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September 21st 2018

60 seconds with Mr Henderson, Deputy Head (Academic)

From a London orchestra and music publisher to Deputy Head, Steven Henderson tells us all about himself.

Tell us about yourself

A lot of very committed professionals work hard to help our girls to achieve their many successes. My role is to make sure everyone can do their best work so that each girl excels herself academically.

Tell us about your career path.

I started at Blackheath High School at the start of this term – just in time for the unveiling of the new senior school. I have been teaching girls for 21 years in a range of schools, teaching boys as well for most of that time. After university I worked for a London orchestra and a music publisher as well as doing some professional singing work. Before coming to Blackheath High School I led academic departments, was a Director of Music and then an Assistant Head in a boarding school in Nottingham. 

How does your previous experience benefit the school?

I have taught in a range of schools: state-maintained and independent schools; academically selective and less so; rural, urban, creative, sporty. I have seen the fundamental mechanics of effective learning working just about the same in different settings, but only the really special places achieve this with heart and spirit as well.

What do you like most about your job?

That’s easy. It’s the moment when a student suddenly sees the world from a whole new perspective. It is a phenomenal privilege to witness the brilliant work that our students and teachers do.

What makes working here at a school so rewarding and enjoyable?

The happy, kind, positive energy of the whole community, which is palpable.

What has been your biggest achievement as a teacher in a school?

A conductor makes no sound and must enable all the musicians to give their best. Others often point to orchestral and choral concerts I have conducted as big achievements, but these are easy to see. I think my bigger achievements have actually been behind the scenes, leading improvements so that everyone can achieve well academically – the less obvious things like school timetables, reports, assessment and feedback on learning.

What has been your biggest challenge as a teacher in a school?

Accepting that everything changes constantly in education. Once I understood this, being adaptable became a way of life. I became a better teacher when I realised that adaptability would be essential even if governments and exam boards were not regularly changing things. It is exciting that every child is an individual whose mind is growing and developing in unique ways all the time - and the world they are growing into is progressing and changing just as much.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

At the moment I am doing lots of DIY in my new home, but I am hoping to be able to get back to some cycling training soon and some singing and composing.

Tell us something surprising about yourself

I have been supporting Cheltenham Town FC since they joined the Football League in 1999.

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