“The year just keeps getting better and better,” said Bee Hughes, Headmistress at The Maynard School in Exeter, as she quietly reflects upon winning Teacher of the Year at the recent Pride of Exeter Awards 2015. “I was surprised to even be nominated and never expected in a million years that I would win! I was gobsmacked when they called out my name and then slightly concerned because I hadn’t even put any thought to an acceptance speech!”
Ms Hughes has worked tirelessly since her appointment in 2009 and, despite her protestations, being handed this award was a worthy recognition of all the achievements she has spearheaded at the school this year. The Maynard School goes from strength to strength and is even expanding in September 2016 when it will open a new pre-prep department for girls aged four–seven years to satisfy demand.
Bee continues: “It really has been an incredible year and I have all my amazing staff and wonderful pupils to thank for putting The Maynard in the spotlight. This wasn’t an individual prize for me alone – it is one that the whole team has contributed to and I just happened to be the figurehead who got to stand up on the night and receive the award on behalf of everyone.”
In 2015 the Maynard School clocked an impressive set of A-level results, putting it in the top 30 schools in the country, according to Telegraph league tables, and it was also voted as one of the top ten best value independent schools nationally, also by the Telegraph. “But our most impressive achievement, and one that I’m not sure any other school in the country can boast, is that for the first time ever 100% of our girls were offered places at their top university choice. I think that it is fair to say that, on these statistics alone, we have outperformed every school in the region.”
This year, 100% of Maynard girls were offered their top university place
When asked what can be attributed to the school’s overriding success, Ms Hughes could reel off an impressive number of factors. “The Maynard has been the independent girls’ school in the South West for many years and we have always been near the top of the league tables for our exam results. But we also take pride in challenging our girls by taking them out of their comfort zones and giving them the inner confidence to succeed in all arenas.
“Our Extension Studies Programme, designed to diversify away from the curriculum, includes car maintenance courses through to critical thinking and no one student is ever pigeon holed as a “type”. We pride ourselves in providing our girls a choice of first class opportunities in a friendly and supportive environment where they are encouraged to take on the unfamiliar.”
“Building assurance into everything they do is key and we are particularly successful in this due to our small class sizes and family feel to the school. It’s a lovely place to learn but, for me as a Headmistress, it’s a great place to work and I am so lucky to be surrounded by such talent and warmth every working day!”