Day in the life - Helen Wright

3rd October 2008 at 01:00
Headteacher of St Mary's School for boarders in Calne, Wiltshire

I get up at 4.40am every day and head outside for a brisk walk. Then I work until my two children wake up. Harry is five and Caitlin is two, and my family life and work life are closely intertwined. When Caitlin was born I didn't take a single day's maternity leave. I gave birth on the Friday and was in school on the Monday, with Caitlin. For the first few months she was with me all the time - except for meetings.

Like most boarding school heads, I live on site, so my journey into work takes just a couple of minutes. Before school, I'll usually have a word with the cleaners, show my face in the staffroom, or chat to some of the girls. I have a computer on my desk, but I never touch it during the day. It's a rule, otherwise it would be easy to become locked away.

Most of the day is spent meeting people. We're busy at the moment establishing partnerships with local maintained schools, and that involves lots of visits. We also have a big celebration coming up to mark the school's 135th anniversary, which is enjoyable, but time consuming. Then, at 1.30pm, it's my weekly working lunch with the senior management team.

After school, some of the girls join me at my house for tea and cake. It's nice for them to see me with my children. Hopefully, I'm a good role model, showing that you can run an organisation and still have a wonderful family life.

Between 5.30pm and 7pm I'm with Harry and Caitlin - playtime, bath and then bed. After that it's time to tackle my emails and my in-tray. I became a head when I was 30, so I've been doing this for more than half my working life. I love it so much, and feel privileged. Mind you, I'm lucky that I don't seem to need more than five or six hours' sleep a night. I still can't get everything done.

Helen Wright, 38, was talking to Steven Hastings.

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