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Interview with Charlotte Mortimer, newly appointed Director of Sport

Interview with Charlotte Mortimer, newly appointed Director of Sport who joins Queen Mary’s School in April.

Having played hockey, netball and tennis to a high level, Charlotte initially studied medicine at Newcastle University before switching to Sports Science at Loughborough University. She began her teaching career at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle, before moving to Queen Margaret’s and then on to Pocklington School.

We spoke to Charlotte about her passion for sport and what she hopes to introduce in her new role as Director of Sport at Queen Mary’s.


What inspired your love of sport?

Sport was a huge part of my childhood – it was ever-present in the world around me and my parents really encouraged me. I was playing tennis by the age of five and pursued this to a high standard, playing competitive tennis in tournaments around England until the age of 14. I then developed a huge love of team sports, in particular hockey and netball, and played these to regional and county level and was invited to join the U16 England Hockey Camp. These days my teaching career doesn’t really allow me to play Saturday fixtures, so I’ve returned back to playing more tennis which is easier to fit around my two young children and teaching career.


What made you decide to go into teaching?

I have a huge love of sport and physical activity. I really enjoy guiding young people towards healthy lifestyles and bringing sport into young people’s lives in a fun and rewarding way. I’m quite geeky when it comes to sport and love introducing pupils to all the scientific knowledge behind Physical Education.

I had some great sports teachers that went the extra mile and made a big difference to me, so I know the impact a good sports teacher can have on a child’s development. If children are encouraged from as young as Reception to find an activity they enjoy it can bring so many rewards – be that physical challenge, team building skills, mental wellbeing and a sense of achievement. 


What are you looking forward to most and what do you hope to introduce to QM in your new role?

I’m so excited about joining Queen Mary’s! The girls have such an infectious enthusiasm and it will be amazing to be part of that. I want to continue to celebrate all that sport can offer, maintain pupils’ enjoyment of physical activity and continue developing lots of competitive opportunities for both the prep school and senior school whatever the level. I’m really looking forward to bringing my experiences and contacts from my previous teaching environments too.


What are the key areas are you looking to focus on?

Internally I’m wanting pupils to think about what they should be aiming for both individually and as part of a team. I’m a great believer in sport being encouraged from a very early age and fostering a love of exercise. 

In terms of GCSE sport, I want pupils to relate PE to wider society and think about potential careers in sport or nutrition. 

Externally, I want us to play more people, get the Queen Mary’s name out there even more and build on the school’s reputation for being full of determined and enthusiastic players! 

I’m looking forward to introducing more specific training sessions for skills development, holding pre-season training camps and offering residential opportunities for those pupils who are really keen to progress. I can’t wait to meet all the pupils and help them progress with their sporting careers. 


What do you have in store for the sports scholars?

I’m hoping to continue the scholars’ trips and training opportunities each half term, and would also like to introduce training sessions with nutritionist and gym experts to give specific training advice to help with individual progression. 


What do you think is the key to sporting success?

Self motivation is probably the biggest factor. Enjoyment is also key – if you love playing a particular sport, then practising it will come naturally. I think it’s really important to have a good team around you: if that’s a team sport, then obviously a good connection with your teammates and coach, but if it’s an individual sport then having a good trainer is vital.  Natural talent obviously helps and a good level of fitness is also really important. 


What do you think are the benefits of studying PE GCSE?

Studying sport as a GCSE gives pupils a much wider awareness of the impact of sport in every sector of society. 

Biologically and physically it is important for every human to have a level of fitness but sport is also really important culturally.  We study how sporting events such as the Olympic games can have a huge impact on a culture and bring success to different sectors of society.  It demonstrates the importance of sport in making a difference for others by being inclusive to individuals and groups. 

There is a lot of variety in GCSE sport – outside of the physical work, we learn a great deal of science, and it makes pupils consider a whole host of possible future careers in areas such as nutrition, physiotherapy, physiology, science, food, marketing, sponsorship, manufacturing and of course, teaching, training or coaching. 


What was your first impression of Queen Mary’s?

There is a lovely atmosphere at the school and very much a family feel. The girls are proud to be themselves and there also seems to be a great relationship between pupils and teachers which I strongly believe is crucial for happiness and success. I love the quirks of the school that give it its character and individuality and I’m really looking forward to becoming part of it! 


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