Ladies’ College principal due to retire at the end of year

LADIES’ COLLEGE principal Ashley Clancy will retire at the end of this year to reconnect with family and friends and have more flexibility with her time.

Ashley Clancy. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29108256)
Ashley Clancy. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29108256)

In September 2014, the former Berkhamstead Girls head joined The Ladies’ College as principal, having visited Guernsey in the 1980s. Recently she celebrated her 60th birthday which, along with the impact of Covid-19 restrictions, has led her to consider future plans.

Deciding to retire from what she has loved for 38 years was the most difficult choice she has made, having wanted to teach since aged six.

‘Making the decision to retire has honestly been the biggest decision of my life,’ Mrs Clancy said.

‘Going to university, becoming a teacher, getting married and having children were all easier decisions. I think it’s the first time you decide something for your future, where you project forward what you want at the time you stop working, without knowing what it will be. I try to follow my own advice to others and have always told our two children that it is better to make difficult decisions when things are good. Whilst there is never an easy time to make some decisions, making them for the right reasons is key.’

The decision is bittersweet.

‘It’s a fabulous job, I love it, I absolutely love it. It doesn’t matter how many years you have done if every year has brought opportunity, development and meaningful change. When you are here throughout, you don’t really notice the change, but thinking back on the past seven years it is clear just how much has been achieved.

‘I can identify many things I am proud of, but really I am most proud of the students and the team here – they are great.’

Considering subjects as vehicles for learning helps to create ‘rounded and grounded individuals,’ along with face-to-face and one-to-one conversations.

‘We are conscious of particular issues affecting young people in all settings, and are committed to ensuring support is available wherever and whenever it is needed within the community here.

‘We all go on as lifelong learners, but need subjects to underpin our knowledge. We are educating young people by giving them the experience needed to develop themselves, in an environment which encourages them to continue learning and to develop their confidence and self-esteem, with wellbeing at the core of what we are doing.’

Maintaining consistency and a meaningful student experience is of top priority.

Sourcing a suitable candidate will not be rushed, and Mrs Clancy will play a big role in choosing the right person.

‘What I want to make clear is that I will be continuing my time here with calm and calculated direction of travel to be the best that we can be, and to support the transition to whoever is privileged, as I have been, to be appointed to this fabulous role.’

Until a successor is sourced, Mrs Clancy says she will continue to lead with energy and enthusiasm and will ensure a smooth transition.

‘Although I already feel the tinge of sadness that this journey will come to an end, I will embrace my remaining time here, as principal, with optimism and clarity that I will do what is right, come what may and aim to be the best that I can be. I am incredibly proud of being a part of such a special place and grateful for the opportunity to be a small part of the lives of others.’

Born in Lincolnshire, Mrs Clancy attended Thornhill and Bede Schools in Sunderland. At Birmingham University she studied geography and PE, before doing her PGCE at Loughborough. After teaching practice at Nottingham High School for Girls she moved to Hemel Hempstead School for her first job.

Board of governors chair Caroline Chan thanked Mrs Clancy for her unstinting commitment to the welfare of all members of the college, on behalf of the board.

Advocate Chan said Mrs Clancy’s legacy includes bringing The Wessex Wing to life, developing learning support throughout the college and completely embedding wellbeing into the heart of the whole college community.

‘She leads the college with kindness, resilience and a sense of fun,’ Advocate Chan said.

‘When we do say goodbye at the end of this year she will be greatly missed.’

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