We chat to Emma Károlyi, Head of Junior King’s, about her journey to becoming leader of the school

What inspired you to teach? 

I always wanted to make a difference to others and allow my creativity to flourish. The enthusiastic energy of the children inspires me, and I try to remember how it felt to be their age. If adults harnessed the same joy and openness as pupils, imagine the difference in life.

What do you enjoy most about working in education?

The people – pupils, parents and colleagues. Education is always about finding how others tick and seeking the best in them. I feel proud to watch the pupils who leave the Junior School continue to flourish across the Senior School and beyond.

How do you unwind outside work?

I need to be creative. This year, I am teaching myself embroidery and have set myself the challenge of making an embroidered calendar, with an icon for every day of the year. I love playing my viola, but don’t get to do it nearly enough.

What is your favourite memory from your own school days?

Apart from meeting my husband in sixth form, I remember most warmly my prep school and my inspirational Head; she knew and valued every pupil, found their strengths, and fostered a real love of learning in us all.  

If you could teach anyone from history, who would it be?

There are plenty of historical people I would have liked to have been taught by myself, from Marcus Aurelius onwards. There are plenty of prominent people on the world stage who would benefit from the liberal and caring education at Junior King’s, but for whom it is too late.  

How does Junior King’s equip its pupils for the future?

Junior King’s pupils leave us with a love of learning, modesty, a deep-seated empathy and kindness for others and the skills to make the world a better place.  

What has been your proudest achievement?

Watching my own children flourish and become lovely adults, which assures me that I am doing the right thing for all the children at Junior King’s.  

How does the school’s impressive heritage influence life today at Junior King’s?

Junior King’s is steeped in history, in its ethos, buildings, and early founders. The children are part of a school that has been in Canterbury since the 6th century, yet we are forward-looking, constantly changing, and enriching ourselves with the modern world, while deeply respecting our heritage.  

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