image of Evelyn Forde

Movers and Shakers | Evelyn Forde | Headteacher | Copthall School

Evelyn Forde is the headteacher of Copthall School, a high-performing, multi-cultural girls school based in North London.

Tell us about your current job responsibilities,  do you have a typical day, week, month, or quarter?

I have a student body of nearly a 1000 students and 140 staff, no day is typical! However, my role is to have the strategic oversight of the school ensuring we have the right systems and structures in place so that the school remains a well led, safe and aspirational environment

What were the key decision points that were important in deciding your career path?

My own education journey which was not great. I left school with no qualifications and the system failed me so I was determined that not just my own children had a different experience but everyone’s children.

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

I love my students! They are great young women, eager to learn and keen to do well. I love my job and the difference my school is making to students life chances.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work? What strategies have you developed for tackling that challenge?

This question is being asked during COVID19 so the challenges are immense.
The demands of managing a school physically and remotely has been the hardest piece of work I have ever had to do. I am fortunate that I have a great Senior Team, Staff body and Governors so together we have tackled the challenges and done really well!

What has been the most defining moment in your career to date?

Great question! I think when the school got a Good Ofsted in 2018, two years after my arrival, which was no mean feat.

What’s been the best piece of career advice you have ever received? And who was it from?

Take a seat at the table, even when you are not invited and speak up as sometimes it is easy for people to ignore you. This was from a leadership coach

Away from your work role what are your passions?

My children, grand-daughter, cycling and Yoga

What are the 3 (professional or personal) books/websites/ or resources
that you would recommend to others?

Any book by Maya Angelou

Chinua Achebe – ‘When things fall apart.

Caryl Philips ‘Crossing the River’

What do you know now, that you wish you had known as you started your career?

How important networking is.
I’ve grown as a person, learnt so much and been fortunate to have so many wise people in my life through the connections I have made and maintained.

Do you have any advice for women entering your industry?

For black teachers wanting to become Senior Leaders my advice is not to give up. Do not allow yourself to be overlooked – take the seat at the table that you
may not have been invited to.

If you weren’t in this role what would have been your alternative career?

A detective. I like things to have an outcome, seeing things through to its conclusion. I love crime series!

You can connect with Evelyn @evelynforde1

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