18 December 2023
St James Senior Girls’ School proudly reflects on a vibrant first term under the leadership of Ms Emma Bell, the new Headmistress. Emma, who assumed her role in September, has infused the school community with enthusiasm and innovation, underpinned by a profound commitment to the institution’s core values.
Describing her first term as “an absolute joy, if something of a whirlwind,” Emma expressed heartfelt gratitude for the warm and open-hearted welcome extended by the St James community. Emphasizing the school motto, “Speak the Truth, Live Generously, and Aim for the Best,” Emma highlighted the collective dedication of pupils, teachers, support staff, parents, and carers toward upholding these values.
From participating in fascinating discussions with Year 7 during Philosophy lessons, being challenged to compete in Maths challenges and to dropping into Drama lessons to enjoy Year 11’s GCSE coursework workshop performance, Emma has immersed herself in the school’s vibrant academic life. Impressed by pupils’ poise and commitment to the school, Emma reflects, “After sharing a podium with pupils during key events, I am incredibly inspired by their ability to speak from the heart about their school experiences and why St James is important to them.”
Looking ahead, Emma outlined ambitious plans to implement a comprehensive Digital Transformation Strategy in collaboration with St James Preparatory School, and St James Senior Boys’ School. This initiative aims to leverage cutting-edge educational technology and in Emma’s words, “extend our ability to open hearts and minds to the world around us.” She looks forward to being able to update the community on the progress soon in preparation for September 2024.
Additionally, Emma emphasised the importance of empowering students to lead initiatives that matter to them and the wider world. The school is strengthening its existing pupil-led platforms, such as the School Council, prefect and mentor systems, pastoral groups, and pupil-led clubs. It is also extending leadership opportunities to Year 10 and 11 through vertical House leadership and groups focused on critical issues such as sustainability and community action.
A key initiative, the “Explore Your Future: Experience Your Future” programme, led by the Head of Careers in collaboration with the Development and Alumnae office, aims to provide pupils not only with information, advice and guidance, but also meaningful interaction with employers and ongoing mentoring opportunities. Emma says, “as we extend this programme further, it will form the bedrock of our Futures programme, providing a coherent pathway from Year 7 to Year 13 and beyond.”
As St James Senior Girls’ School looks toward the future, Emma’s dynamic leadership promises a continued journey of holistic growth, empowerment, and academic excellence for the entire community.