Julie Keller, Laura Fowler and David Ross

Julie Keller, Laura Fowler and David Ross

Julie Keller has stepped up from the deputy headship to lead Nottingham girls’ high school, a move that follows Sue Gorham’s retirement after 10 years at the helm.

An advocate of single-sex education, Keller says she is determined to spread her support for girls’-only education and to empower her students to “break the glass ceiling” in the world of work.

“The general feeling outside the community is that the all-girls’ model is backwards, traditional and boring, but it is not,” she says. “It is a modern, innovative and forward-thinking one, so my goal is to make sure that message is spread and delivered.

“People keep talking about the real world and that girls should go to a co-ed school because that is real world experience, but in reality, girls still aren’t paid as much boys and girls don’t get to the top businesses.

“In an all-girls’ school you get independent and confident, inquiring minds. Girls are able to develop all of the best attributes so when they go off into the real world they are going to be the ones who get through that glass ceiling and make it to the top.”

Keller has a degree in economic and social history from the University of Leicester.

Laura Fowler will also join Nottingham from September when she will become head of its junior school. She has been head of the junior department at Leicester high school for girls for six years.

Fowler, like Keller, says she is passionate about girls’ education and will spend time in the summer term before she starts at Nottingham getting to know the students.

She says she has been attracted by Nottingham’s ethos and structure “for a while”.

“Once you see the impact on girls’ confidence, attitudes to learning and future aspirations, not to mention their development as an individual
and academically, you realise what a very powerful and special environment an all-girls’ school is.”

Fowler has been a teacher for 17 years, including spells as an acting head and deputy head in primary schools in Essex.

David Ross, co-founder of The Carphone Warehouse and sponsor of the David Ross Foundation, has been appointed chair of trustees at New Schools Network.

Ross says the education charity has “a crucial role to play” in helping to drive up educational standards by bringing “new and innovative” school founders into the system.

He says that he is particularly interested in trying to increase the role entrepreneurs and business people “like myself” can play in shaping and supporting new schools and sponsoring academies.

Ross began his career as a chartered accountant before co-founding The Carphone Warehouse in 1991.

He established the David Ross Foundation in 2006, which currently sponsors 33 academies in Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and the Humber region.

He is also a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and a board member of the British Olympic Association.