One of North Yorkshire’s leading independent prep schools has appointed a new headmistress.
Sophia Ashworth Jones will join Harrogate’s Belmont Grosvenor School in September 2018 following the early retirement of current headteacher Jane Merriman at the end of the academic year.
Originally from Harrogate, Sophia is looking forward to returning to the town and joining co-educational Belmont Grosvenor School, set in 20-acres of grounds at Swarcliffe Hall, Birstwith, and building on its recent Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) inspection which rated the prep school and nursery as both ‘excellent’ and ‘outstanding’.
“I am joining Belmont Grosvenor School at a very exciting time and I am delighted to have been appointed to lead this wonderful school and take it forward into its next chapter,” said Sophia.
“The recent ISI inspection, which rated BGS as both excellent and outstanding, the top gradings across the board, is a wonderful platform from which to build – I hope to bring my experience to enhance what is already here and work with pupils, staff and parents to take this exceptional co-educational prep school forward,” she said. “I could feel how much the children loved their school and was really impressed by the facilities and the amount on offer to keep pupils stimulated and challenged. The benefits of being just a few miles from the town centre, yet in an area of outstanding natural beauty, make the situation even more special. I know from experience that attaining all-round excellence, building a broad and exciting curriculum and achieving outstanding progress is only possible when children are secure and happy and feel safe and appreciated in their setting.”
Sophia, who is married with three children, brings a wealth of experience to BGS which includes four headships over a 16-year period.
As Head of Leeds Grammar School Junior School, she helped plan its evolution into The Grammar School at Leeds between 2002-2008 before moving out of the area to run a large free-sanding co-educational prep school. Following a period working in Melbourne, Australia, Sophia is currently Head of The Falcons School for Girls (3 – 11 years), in London.
She is very much looking forward to moving back to her home town of Harrogate, and bringing up her children, Leonora, 11, and twins Sonny and Athena, 7, in a more rural environment.
“As a family we love being outdoors and are really looking forward to getting out into the Dales. My parents, brother, sister and father-in-law are here in Harrogate, and we are all really excited about living here again and enjoying a healthy and balanced way of life,” said Sophia, whose husband Andy is Head of Maths at St Paul’s School in London.
Over the coming months, Sophia will be spending time at Belmont Grosvenor School alongside current headteacher Mrs Merriman, who has been at the helm for 13 years and was instrumental in the development of it’s Magic Tree Nursery, which opened up the school to pupils from three months.