Former Our Lady’s Catholic College student’s rise from pupil to head

New Our Lady's Catholic College headteacher Helen Seddon with pupils, from left, Kathryn McCafferty, 13, Matthew Sheard, 12, Sophie Lee, 12, and Emily Kelsall, 12.
New Our Lady's Catholic College headteacher Helen Seddon with pupils, from left, Kathryn McCafferty, 13, Matthew Sheard, 12, Sophie Lee, 12, and Emily Kelsall, 12.

Former Our Lady’s pupil Helen Seddon has risen to the top of the class and taken over as head at the school she first joined at the age of 11.

Mrs Seddon, 47, started out as a biology teacher at Our Lady’s in 1991, after completing her training at St Martin’s College, now the University of Cumbria.

She moved up through the ranks to become deputy head in 2011, eventually taking over from Brendan Conboy after he retired in July.

“I have never wanted to leave here because I love it,” she said. “But I never thought I would be headteacher. It was only in recent years that I started to think I could make a difference in that way.

“I love being in the classroom and still teach one group a week. I never thought I would want to do anything but teach, but I gradually realised that I could make a bigger impact on young people by becoming headteacher. But I am called a headteacher so I think it’s important that I am in a classroom some of the time.”

Mrs Seddon grew up in Lancaster, going to St Bernadette’s Primary School before starting at OurLady’s in 1979.

“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “My mum was a teacher and so is my sister. I used to want to do primary teaching but as I got older the draw of being able to choose my own subject meant I decided to go into secondary instead.”

Mrs Seddon’s ties with the school continue throughout her family – she first met her husband Stuart in Year 7, and he is now the school’s sixth form pastoral support officer.

The couple’s three children – Kate, 25, Oliver, 18, and 16-year-old Charlie – have also attended the school.