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Personally Speaking - 'Emotions run high on leavers' day'

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

"Always look to the future with optimism."

Who has been your biggest influence?

My husband - a perfect foil to me and a real sounding board who has supported me hugely. He curbs the excesses of my educational zeal while simultaneously encouraging me.

What was your worst moment in teaching?

It would have to be when the upper sixth-form leave. I found it especially emotional when the class of 2010 left as they were the first year group I had seen all the way through the school.

What pupil are you most proud of?

I'm proud of every single pupil. Because we only have around 325 pupils, you get to know them all. That's what I believe education is about, seeing girls flourish.

What is your career high so far?

This year: combining being GSA president and running an amazing school. But every day is a career high; if you have a positive attitude, then you ensure it is.

What would you be if you hadn't become a teacher?

I think I would have been working abroad somewhere, helping the developing world - something to help women and girls globally.

What do you do on a Friday evening?

Absolutely masses - it is gloriously busy. School is a hive of activity; there are always concerts and events. I often have staff to supper and spend time with my young family.

Where did you last go on holiday - and why?

To Edinburgh with my family; we go to the first week of the Fringe. It is just amazing - it is all so creative and there is so much to do. Calne girls often perform up there, too. This year they are doing Moira Buffini's Dinner, a rather dark and racy comedy.

What was the last book you read?

I have just finished reading Room by Emma Donoghue, which was incredibly powerful. It reminds us how important it is that we nurture our children.

What is the worst excuse you've ever heard?

People don't give me excuses; they know that I would see right through them.

Dr Helen Wright is president of the Girls' Schools Association and head of St Mary's Calne independent school. She is an ambassador for the charity Plan UK's 'Because I am a Girl' campaign, which aims to ensure girls in the world's poorest countries can access quality education.

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