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Gumley House School FCJ

Sr. Brenda receives O.B.E.

Sr. Brenda Wallace who held the post of Headteacher of Gumley House for 24 years has been awarded an OBE for services to education in the Queen’s Birthday honours.

Sr. Brenda Wallace who held the post of Headteacher of Gumley House Convent School FCJ for 24 years until her retirement in 2012 has been awarded an OBE for services to education in the Queen’s Birthday honours.

Ewa Kolczynska, current Headteacher of Gumley, stated: “Sister Brenda is particularly recognised by all; in her vision to provide an environment where young women regardless of their background could excel through academic achievement and emotional well-being. This vision underpinned every strategy that she created and implemented.  The school motto, ‘Vive ut Vivas’  “Live that you may have life” was her mantra and as a result she has inspired and empowered generations  of young women to attain their personal goals”.

During her tenure as Headteacher, she led the school in achieving outstanding academic success whilst growing its student population across the 7 year groups. As well as one of the longest serving Heads of Hounslow she was an active member of the Hounslow Head’s Secondary Partnership.  

Sister Brenda was often the first to introduce new educational initiatives and was frequently seen as a pioneer and someone whose expertise was often sought.

She championed numerous additional initiatives that included: being the Founder member of the Association of Maintained Girl’s Schools, introducing the learning of Mandarin resulting in Gumley being the first school in Hounslow to teach this language from Year 7. She was an extraordinarily strong supporter of local community causes as well as collaborating with and supporting specific schools through initiatives such as The Leading Edge, Going For Great and joining the governing board of St. John’s International School, Brussels. 

Preparing students to be global citizens was a key part of her agenda, by instigating partnerships with schools all over the world including Misikhu Friend’s School in Kenya and Saint Andrew’s Junior College in Singapore plus working with the The Confucius and Hanban Institutes in China to name but a few.  She provided so many opportunities for students to travel and develop their cultural understanding through joint curriculum projects with these schools. This determination continued throughout her time and in her last year she created a new type of partnership with an Italian school in Milan for a group of A Level students to study for a full academic year in Gumley’s 6th form.

She fostered a strong and loyal environment with both teaching staff and students, one of the greatest testaments to her leadership is the number of alumni who continue to support current students and that a significant number of the school’s staff are ex-students of whom the majority experienced her teaching or headship at Gumley House. 

Sr. Brenda continues to work and fully integrate within the FCJ community and alongside this work she continues to support Gumley House Convent School.   

Under her headship Gumley House achieved many awards including the International School Award, The Prince’s Teaching Institute Award for English and Languages, Warwick University’s Centre of Education and Industry Excellence Award as well as achieving “High performing school” status.



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