We hear from the men and women at the front of the class about what inspired – and continues to inspire – them to take up teaching. Here’s the view from the staff room at Malvern St James Girls’ School


Joan Newby

Joan Newby (Director of Pastoral of Care)

What motivated you to take up teaching?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to teach. Right from the age of seven, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I was always good at cooking and loved food, so it was natural for me to go into teaching Food and Nutrition. At the time, it was a subject area that was changing so rapidly and I felt it was an area that needed its profile raising in schools – it’s so much broader than just cooking! In today’s society with fad diets, rising obesity levels, allergens and eating disorders, there has never been a greater need for children to learn the importance of a balanced diet.

I love the changing nature of teaching; it’s such a dynamic environment to work in and no two days are ever the same. I have worked at Malvern St James (MSJ) for over 14 years and it’s thrilling to see the progress we have made in our teaching, learning experience and facilities in this time.

What brought you to and keeps you at your school?
I firmly believe in the importance of a good education and am passionate about girls’ education. MSJ has a fantastic reputation for high quality, innovative teaching and our girls are happy, focused and thrive here. There’s a real ‘home from home’ community feel and I could feel this as soon as I stepped foot into the School. The School is located in the beautiful country town of Malvern and the setting is so picturesque. I felt it was the perfect career move for me – and I have loved working here ever since.

My current role as Director of Pastoral Care means I am responsible for the wellbeing, welfare and safeguarding of our girls. Education is constantly evolving at a national level and I need to ensure MSJ is always ahead of the game. Being able to work in an environment that is so forward-thinking but also caring, is fantastic and really motivating.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job and its biggest challenge?
In terms of challenges, it would be ‘keeping up’! The technology girls are now using on a daily basis can change, and although social media is fantastic for keeping in touch, it can also have a sinister side. I need to ensure MSJ is abreast of technological developments to keep our girls safe.

I love getting to know each girl. I work very closely with them to ensure they feel supported and get the best out of their time here. Their wellbeing is so important. At MSJ, we treat each girl as an individual and she receives a bespoke learning experience as a result. We ensure our girls are in the best possible position to be ready for university or a career, and that in itself is really rewarding.