Pupils say it with flowers to welcome new school principal

Thursday 5 May 2016


Sue Woodroofe was given a true Belgian-style welcome when she returned to her Yorkshire roots from Brussels to take up her post as the new principal of GSAL.

On her first visit to Rose Court Nursery and Pre-prep, nursery children greeted her with a specially created flower carpet inspired by the famous example that appears every two years in Brussels’ Grand-Place.

Mrs Woodroofe joined GSAL this term after five years as principal at The British School in Brussels (BSB).

The Rose Court flower carpet has been several weeks in the making, in contrast to the Brussels flower carpet, which despite its size – 18,000 square metres – is put together in just four hours by 100 volunteers, using around 700,000 begonias. The 70 nursery pupils started work on their version last term with art teacher Gemma Crilley, and put the finishing touches to it after the Easter holidays.

Mrs Woodroofe said: “This is the loveliest flower carpet I have ever seen and a wonderful reminder of Brussels which was home for 16 years. I am grateful to everyone at GSAL for the warmth of their welcome and this is the icing on the cake! All the students, from the very youngest, make the most of their talents to achieve such a lot, which makes for an exciting week, every week, at GSAL and I’m delighted to be a part of it.”

Brought up in Yorkshire and completing her secondary education at York College for Girls, Mrs Woodroofe trained at Durham University as a teacher of English and history. She has worked in a wide range of schools in the UK, both single sex and co-educational, selective and comprehensive.

After a family move took her to Belgium, Mrs Woodroofe was appointed secondary school deputy head at BSB in 2004. She was promoted two years later to head of secondary school (ages 11-18), and after five years was appointed principal in 2011.

She is one of just 49 female heads of the 336 British and international member schools of HMC (The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference).

Mrs Woodroofe is pictured admiring the Belgian flower carpet made by children at Rose Court Nursery and Pre-prep, with nursery pupils (L-R) Riona Soni, Alfie Berke, Mariam Al’Hassan, Austin Keech, Harry Pick and Darcie Lee (photo by Steve Bootle).

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