New headteacher to start at 'outstanding' Harrogate primary school

A new face has taken up the most senior role at an 'outstanding' independent Harrogate primary school.

New headteacher at Brackenfield Primary School in Harrogate, Nicola Matthews. Credit: Brackenfield School

Brackenfield Primary School, on Duchy Road, have announced the appointment of their new headteacher, Mrs. Nicola Matthews, who will be joining the school in September.

Leaving her position as headteacher at Wellow House School, in Nottinghamshire, to join the Brackenfield School family, Mrs Matthews hopes to build on the outstanding achievements of Brackenfield’s previous headteacher, Mrs. Pat Sowa.

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Principal at Brackenfield, Anthony Comerford, said: “The rigorous selection process attracted a large number of high calibre, impressive candidates and Mrs. Matthews has been selected from a very strong field, which is testament to the great reputation that Brackenfield has among the independent school community.

"In making this appointment I would also like to thank our former Head, Pat Sowa, for her outstanding contribution to Brackenfield over many years.”

The school was last inspected by Ofsted in May 2016, where it was rated as 'outstanding in all areas'.

Mrs. Matthews has academic and management experience both in business and education, and also has specialist experience teaching children with behavioural, emotional and learning support needs.

Previously, she spent four years at Christ Church Cathedral School Oxford, founded by Henry VIII, as Deputy Head and Head of English.

In addition to extensive teaching experience within preparatory education, her own children also went through the independent school system and are now graduates of Bristol and Nottingham Universities respectively.

Mrs. Matthews has a Degree in Management Studies and French, a Master’s in Education and was one of only 24 teachers labelled by the government as 'outstanding' and selected from across the nation to help develop the national curriculum for literacy and establish best practice guidelines.

Like previous Brackenfield Heads, she will also do some teaching throughout the school and spend time with the nursery children so that she understands and knows every child individually.

Along with her husband David, who is Vice-President of an international cyber security company, Mrs. Matthews will be moving to Harrogate with their two dogs.

Having left her heart in Yorkshire after her University studies Mrs Matthews said she is 'delighted' to be returning and is 'keen to continue the Brackenfield traditions and ethos'.