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Lars Fox On His First Year As Head Of Burgess Hill Girls


Absolutely Sussex catches up with Burgess Hill Girls School Head, Lars Fox, about the end of a very special year in his career

How long have you been Head of Burgess Hill Girls and what originally attracted you to the role?

This has been my first year as Head of Burgess Hill Girls and also my first year as a Head. There has been lots to do and experience, but I can honestly say I have loved every minute of it! I first thought about a career in education when I was at school. I had a wonderful teacher who helped me discover my strengths. She inspired me to want to do the same for others.

Since then I have taught in schools in Germany and England, most recently at Queen Margaret’s School for Girls in York where I was Senior Deputy Head. My daughter also went to an all-girls school, so I have personally seen the transformational change in her as a result of being in a nurturing girls’ school. I think girls thrive through positive relationships and I really enjoy the strength of bonds formed between students and teachers at girls’ schools. I am passionate about girls’ education and believe girls’ schools still have a crucial role to play in society, developing confident and talented women who will continue to push for equality in all aspects of life.

So when choosing a school for my first Headship, Burgess Hill Girls was an obvious choice. It is also a through school, which gives the school a special community feeling. 

Burgess Hill Girls Pre Prep And Prep

What do you think makes your school stand out?

Burgess Hill Girls is a school that doesn’t do things by halves. It inspires girls to work hard and achieve their full potential. Our desire to create tomorrow’s women is achieved by having a curriculum, facilities, activities and experiences that are all specifically designed to enhance the development of girls and young women. Being a through-school on a single site also creates an incredibly supportive and family-like atmosphere where girls and staff get to know each other exceptionally well. I also think what Burgess Hill Girls does better than any other school is developing ‘soft’ skills like creative thinking and emotional intelligence. We know these days that employers probably place greater importance on a person’s strength in these skills as opposed to purely academic ability.  

Do you have many all through pupils, from nursery to sixth form?

Yes we do! Unfortunately not all our nursery children can continue into the school as the nursery is co-educational and the school, of course, is girls only. But most of the pupils who join us in the Prep School continue into the Senior School and beyond. In the Senior School we also offer boarding which adds an International mix to the community, giving students the chance to form new friendships and learn about a wider range of cultures and beliefs. 

In nursery, how do you look to instil a love of learning?

We are fortunate to be able to offer our ‘Outstanding’ rated nursery provision to local families. It is also very popular with our staff. As the nursery is located on our campus, it has the advantage of being able to offer more indoor and, in our opinion even more important, outdoor space for the children to play, explore and learn. The ethos in our nursery is actually not that different to our school. We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, but above all else we want to give each child the confidence to ‘have a go’ and embrace all that nursery life has to offer.

Maths Trail Burgess Hill Girls

How would you say the teaching then evolves through the year groups?

In the Prep School we believe happiness is the keystone to girls’ growth in self-confidence, resilience, and the essential foundation in ensuring girls feel supported both academically and emotionally. We are proud of our ‘can-do’ attitude, which remains with the girls as they progress through the school. We also ‘play-hard’ with a full and varied programme of arts, creative activities, sports, charity fundraising, visits and residential trips. It is more of the same in the Senior School. On top we start to help girls map out their individual journey with our unique B-spoke programme which is tailored to helping them develop on their personal interests and aspirations. In the Sixth Form, in addition to A-levels and the Extended Project Qualification, which all girls undertake, we offer our BOLD programme, which equips students with all the emotional and social skills they will need to take on the opportunities and challenges which life will bring. 

How important is pastoral care at Burgess Hill Girls?

Pastoral care is paramount to what we do at Burgess Hill Girls. As a medium-sized school and tight knit community, we pride ourselves on knowing every single pupil and knowing them well enough to get an instinctive feel for how they are doing. We know that young people do better in all aspects of life when they are happy and healthy. So we have a formal health and wellbeing programme, including a dedicated wellbeing week in May, to promote a happy and healthy lifestyle for all students and staff. 

What kind of enrichment activities do you offer?

I think this question should be what don’t we offer! We genuinely try to ensure that all students get to try as many activities and experiences as possible. Almost every department organises dedicated activities to immerse students in a specific area of the subject. There are also many different trips to reflect student’s personal interests; from ski racing to drama to debating, and a whole host of sports tours. One of my favourite enrichment activities has to be ‘Race the Sun’, where Sixth Form students gather together at a secret location on the edge of the South Downs National Park and walk through the night to reach Beachy Head by sunrise.


And how would you sum up your sports provision?

I consider myself to be an outdoor person. I love swimming, tennis, running and cycling and have completed a couple of Ironman triathlons in the past. Consequently, I am keen we pass the benefits of outdoor life and sport on to our students. Burgess Hill Girls has always been strong in sports with cricketers, hockey players and triathletes who have gone on to represent England and Great Britain. So sport has always been and will continue to be a major part of the education we offer. We believe in participation for all, offering a broad extra-curricular sports programme and encouraging all students to try as many sports as possible until they find something they love. They almost always do!    

What kind of boarding experience do you offer?

We have a small and friendly community of 50 boarders. At the moment it is predominantly full-time and weekly boarders from overseas, but we are looking to extend our boarding provision over the next few years so we can welcome even more UK and overseas students. In the evenings and weekends we put on a variety of activities to maximise the fun of boarding life. Our current crop of boarders are particularly keen on crafting, cooking and exercise classes. They also love the regular day trips to Brighton and London! 

As we approach the end of the school year, what have been the highlights for you?

I always enjoy our weekly assemblies, where staff and students come together to celebrate individual and collective achievements, of which, I am proud to say, there are many at Burgess Hill Girls. The really special moments for me, however, are when I have had the opportunity to get involved with the normal day to day life of students at Burgess Hill Girls, be it reading to the girls in the Prep School, talking to Nursery children about careers or watching Senior students enjoy an intense game of volleyball. Burgess Hill Girls is such a happy and nurturing place which is both infectious and inspiring.

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Picture of Mark Kebble

Mark Kebble

Mark's career in journalism started in 2001 when he landed a role on a small lifestyle magazine in Angel, North London. Soon enough, the magazine was purchased by a larger organisation and Mark found himself promoted to editor at the tender age of 23. He later became group editor, working on magazines for Angel, Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Highgate. He was also involved in a launch in Hadley Wood and a major new group website, later becoming Group Hub Editor. In 2021, Mark joined Zest Media Group and oversaw the launch of many Absolutely titles across the UK. To date, Mark has launched in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Essex, Yorkshire and Cheshire. When he does have some free time, Mark is also the Chairman of an amateur football club in Surrey and is also a fully qualified FA football coach.
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