We’ve been getting to know Claremont School’s new Principal, Severine Collins

What excites you most about joining Claremont School?

Claremont’s principles align with my own belief that every child is an individual who needs to be nurtured, developed and challenged to become the best they can be. The young people who will shape our future need to be agile, empowered with a deep love of learning that enables them to take risks, be creative and innovative, solve complex problems and drive societal change. At Claremont pupils are given opportunities to improve their self-esteem in social contexts, teamwork and collaboration activities, sporting, performing, debating, musical performances… the list is endless. Claremont is the ideal setting for young people to thrive and achieve their dreams, and I feel privileged to have joined the team.

What do you most enjoy about being a Principal?

Working with young people. Their creativity, their thirst for knowledge and for a brighter future is contagious. You have to work hard to achieve success, and I am honoured to be supporting them in developing those attributes.

What are the greatest challenges of the role?

An African proverb rightly states, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together”. I much prefer to make decisions through collaboration, allowing teamwork, creativity, and innovation to happen. I like to receive ideas and input from all, including students. I have a genuine interest in the achievements of others too, and I am a firm believer in professional development of all staff.

Tell us about your own school days. 

I am a French national and did all my schooling in France, including university, before I came to the UK to do a degree. Languages were my thing but I used to think I couldn’t do maths., thankfully my maths teacher was amazing, she explained that arithmetic is actually another form of language, it made such a difference. I went on to study Artificial Intelligence at Sussex University. Programming computers to do what humans do using their intelligence was yet another form of language, but it also taught me so much about the human brain. It was absolutely fascinating. 

Did you always want to go into education?

Always! It is such a humbling experience knowing that you are equipping young people with key personal characteristics, attributes to positively impact their local, national and international communities. I am also a passionate supporter of new technologies and how they enhance learning so I did a Masters Degree at Kings University in ICT and e-learning.

How do you relax away from work?

I spend time with my family, my dog, go to the gym or go swimming, cook and socialise. During holidays I like to travel and see my family in France, or I will go hiking or visit galleries, museums and historical houses. But my big passion is DIY and interior design. I love looking for a bargain, vintage furniture or decorative objects, and like to upcycle tired pieces. 

What are your hopes for the year ahead?

I first want to get to know everyone and understand their views. Being surrounded by gifted professionals who realise the vision we uphold for our young people is what gets me out of bed every morning.


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