Meet the Head: an Interview with Charlotte Johnston

You may have met our Head Teacher, Charlotte Johnston, at our prep school open days, parents’ evenings and other school-based events; she’ll be present at most! You might even catch up with her regular Head’s Blog via our website and social media, but you don’t always get the chance to ask her about her background, interests and hobbies, what inspired her to become a teacher and what she thinks about St Peter’s. We managed to get some time from her busy schedule to ask her a few questions we thought you might like to know the answers to.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

Teaching has been in the family for a long time. (My aunt was Head of English; my grandmother and great-grandmother were Head Teachers). It was more a matter of when I would teach rather than deciding to teach. I love working with children, who I find inspiring, challenging and exciting to be around. As a teacher, you are making a difference to this generation and the next generation to come, which is a joyful thing. I was also inspired by some wonderful teachers from when I was at school.

Where else have you worked during your career?

I’ve worked at local primaries in St. Albans, at a large Prep school in Hertfordshire and before all that I was a Management Consultant in the City.

What subject do/did you teach?

English and Computing – a funny mix!

What is your favourite thing about working at St Peter’s?

The staff and the children. It is a very friendly, warm and kind place to work.

What do you love most about teaching and working with children?

Their funny stories and amazing enthusiasm for life.

What makes your school unique?

The exceptional pastoral care, quality of teaching and feeling of ‘fun’. We have our own ST PETER’S SCHOOL BACCALAUREATE® which ensures all children are treated as individuals and benefit from the National Curriculum and a whole lot more.

How important are extra-curricular activities to a child’s education?

Extremely. They give children the opportunity to try different things which might be different from what their family likes to do at home. At a prep school, it is perfectly possible for a child to play in the 1st XV for Rugby, get muddy and then go and play a cello in the orchestra.

What were you like as a child?

Surprisingly disorganised, quite arty and always found with my nose in a book.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

You don’t inspire your teammates by telling them how amazing you are. You inspire them by telling them how amazing they are.

What’s one thing you know now, you wish you knew when you were in school?

Try everything, even if you are unsure. You will never get so many opportunities again.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Play tennis, walk the dog on the Devon cliffs, surf, ski and read.

Where are your favourite places to visit near to the school?

Exmouth beach, Budleigh Salterton, Darts Farm and Topsham.

What are you most excited about for St Peter’s in 2018?

The development of the music tech facilities and the Performing Arts Room. We are expanding our drama and dance opportunities for the children as well as forming a new Outdoor Learning committee to ensure we make the most of our local area.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the school?

Creating a balance between opportunities and curriculum and not overloading ourselves!

Thanks to Charlotte for an insight into the life of a head teacher at one of the finest mixed boarding schools in Devon. Is there anything else you’d like to know about our head, or anything else? Let us know via our social media channels and we’ll endeavour to make sure we answer them in a future blog post!

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