Like all our Housemistresses, Sarah Barnard wears several hats – she combines teaching History at both GCSE and A Level with her role advising an increasing number of girls on overseas university applications and of course runs Tedworth House – one of our five Upper School Houses. The old adage of ‘if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it’ certainly applies to Sarah!
Having studied Modern History at St Andrew’s University, Sarah began her career at St Leonards School in Fife as an Assistant Housemistress and History teacher. Following a stint at St Mary’s in Wantage, Sarah joined Downe House in 2005 as a full-time History teacher and within a few years, she also became the Overseas University Co-ordinator to support the rapidly increasing number of girls looking to study abroad for the next phase of their education. Sarah took on the role of Housemistress of Tedworth in 2014 and currently teaches History to the Lower Fourth, Lower Fifth and Upper Sixth girls.
Sarah said, “I think that it is so good for the girls to see that you have an intellectual curiosity and also work as an academic member of staff. I very much enjoy engaging the girls in discussions about current affairs and run history revision sessions around exam time to help them with their studies. Being a teacher and housemistress gives me an invaluable 360° view of the girls’ lives which helps me to understand and support them so much better, regardless of whether we are talking through their exam results and GCSE options or having a chat about friendship issues.
I encourage all the girls to have a ‘can-do’ attitude and the girls know that I expect them all to have a go at everything and to be respectful of one another’s efforts. It is very important in a full boarding community that we look after one another and being kind is fundamental. I would describe my approach to the girls as ‘consistent, firm and always fair’ and I wholly subscribe to the notion of ‘tidy house, tidy mind’ which I think helps girls to be organised and focused.
Alongside my Assistant Housemistress, Miss Stubbings, and team of matrons we work hard to create a warm family atmosphere and strong house spirit in Tedworth and encourage girls to live their school life to the full.”
Each House has a motto and Tedworth’s is ‘Ubuntu’, an ancient African word which means ‘a quality that includes the essential human virtues; compassion and humanity’. These are wonderful virtues that Sarah and her team of matrons encourage the girls to live by.
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