‘Because they’re worth it!’ - New St Albans Girls head places focus on her pupils’ self-esteem, not their looks

The new headmistress of St Albans High School for Girls Jenny Brown

The new headmistress of St Albans High School for Girls Jenny Brown - Credit: Archant

The glossy manes and manicured looks of young women glamorised by the advertising industry matter not a jot to the new head of one of the county’s leading schools.

For Jenny Brown, headmistress of St Albans High School for Girls in Townsend Avenue, the confidence and self-esteem of her charges in the 21st century are of paramount importance.

Mrs Brown has spoken to the Herts Advertiser about her first term in her new role at the selective, independent day school for girls aged between four and 18.

Among the many aims of the energetic head is to steward pupils towards fulfilling their ambition, despite the barrage of mixed messages from the media, particularly advertisers targeting young women in a sexualised way.

In a recent blog, she said that it was “refreshing” to see girls at the school felt no need to “hide behind a raft of L’Oreal cosmetics on a daily basis”.

Mrs Brown applauded pupils for being “unselfconscious enough to go about the day-to-day business of learning, without permanent recourse to the mascara wand and mirror”.

Adding that she and fellow educators at the high school worked hard to ensure that girls took themselves seriously, the head said the emphasis was on building pupils’ self-esteem based on their character and intellectual values, ‘because they’re worth it.’

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An education career must be in the blood, as the parents of Mrs Brown and her identical twin sister Jane Lunnon - who recently started as the new head of Wimbledon High School, another top performing girls school - both taught English.

Before starting the headship at St Albans, Mrs Brown was director of senior school at St Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith.

She is a staunch supporter of single-sex schools, explaining: “What you get at a school like this is it absolutely breeds confidence – the pupils don’t even know it is unusual to take risks.”

Mrs Brown said that she had settled in well at St Albans High and nearly two months into the new school year, is “absolutely loving it”.

She added: “It is the most amazing fun – the girls are delightful company, and always engaging. I am learning so much.”