We are delighted to announce the appointment of Kathryn de Ferrer, Anita Hempenius and Jenny Wragg to the school’s Senior Leadership Team in the roles of Vice Principal, Inclusion Manager and Lower School Lead. All three bring extensive experience and expertise to their respective roles. In their recruitment processes they all demonstrated a clear alignment with Wynstones’ commitment to a progressive and professional Waldorf education, with equally clear contributions to the will and insight that this growing community is gathering.
Brief introductions to their backgrounds are included below with further welcomes forthcoming in future weeks.
Our next rounds of recruitment will be for our Kindergarten Team and Chinese Teacher over March/April, Class Teachers in May and Subject Teachers and Learning Support Tutors in June.
From three generations of educators, Kathryn resisted the call to teach for a long time, but after many years in business and journalism, along with a BA and MA in Theatre Arts, she finally gave in and retrained as a Drama Teacher when her three children were young. As Head of Drama at a large comprehensive school it was through a gradual expansion of duties that she realised her heart lay with the pastoral side of education and she subsequently served several years as a Head of House then Deputy Head Pastoral at a girls’ boarding school. Her pastoral experience has meant she is hugely accomplished in supporting children and their families through a wide range of problems and issues and she has spent more than a decade leading safeguarding teams.
Kathryn is also a trained civil, commercial and SEND mediator, shaping her leadership style to be collaborative and responsive, ensuring everyone feels heard and empowered. Her master’s dissertation was on the importance of theatre during times of crisis, with a specific focus on the period of the Second World War. She has remained a researcher throughout her career and her doctoral studies to date have concerned the impact of progressive education on children’s self-esteem, particularly focussing on the pedagogies of the Green Schools both in Bali and New Zealand.
Kathryn says: “I am very enthusiastic at the opportunity to be part of the re-launch of a school which focuses on creative, personalised learning, with the child at its heart. From my experience as a mother, teacher and governor, I know that there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to education; it is this understanding which has driven me towards progressive schooling, and why I am excited to be working at Wynstones.”
In her spare time, she enjoys marathon kayaking and trains for and competes (very slowly) in ultra-marathons and other long-distance events, having taken part in multi-day races in the UK, Iceland, Nepal, Morocco and the Arctic Circle.
Anita has a strong commitment to and extensive experience in supporting children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. As SENDCo at Michael Hall Steiner Waldorf School (in Forest Row) between 2015 and 2019 she championed and upheld inclusivity in the school’s provision as well as teaching on the Heart of Teaching and the Align for Learning teacher training courses.
More recently Anita has designed and piloted an outdoors Other than School provision in Pembrokeshire and helped clarify the vision and future aims of a small intentional community that is working towards becoming a therapeutic educational centre.
Her educational background includes a BSc (Hons) Environmental Science from Sussex University in which she researched the effect of encroaching housing and coastal gardens on vegetated shingle (an internationally rare habitat).
Anita also has a Teaching as an Art award from Emerson College, together with qualifications in Align for Learning from SWASEND, Postgraduate Achievement in Assessment for Access Arrangements from Communicate-Ed, and Simply ADHD and Personal Transformations from the ADD Coach Academy. She is also a Welsh Mental Health First Aider, and is currently working on a double certificate programme in Permaculture Design and Social Permaculture.
Anita says: “I am super excited to be part of Wynstones. I believe that true equality in education comes by changing the environment to suit the child, rather than trying to change the child to suit the environment. This allows the child to flourish and removes artificial obstacles to their learning. I don’t believe in limits. I believe in growth.”
She loves modern jive and salsa. Her other hobbies cycle around and variously include writing, rollerblading, photography, art and handwork, as well as occasional outliers like wolf tracking for a biodiversity study.
Jenny has worked in Steiner Waldorf and mainstream education in the UK since the early 2000s. She taught at the Moray Steiner School (near Inverness) for five years before joining the team at the Steiner Academy Exeter in 2013. Whilst at Exeter Jenny led teacher education programmes, was a member of the Senior Leadership Team, lectured on the WESTT course and worked with colleagues on forming a curriculum map and assessment framework across the school, and naming and sharing in accessible language the principles of Steiner Waldorf education.
With an undergraduate degree in Geography from Leeds University, Jenny holds Qualified Teacher Status, has a PGCE (also from Leeds), Steiner Waldorf Teacher Training from Emerson College, and a Masters Diploma in Steiner Education from Canterbury Christ Church University.
Jenny’s undergraduate dissertation explored what the data from ice cores can tell us about climate change, and her subject expertise has been central to her teaching of geography up to Class 9. As a class and subject teacher in Steiner Waldorf schools she has taken classes through from Class 1 to Class 7, combined classes from 1/2 to 4/5 as well as being a subject teacher of Geography, Drama and English in Middle School.
Jenny says: “I believe that my ethos and principles of teaching are fully in line with that of Wynstones and look forward to being part of the team and community helping to shape and foster the futures of these young people and those to come.”
Her passions beyond education are singing, painting, crochet and being a mum.
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