Meet the Head: Sarah Gillam of Maple Walk School
As part of our continuing series showcasing schools across west London, we meet head teachers to find out a little more about them personally as well as about the school they oversee.
Here we talk to Sarah Gillam, the head of Maple Walk School in Harlesden, an independent primary school for girls and boys aged 4 to 11. WLM asked about her experience and what makes Maple Walk unique.
What is your professional background?
I have been teaching for over 30 years in both state and preparatory schools. However, the majority of my time has been within the prep school world. Before arriving at Maple Walk, which is a co-educational school, I was head of a girls’ preparatory school in Wokingham, Berkshire. I came to Maple Walk in September 2012.
What motivated you to work in education?
Teaching is a vocation and a love of children is essential. I want children to come—no, run—into school with a smile, be thrilled with what they are doing and have an appetite for learning. It is a joy to see children leave MW confident in their own ability and having achieved personal success. My job as the head is to ensure that they are thoroughly prepared for the next stage of their education and have a love of learning.
What is unique about Maple Walk?
Maple Walk is a wonderful, vibrant community with an excellent supportive parent body. We teach a knowledge-based curriculum in a creative way. Children are encouraged in all aspects of learning with particular emphasis on the arts, music, dance and drama. Each term is enriched with whole-school and House events, ranging from drama productions and informal concerts to visiting speakers and outside excursions. People who visit Maple Walk are impressed with the confident, happy children who greet them. Our fees are also some of the lowest in west London.
What does the school expect from parents?
Education is a partnership and, as such, we would like parents and carers to be thoroughly involved in their child’s learning.
What can parents expect from the school?
Parents can expect a warm welcome and an open-door policy. As a parent you are fully informed of the progress of your child. We welcome parents into the school to share their skills and expertise. I expect every child who leaves MW to be confident, articulate and have an excellent work ethic. Every parent is a member of the Friends of Maple Walk, providing a wonderful social network, which also has super fundraising events.
Can you tell us something about your school that we won’t find in the prospectus?
Maple Walk is truly a hidden gem; as you walk down the drive and turn the corner, you see our purpose-built eco-building, complete with green growing roof, solar panels and bespoke ‘pod’ for music lessons. You would never guess that behind a residential terrace there would be such an amazing space.
Maple Walk School is located at: 62A Crownhill Road, NW10 4EB.
For more information, please visit: maplewalkschool.co.uk