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'Old girl' goes back to school – as the head teacher

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 22, 2012

  • She was last at school as pupil Kate Garvey. Now Kate White is the new head of Notre Dame School in Derriford, Plymouth PICTURE PAUL SLATER

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Almost 40 years ago, young Kate Garvey began her first day at a Westcountry school.

Now, 39 years later, she is back as the new headteacher.

Now married, Kate White has taken over the post at Notre Dame Roman Catholic School, Plymouth, from Fiona Hutchings, who left at the end of the summer term.

She said some things had changed since she was there as a pupil. "The school is about three times as big and with a lot more buildings, but essentially it still has a lovely feel about it with lovely staff and students with the same mission. There are girls who are going to achieve all kinds of things.

"When I was at the school the headteachers were still nuns. I'm the second one who is not a nun, and the first who is married with a family, which makes it a little bit unusual."

The 50-year-old explained that she had a picture of some her family, who were at the school, in 1948, up in her office. "It really feels as though I've come home," she said.

Mrs White grew up in Plymstock before studying at Cardiff University, and since then she has taught in London and held a position as deputy head at South Dartmoor Community College. She was a pupil at Notre Dame from 1973 until 1980 as Kate Garvey, her maiden name.

Mrs White said: "There is nothing fundamental about the school that I would want to change; it's been left a very well-run and happy school.

"We want to carry on helping our girls to achieve the very best and keep improving our exam results.

"Our mission remains to educate our students' head, heart and hands."

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