Mr Chris Holt is fond of hats and, metaphorically, wears many of them whilst being our longest serving teacher. He is my Director of Communications, keeping you connected to the life of our school via photography, video, our Twitter and Facebook posts, the weekly Newsletter, and the Yearbook – our latest edition goes to the printers next week.
Mrs Lucy Berrett is the newest member of the Admin Team as Head of External Marketing, making sure we are visible to the wider world. She oversaw the gestation of our splendid new website, and runs our Instagram account.
Finally, every time you read in the Newsletter that we have raised £434.17p for charity via a bucket collection on Own Clothes Day, every single one of those pennies (and stray Euros) will have been painstakingly counted and then banked by Mrs Christine Patching, our Assistant Bursar. Much as life as a parent involves dealing with constant requests for new toys and keeping an eye on how children are spending their pocket money, Mrs Patching does much the same for our Heads of Department and class teachers. Chris is the perfect example of someone whose expertise and experience behind the scenes make a real difference to the day to day running of the school. Emails such as “Hi Chris, I want to make bird feeders with my class this week, can you order me two kilos of lard, some string, and assorted seeds (no sesame for allergens) to arrive BY THURSDAY, please?” are handled with precision and grace.
Ms Elizabeth Lyle, Head