Meet the Principal: Carrie Senior, Principal of Harris Girls' Academy East Dulwich
"Education gave me opportunities that my parents could never have afforded and my grandparents could never have dreamed of."
I was the first in my family to go to university, and I wanted to contribute towards helping other young people transform their lives. I see education as a ‘virtuous circle’; it opens up new avenues for you, which enables you to give something back to the community that helped to shape you.
Other motivations behind my decision to teach were my love of my subject of history and the developing adolescent mind – which, despite nearly 18 years in education, remains a source of wonder and mystery!
I have worked with Harris for nearly six years, initially as Vice Principal of Harris Academy Greenwich. I saw the academy through its transformation from special measures to outstanding, and was involved in setting up its thriving sixth form, which started off with six students and now has more than 200. I was appointed Principal of Harris Girls’ Academy East Dulwich in June 2016, and have also delivered NPQSL on behalf of the Teaching School. This has given me the opportunity to work not only with senior staff from across the Federation, but also with senior leaders from all over London.
I have been fortunate to have grown my career in hardworking schools that are committed to helping students to be successful, with an emphasis on being caring and compassionate with children. In these senses, Harris is no different.
What I think makes the Federation stand out is the strength of its leadership, thanks to the culture of tremendously high expectations of pupils and staff. This is true across all levels of leadership, from pastoral and subject leadership in the schools themselves, to the consultants, teaching school leaders and senior teams.
Professional development is another very positive aspect of life at Harris – it’s an enormous network of great people with expertise in all aspects of education, and tremendously supportive of development for all, from trainee to executive principal. There is an enormous variety of schools and all have different strengths and cultures, so there are a range of places in which to find your ‘fit’.
At Harris Girls’ Academy East Dulwich, we combine an absolutely forensic approach to achievement and progress with genuine compassion and care, and a social conscience that sees our girls give back to their community and to those less fortunate than themselves all over the world.
If you want to work here, you need to be wholly committed to your own development: know your stuff, reflect on your practice and always seek to improve it, whatever your role and however much experience you have. You should be compassionate and caring, but know the difference between a reason and an excuse; and you should care deeply about children, using your ambition for them to help them shape their future.