Talking Heads: Portsmouth High School

Jane Prescott is Headmistress at Portsmouth High School. She shares her views on education, the GDST and offers advice for aspiring leaders.


Hi Jane, how and why did you decide to get into education?

My father was in education and a terrific role model – I was always attracted to the joy of teaching and attending a girls’ grammar school I experienced some inspirational instruction.


Growing up, did you have a female role model?

My sister who is two years older than me. She is a GP and a natural academic with a kind sensitive disposition which makes her a great listener. I was much more boisterous and noisy.


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

It is important to me as like in a family we can challenge each other and have some robust interesting discussions but when we need support and guidance that warmth and advice is there.


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

Go for it. You won’t know if it was for you unless you try it. Be yourself. Don’t try to be anything that you are not. Be true to your values.


Tell us about some of the exciting plans at Portsmouth High School?

We have so many interesting projects. We have completed fund-raising for a climbing wall and an outside classroom at the prep school. We are almost there with a similar outdoor reading room at the senior school. We have embraced a new approach to teaching at the prep school through an explorers’ programme which knits in well with our Arete and Athene curriculum at the senior school.


Favourite film

it is always the last film I have watched which was “Yesterday”. Anything by the Coen brothers – “Burn after Reading” is a favourite


Favourite place

Southsea – who would not enjoy living in this beautiful place


Favourite quote

“Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.” Hilary Clinton. Most people do the absolute opposite.


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

I would make everyone kind. It costs nothing to be charitable and makes you more friends than enemies