Talking Heads: Northwood College for Girls

Having been a counsellor and an author for the ‘Guide to the Under 5’s’ for schools and nurseries, Zara Hubble became a junior school teacher twenty-two years ago. She quickly went on to become Science co-ordinator, Head of Year 7, Head of Transition and Head of Northwood College for Girls’ Junior School in 2016.

How and why did you get into education?

I came into education quite late. I didn’t go to university after school and went straight into work. It wasn’t until a few years later that I decided to go to university, where I did a Bachelor of Education as a mature student. I had my daughter in my final year and did my presentation with her on my lap!

I was interested in teaching because I wanted to make a difference. Teaching isn’t just about imparting knowledge, it’s about being a mentor and a guide and that really appealed to me. It’s a career where you can have a great impact on young people’s lives and open doors for them.

Growing up, did you have any role models?

I don’t think I had one specific role model, but there were certainly traits and lessons I learnt from other people. My mum always showed us that you’re never too big, too precious or too important to get your hands dirty, and that when you need to, you roll your sleeves up. That had a really big impact on me, even today. So if the hall needs cleaning, I will clean the hall, and if the snow needs shovelling, I will pick up a shovel along with everyone else.

What does being part of the GDST family mean to you?

It’s wonderful being part of a national community of people who share core beliefs and values. There are 24 other people, doing the same job as me and experiencing life as I do. If I share worries or concerns with them, I know they will understand and support me. It feels like a special thing to be part of.

What do you say to girls aspiring to be future leaders?

I’d say this to all girls, not just future leaders. Be kind, work hard, do your best and make good decisions. If you live your life with those four things as your moral compass then you will do well in life and be a good member of any team.

Can you tell us about some exciting developments at Northwood College for Girls?

Estate-wise, we have a fantastic new science building and Sixth Form centre in progress. It’s also really exciting to be part of a new leadership team that share the same values and are open to change. There is a real buzz around the school and a shared idea of who we want to be – it’s great to feel like people have confidence in your vision and will come along with you to make it happen.

What’s your favourite film?

It’s not particularly intellectual, but it would have to be Gladiator! It came out around the time I had my children and I was obsessed with it. There was something about the story that really resonated – it was all about his family.

What’s your favourite place?

Ibiza – but not for the clubs! When I think about where I am happiest, it’s sitting at a table with friends and family and good food, and most recently this happens for me in Ibiza. So it’s not the place so much, as what it represents for me – having everyone I love in one place, eating well, talking and laughing.

Do you have a favourite quote?

Maya Angelou – “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Lastly, if you could snap your finger to change one thing in the world, what would it be?

I would address mental health issues. My whole reason for being is to help people to be the best versions of themselves. So if I could, I’d get rid of anything that gets in the way of young women reaching their potential and finding success and happiness.