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Welcome to our New Head of Boarding

This term we welcome our new Head of Boarding, Jayne Strawbridge.

Mrs Strawbridge has a military, medical, teaching and boarding background so knows exactly what is required to create an exciting, home from home, supportive environment both in the evenings and at weekends. Here is your chance to find out more about Jayne:


What’s your experience of boarding at independent schools?
Alongside my experience as a Housemistress, I also have a personal connection. Having travelled across the globe, I have four daughters who have been full boarders at all-girls’ boarding schools so I know how it feels to entrust my children to a school. I love the way in which Queen Mary’s size allows all our staff to support, nurture and motivate each girl and I am looking forward to creating exciting opportunities and a stable and supportive environment where the girls feel part of a second family at Queen Mary’s.


Tell us about your life before Queen Mary’s:
I am a qualified Primary School Teacher but decided to pursue a military career; I was commissioned from Sandhurst and, during my five years in the Army, served in Germany, Belize and the UK where I met my husband. As a family, we travelled around the world, living in Germany, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mexico as well as England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This has made me an expert in moving house, having done so 19 times at the last count!

Throughout my travels, I have had a variety of positions, ranging from teaching and roles in boarding to being a Language Training Coordinator for the Foreign Office whilst based in Mexico. I have also worked with Barnardo’s and trained as a Paramedic with the Mexican Red Cross which was interesting as it was all in Spanish.

Having settled in Northumberland, I have loved caring for the pupils within boarding but there is something special about Queen Mary’s. I have already seen the lovely atmosphere and fantastic community spirit. I can’t wait to be part of that and inject fun into our daily routines.


What is your approach to boarding?
Alongside the girls’ extra-curricular activities which we will support them with, I believe that boarding is about being busy but not overly busy, with lots of age-appropriate, varied activities and opportunities both structured and spontaneous. From trips, adventures, stargazing and themed evenings to using the grounds or sitting down and having a movie and some hot chocolate, toast or making pizzas. I’m looking forward to finding out what you all like to do. I have so many ideas and have already been speaking with boarders, parents and staff and we have discussed star gazing, trampolining, adventure, shopping, barbecues, cultural trips and more. I also believe that it is important to instil confidence in the girls by giving them age-appropriate freedoms and responsibilities.


What do you like doing in your spare time?
We are currently renovating our house and in any other spare time, I enjoy outdoor pursuits and walking Mana, my lively and energetic cocker spaniel who is always by my side and looking forward to meeting you all.

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