Karen O’Connor welcomes you to Berkhamsted Prep
Berkhamsted Prep School is part of a supportive, family community which fosters a strong sense of belonging.
What should a great school day look like?
Well if you ask our children they are likely to tell you; it makes you think, wonder and question about how things happen or how they work, it is challenging and stretches your brain, it allows you to be creative and to imagine things beyond the usual, it is active and busy, it is exciting and good fun and, best of all I get to do it all with my friends!
Childhood is a wonderous time and at Berkhamsted Prep we aim to provide experiences that offer a sense of awe and wonder, and where curiosity and active learning is encouraged and celebrated. Considered and well-planned learning experiences through the Prep years, that build on the strong foundations for learning from the earliest years of a primary education, mean our children have the self-confidence and self-belief for transition into the Senior School. They are, and they feel, ready and prepared for the next stage of their educational journey.
How do we do this?
At Berkhamsted School we offer a strong family community throughout our group of schools because we recognise the importance of relationships and providing a sense of belonging. At Prep, our children are known for their individuality, as we seek from the first day we meet them, to get to know them as young people and to encourage them to voice their opinions and offer contributions across all areas of school life.
Learning and playing alongside one another across the year groups means that we grow and develop the socio-emotional and character skills that we see as key to future success for our children. Increasingly research informs us that the connections we make personally, academically and physically help us to grow as remarkable people. Our interactions with the children are nurturing and encouraging, so that the stretch and challenge they experience every day across all areas, is openly embraced by the children as they grasp each moment with enthusiasm and, if they are a little nervous, they know that someone is there to guide and to coach them.
If you are interested in how we do all this, come and discover our school for yourselves; I/we look forward to welcoming you!
Karen O’Connor BA, MA, PGCE, NPQH
Interim Headteacher of Berkhamsted Prep; Headteacher of Berkhamsted Day Nursery & Berkhamsted Pre-Prep
Karen O’Connor is the Headteacher of Berkhamsted Pre-Preparatory School and Berkhamsted Day Nursery; and from September 2023 Interim Headteacher of Berkhamsted Prep.
She attended Saint Michael’s Grammar school in North London, completed a degree in English and History at the University of Southampton, followed by a PGCE, and in recent years attained a Masters in Leadership at University College London.
Karen has been a senior leader for over 20 years, leading across a range of maintained primary schools. This has included holding a number of Deputy Head and Acting Headship posts, working in both the London Borough of Barnet and in the Inner London borough of Camden, prior to coming to take up her post at Berkhamsted. She is committed to ensuring that every child has the best possible start to their educational journey and in addition is a Governor of a maintained all through school in Barnet.
Karen and her husband Richard have a daughter who attends Berkhamsted School. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, playing tennis, swimming, travel and joining her daughter on horse riding hacks.
Value added is the name of the game: most enter the nursery at national standard, but by year 6 the vast majority are well beyond it, with many of them significantly above.
Pupils develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and resilience to a mature level, encouraged by the school’s focus on perseverance.