The Queen’s School in Chester is excited to announce the appointment of a new Headmistress from Easter.

Current Deputy Headmistress Joanne Keville will take over from Sue Wallace-Woodroffe when she retires at the end of the month.

Joanne is delighted to have secured the new headship following a rigorous recruitment process. Having worked at Queen’s for seven years she is well placed to take over and is excited to get started. Read on to find out more about her, and her plans, in our Head’s Q&A.

Warrington Guardian: Joanne KevilleJoanne Keville (Image: The Queen's School)

What originally attracted you to Queen’s?

I was originally attracted to working in an all-girls academic environment as I attended an all-girls school myself and knew first-hand what an empowering place it is. I was blown away on my first visit to Queen’s with the warmth and strength in community between pupils, staff and parents. 

How does it feel to have been named the incoming Head from April 2024?

It is the privilege of a lifetime and an honour and I am so excited at what lies ahead. The Queen’s School has educated girls to the highest standards for almost 150 years and to be able to lead the school forward towards the next 150 years imbues me with such pride. The launch of our new multipurpose Astroturf, refurbishment of our Sixth Form and Library area, and the growth of our partnerships with local school in Chester will kick start my term of office and that is just the beginning.

Is Mrs Wallace-Woodroffe a tough act to follow?

Absolutely! I have loved working with Mrs Wallace-Woodroffe (or Mrs WW as she is known to the girls) over the last 5 years, and I’ve learned so much from doing so. Under her leadership we have been awarded a range of awards including: Best Independent Girls’ School – North West England in 2023 and 2022; Gold level national Quality in Careers Standard for our outstanding careers provision; Gold Award Green School from The Woodland Trust in 2023 as part of our eco commitment; as well as Most Supportive Independent School – North West England in 2022. So yes, Mrs WW is a tough act to follow, but with a full term for our handover, where we work together every day, I am confident that the transition will be seamless. 

Warrington Guardian:

What are you looking forward to most about being Head of Queen’s?

So much! I love Queen’s, I love the Queen’s family and I am proud of what we have achieved so far. Every single member of staff cares not only about doing the best by the girls, but about each other; they step in to help and step up to each challenge we are faced with.

Our parents are also really supportive and being able to work with them in making sure every girl at Queen’s is engaged and embraces fully with the huge array of opportunities on offer is an honour. And of course, the girls, they encourage each other, they are not afraid to stand up and speak up for what is right, they celebrate each other’s successes, so continuing to see them thrive is something I am excited for. I am also looking forward to building on the aspirational and holistic education we provide at Queen’s.

I feel in such a privileged position to really be able to know every girl and celebrate them as individuals, making sure they each have the support they need to excel both personally and academically. I am also looking forward to having the honour of leading Queen’s into her 150th anniversary and beyond!

What do you see as the benefits of an all-girls education?

Having attended an all-girls school myself from the age of 8 and worked in a range of schools (both co-ed and single sex), I’ve experienced and seen first-hand the benefits an all-girls education provides. These strong and solid foundations last a lifetime and I know that having a safe space to develop and grow, take risks, and step up to challenges, without the distraction of any gender stereotypes, is so empowering. Girls attending all-girls, enjoy so many advantages that contribute to their personal and academic growth such as confidence, self-assurance, increased academic achievement, and leadership opportunities, all in a supportive environment.  

As my own daughter begins her Queen’s journey in Year 7, I can see things as a parent too and couldn’t be happier. Queen’s is exceptional and I cannot think of anywhere either I, or Rosie, would rather be.

Warrington Guardian:

What would we find in a typical classroom at Queen’s?

There’s no such thing as a typical classroom at Queen’s, but what you will find in all of them are a lot of genuinely happy girls! I never cease to be amazed at the love of learning demonstrated by pupils in every classroom and that translates into excellent academic success later in the school. 

How much opportunity to experience new things do you offer outside of the classroom? 

Our co-curricular offering at Queen’s is outstanding and we place great emphasis on our pupils getting outside or trying something new. Not everything can be (or should be) taught inside the classroom and both the Lower and Senior School offer a vast range of clubs and societies before, during and after school, whether it be sports, the arts or academic, there really is something for everyone. 

What I particularly love about the Queen’s environment is, if there is something not on offer that the girls want to do, they let us know and either we can start it up, or the girls will even choose to run it themselves, further developing their confidence and leadership skills. Pupils can also be part of peer mentoring schemes and various pupil parliaments.

The Queen’s School has limited places in some year groups available for September 2024. Tours and taster days can be arranged at a time to suit you. Contact to find out more.