The Interview: former St Paul’s Girls’ School headmistress Clarissa Farr on how to educate young women
On the way to interview the headmistress of my old school, I felt I was back in the middle fourth, about to be busted for not having done my prep. Of course, I wouldn’t have dared to meet Clarissa Farr, the high mistress of St Paul’s Girls’ School for more than a decade, without having thoroughly digested her new 300-page book about how to bring up girls in the modern world.
Former head of St Paul’s Girls’ School Clarissa Farr says we’ve lost the courage to be ambitious about education. She tells Susannah Butter about to-do lists, being naughty and baking in assembly.
Headteachers aren’t meant to swear, so when Clarissa Farr says the F-word it feels transgressive.
How you CAN outsmart men in the office: As this ex-head of a top girls' public school reveals, just don't try to be one of the boys...
She's a nice-looking girl. Let's give her a first.' These words, overheard by a friend at a university final examiners' meeting in 1979, have always stuck in my mind.
They shock because of the casual way those male academics exercised their power to confer advantage. It's also the sheer insouciance of it. Yet this was a decision that could potentially change a young woman's life.