Surrey schools - Susan Willman, head teacher at Therfield School in Leatherhead

PUBLISHED: 13:58 11 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:51 20 February 2013

Head teacher at Leatherhead's Therfield School, Susan Willman shares the startling revelation that is blue custard – and how any desert island stay would be incomplete without singing along to Ella Fitzgerald

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2010

Head teacher at Leatherheads Therfield School, Susan Willman shares the startling revelation that is blue custard and how any desert island stay would be incomplete without singing along to Ella Fitzgerald

Therfield School in Dilston Road, Leatherhead, is a mixed, comprehensive for students aged 11 to 18. For more information, call 01372 818123.

If you hadnt become a teacher, what would you have done instead?
I studied English at university and have a love of language and debate, so I considered law or journalism. However, when teaching careers lessons, I usually complete a profile assessment myself and teaching has always been the top suggestion. Clearly, there was no escape, and it has certainly been an excellent choice so far.

Was there any type of school dinner that you couldnt stand?
Generally, I liked school dinners and the range and quality offered by the Therfield canteen now is excellent. I do have vague memories of blue custard from when I was a pupil at school, which was somewhat startling as well as off-putting.

What were your favourite lessons?
English, English Literature and Latin; I loved language, literature and debate. My teachers in these subjects were inspirational. They showed me what I was capable of achieving and the lessons were challenging and fun just what they ought to be.

So, your Desert Island Disc?
Its so difficult to choose just one it depends on my mood. Schuberts Unfinished Symphony is wonderful, but since there would be no one around to hear me I could enjoy myself singing along to Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook.

What is your favourite film of all time?
One that would be right up there with the best is In The Heat of the Night: superb acting, thrilling plot and cultural tension.

If you were to have a meal in your honour and there was one space still available, who would you like to fill it?
On the basis that my family would already be there, the Queen. Just think of the experiences she has had, the people she has met, the political situations she has dealt with over the years it would be fascinating!

How do you like to relax away from your work?
Spending time with my family, looking after my chickens and gardening. Double digging a raised bed and battling with slugs over seedlings present a different set of challenges to my day-to-day work, which makes them absorbing and relaxing.

If you were prime minister for one day, whats the first thing youd do?
Probably unsurprisingly, I would increase spending on education. It may be a clich, but children are the future and it must be a priority to ensure that they have the knowledge, understanding and skills to make the future happy and successful for us all. We have world-class potential in our children that can be realised through world-class teaching and facilities in our schools.

More from Surrey Life

Yesterday, 12:41

Bella Vou run us through CO2RE Intima, a non-surgical treatment helping with women’s intimate health

Read more
Tue, 16:16

At Sir William Perkins’s School (SWPS) the aim is to build confidence, integrity and excellence in a caring, innovative and happy community so that each student leaves with the best possible chance of achieving her full potential and ready to take on the world.

Read more
Tue, 11:43

If the colder weather is making you feel like escaping to somewhere snug and cosy, you might be surprised to find some perfect rural retreats right on your doorstep. Here’s our pick of the best to discover in Surrey…

Read more
Tue, 11:33

Get ready to laugh, boo and hiss, and cheer on your favourite childhood heroes in the array of pantomimes coming to Surrey theatres this Christmas

Read more
Tue, 11:01

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Mon, 16:01

Actress, singer and entertainer, Anita Harris has travelled the world in an illustrious career that spans over five decades. From her home in Chertsey, she talks to Tinx Newton about the people she has worked with, her tour and life in Surrey

Read more
Mon, 14:13

If there's ever a time of year when a brisk, bracing walk is needed, then winter and the lead-up to the festive season is surely it. Here we round up a few of our Surrey favourites

Read more
Mon, 13:01

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (14, 15 and 16 December): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Surrey is a county full of festive delights. Think cosy pubs, frosty views and long winter walks. We pick 22 wonderful reasons to spend Christmas in Surrey.

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Surrey this month

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With beautiful countryside, stunning villages and plenty of bluebells during spring, Surrey is an amazing place for a stroll

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Pupils at The Hawthorns School in Bletchingley collected over 5,800 items of food for the Loveworks foodbanks in Reigate and Merstham

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

We’ve teamed up with Grand Illusions to give one lucky reader the opportunity to win a £250 gift card with the stylish homeware brand

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Celebrating its 25 anniversary, Kinghams restaurant is found at the heart of one of Surrey’s most iconic villages. Matthew Williams visits to discover the secrets of its longevity

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search