May 31, 2018
Michael Tippett will formally take up the role of head atNewcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) in September, following a rigorous application process.
He becomes the first ever male head teacher in the 140-year history of the school and its predecessor schools – Central High and Church High.
His appointment was announced by Cheryl Giovannoni, CEO of the Girls’ Day School Trust, the family of 25 schools to which NHSG belongs.
Cheryl described Michael as a “true champion of girls’ education, committed to ensuring that every girl makes maximum progress and develops into a confident and adventurous young woman, well prepared to become one of the leaders of the future in every possible sense”.
Michael, 47, has 16 years of senior management experience, and has held the role of senior deputy head at NHSG since it was formed in 2014, following the merger of Central High and Church High.
He is looking forward to using his extensive experience and knowledge of the school to steer and drive NHSG forward. Here, we ask him more about his new role and plans for the future.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
Continuing to work with staff, girls and the wider school community to shape the school and the educational experience it delivers for the benefit of the girls now and into the future. I am also excited by the prospect of working more closely with my colleagues from the Girls’ Day School Trust to deliver stimulating educational experiences for girls across the UK in a supportive and dynamic teaching environment.
How do you feel about being the first man to lead Newcastle High School for Girls?
I am tremendously proud to be the first male head of Newcastle High. I am aware of the privilege this affords me and am grateful for the opportunity as well as being both excited and ready to get started.
I also feel the time is right to have a male head of an all girls’ school – in education, as in all walks of life, we need more men championing gender equality. Men make up 50 per cent and we need to demand equality for the other 50 per cent; equality means equality.
Do you intend to take NHSG in a different direction?
As one of the schools of the Girls’ Day School Trust, Newcastle High will continue to follow the same ethos and values as our family of schools: we put the girls first in all that we do; we are forward thinking; we encourage girls to be fearless.
Naturally, we will continue to evolve and build on the excellent reputation we hold in the region. To evolve and grow, however, you need to adapt and change. We are constantly striving to make improvements so that we equip pupils with the skills to be adaptable and to embrace change, key skills that they will need for the world in which we live now and in the future.
Where do you see NHSG in five years’ time?
I envisage a stronger, more consolidated Newcastle High, one performing extremely well academically – and in all external measures such as league tables. Although league tables don’t adequately reflect the added value girls gain from being at NHSG, we will work to ensure that our results continue to be among the best in the region.
I also see the school continuing to be the happy, supportive, challenging yet nurturing environment that it currently is, characterised by strong, purposeful relationships between all members of the school community; staff and pupils, staff and parents, staff and staff.
What are the challenges facing girls’ education in the North East and how will NHSG deal with them?
The fact that we are a single sex school for girls is one of our greatest strengths, with the educational experience we offer uniquely tailored to the needs of girls right the way through from age three to 18.
In the current climate, where gender equality is still being fought for, there is a crucial role for a school such as NHSG to give girls the strength, skills and confidence to challenge inequality wherever they encounter it. In that respect being ‘girls only’ is something we are very proud of and it is something which will help us deal with other challenges as they arise. Many of these challenges relate to the changing educational landscape, with the new qualifications at GCSE and A Level still bedding in. Our curriculum is broad and balanced and will need to be continually reviewed to ensure we are offering the girls the best possible preparation, not just for these new qualifications but also for life.