Year 6 Students Correspond with Their New Headteacher
At the start of the academic year, Year 6 Junior School Vlaskamp (JSV) students Junior School Vlaskamp (JSV) get their own iPads for the first time. As an introduction to formal email etiquette, the students were assigned to email their new Headteacher, Ms Waller. This correspondence has provided the basis for this interview. (Ms Waller would like to note that the students structured their emails very well – they were very clear and easy to read)!
Meet Claire Waller
Claire took up the role of Headteacher of Junior School Vlaskamp at the start of the academic year. Before being welcomed to The British School in The Netherlands (BSN), she was Head of Primary at Nexus International School in Malaysia.
“I have been a teacher for over twenty years, and as a Headteacher, I see myself as still being a teacher! The best part of being a Headteacher is getting to work with the children and teachers across the whole school. I was also a teacher in Malaysia, and one of my favourite subjects to teach is Maths. It was a subject I was less confident with at school, and I was afraid of getting things wrong, so I didn’t really try. After becoming a teacher, I realised that Maths is never too hard; it just takes time and perseverance to work out the strategies, and it’s ok that it takes a little longer for some people because we all get there in the end!”
Ms Waller is originally from Yorkshire, England and has three children. Her eldest is in university, and the younger two attend Senior School Voorschoten. When applying for new roles, she needed to find the right school for her whole family. The core values and mission of the BSN resonated with her from the start.
“My philosophy and practice are centred around finding and nurturing every single child’s talents, creativity and interests through the breadth of experience, along with academic rigour. This should be developed at the same time as deliberately and carefully nurturing personal characteristics. I feel those elements, built on strong teacher-child and family relationships, lead to every child’s success and happiness.”
First Impressions of the BSN
“When I visited the schools, I was so warmly welcomed by the teachers, children and parents and could feel a strong sense of pride across all members of the BSN community. The high-quality teaching and learning came across so strongly across all the campuses, which made me want to join the school even more.”
Outside of School
Claire, her husband, two children, and three dogs (Roscoe, a Jack Russell Terrier, and Axl and Maggie, German Shepherds) moved to the Netherlands in June 2022. Her children also have a blue-tongued skink named Rock and Versace, a ball python.
“My favourite animal is a dog, and I like all breeds of dogs. I love animals and have always had pets. I used to have a leopard gecko, and a monitor lizard lived in my garden at my last house in Malaysia.”
Though she misses the warm climate, the move to the Netherlands has been fantastic. Claire loves the city of The Hague, enjoys walks on the beach with her dogs, and the stroopwafels and bitterballen are particularly delicious.
The Year 6 students have shared a long list of places to visit, and she’s especially keen to go to the Escher Museum.
“One of my hobbies is to travel, and I have visited Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, China and Vietnam. This summer, I visited England and France. I speak English and some French and am learning Dutch, so please help me to practise when you see me!”
Her favourite city in England is London, where she loves being a tourist and travelling on a big red bus.
Claire’s Favourites: flowers, colours, and more!
“My favourite plant is a cornflower, and I also like sunflowers. I would love to visit the tulip garden. It is too hard to say which is my favourite colour as it changes throughout the year. At the moment, I love all shades of blue and purple!”
“I have many favourite movies depending on the different genres. I recently enjoyed watching Top Gun!”
“One of my favourite subjects when I was in school, was PE. Back then, PE was not as inclusive as it is now, so I really needed to try extra hard to be able to catch a ball. I realised that everyone can find an exercise that they love, and now I love to run, swim and do Pilates.”
Which Came First?
“I think the colour orange came before the fruit because fire has always been around. My theory is that the chicken did come before the egg. If you’d like to know my theory, ask me next time you see me, and I’ll explain why.”
After nearly one term at JSV, Ms Waller is thrilled to be part of such a welcoming and thriving school community and has loved getting to know many of the students and families. “This term, relationships have, as always, been key, and we look forward to exciting times ahead. We will continue to build on the rich and varied learning experiences offered to our students!”