Mayfield School announces ‘inspirational’ new headmistress ahead of exciting year
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The Catholic independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18 said Mrs Deborah Bligh will become headmistress from April 1.
They said she is currently Mayfield’s senior deputy head, having joined in September 2023 from St Richard’s Catholic College, where she was part of the senior management team for 18 years.
The announcement comes after the school’s previous headmistress Antonia Beary died last year after a long illness.
Deborah said: “I am thrilled to become the next Headmistress of Mayfield School. I would like to pay tribute to the incredible legacy of Antonia Beary, whose model of leadership is an example to us all. Since joining in September, I have felt very much at home in the school’s inclusive and welcoming environment. Mayfield’s catholic ethos and values of joy, compassion and generosity are close to my heart and help to foster a great relationship between staff and pupils, enabling everyone to excel.
“A key priority for me is to listen to the voice of the girls and parents alike. As a lifelong learner I passionately believe in the highest academic standards and being ambitious for every girl. I intend to maintain and build upon the rich tradition of the school and prepare, as our foundress said, ‘every girl to meet the needs of the age’.”
The school said Deborah studied Theology at the University of Durham and completed a Postgraduate in Education at Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge. The school added that she has an MA (Distinction) in Educational Leadership, a professional Headship qualification (NPQH), and as a lifelong learner, recently completed a Certificate in Advanced Mental Health School Leadership (Level 4).
Lady Davies of Stamford, chairman of Governors, said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce Deborah Bligh as Mayfield’s next Headmistress. She was the unanimous choice of the selection panel. Having already proved her leadership qualities as senior deputy head since joining in September, she will, I’m sure, prove to be an inspirational Headmistress in the years to come.
“We have an exciting year ahead as we look forward to the opening of our new Health and Wellbeing Centre, which reflects the vital importance we place on the wellbeing of our school community. Mayfield recently celebrated its 150th Anniversary and, as we look forward to the next 150 years, Cornelia Connelly’s vision of educating girls to respond to the needs of the age remains as relevant as ever. The governing body will be working with Deborah and our excellent senior team to prepare the school for its next chapter to ensure many more generations of Mayfield students, free from stereotyping, fulfil their potential and develop the skills and confidence to make a difference in the world.”
Jonathan Forster, Mayfield’s Interim Head said: “It’s a huge honour to have been Mayfield’s Interim Head and I very much look forward to working with Deborah to ensure a smooth transition of leadership. The school will be in good hands under her superb leadership. The sense of community at Mayfield really is very special and I will look back with great fondness on my time here.”