Alice (1994-2001) is Academic Director of Middle School (Years 9-11) of a girls’ school. She says, “Never underestimate the power of an all-female education.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think back to your years at The Mount? 
Alice Barrett

My friends and some of my most inspiring teachers, especially Sally Hebron and Rosemary McEvoy. And also the absolutely beautiful setting!

What is your fondest memory of The Mount? 

This is a very hard question! I have so many many: playing tennis on the grass courts on long summer afternoons, catching up with friends at tea, organising the school bonfire in Year 11, being in the Joint Production in Year 12, playing at Amnesty International concerts. Interviewing Judi Dench for Tramlines magazine. What a wonderful woman!

How important an influence has the Quaker ethos been to you? 

The Quaker ethos has had a life long impact on me. I am not religious, but its fundamental tenets of equality and compassion are extremely important to me. I passionately believe in equality for all and particularly care about championing women’s rights. I work in the school I currently do as I believe so firmly in modelling success, leadership and believing you can do anything to girls and young women. One of my closest friends from university is a Quaker I don’t think that can be a coincidence.

Through your years at university, did you feel conscious of any influences from your time at The Mount that helped you through your studies? 

I studied at The Mount on a bursary and so I was particularly conscious of the amazing opportunities the school offered me so tried to throw myself into everything from academic work to sport, music and a bit of drama. This was very much my approach at university too and I am really grateful to the school for encouraging me in everything I tried. The fact that girls could start up clubs, lead committees helped me at university as I set up a couple of music ensembles and worked as Arts Ambassador for my JCR.

Describe a moment in your career thus far in which you felt connected to your Mount education 

When I was being interviewed for my Head of Department job at my current school I was asked about how I would feel about working in a girls’ school. I think the headmistress was pretty convinced by how much I believed in the power of an all girls’ education.

How and how often do you keep in touch with girls from your school cohort? 

Frequently! I just came back from the wedding of one of my six closest friends from school. We are still all very close friends and meet up as often as we can. I am also in contact (although less regularly) with a large number of my year group.

Looking ahead, what are your hopes for your future?  I am really enjoying my new role in school and I am looking forward to developing it more over the years. In the future I may look to move to be something like a Director of Studies or Deputy Head but as long as I can always keep teaching Classics too as that is my first passion.

What did you study? 

Classics at Oxford University (MA Oxon) (Literae Humaniores); GTP qualification

What is your current occupation? 

Academic Director of Middle School. This means I am still a Classics teacher but I am also in charge of the academic life of Years 9 – 11 at my school. Before this role I was a Head of Department for six years before this at the same school. Prior to that I worked at a different school. I was a classroom teacher with two years as a Head of Year and one year as Head of UCAS. I also co-ordinated overseas admissions for four years across two schools

Anything else you’d like to mention

Never underestimate the power of an all-female education. Also, if you are a budding Classicist, follow your love. I became a teacher because of the impact that The Mount and my teachers had on me but there are a huge range of careers out there for you. Law is the most common career for Classicists but you can do anything from archaeology to neuroscience to city jobs to museum curating. It is an amazing degree and well worth pursuing.

Alice (behind the girl in the very front) in 1996. Photo courtesy of the York Press