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Former Stoke-by-Nayland headteacher sets up new 'virtual primary school' business to provide alternative avenue for learning




A passion for education has given a teacher the freedom to be her own boss.

Sarah Smith was headteacher at Stoke-by-Nayland Primary School for two years until August, when she left to set up a business supporting families who home educate their children, as well as youngsters who may be struggling at school.

She has 20 years’ experience of teaching in primary schools across Essex and Suffolk but, during the pandemic, she realised she wanted to devote more time to her own family, as well as helping others.

Sarah Smith is former headteacher of Stoke-by-Nayland Primary School. She left in August to set up her new business (from September) specialising in tutoring children. ....Picture by Mecha Morton.... (51672732)
Sarah Smith is former headteacher of Stoke-by-Nayland Primary School. She left in August to set up her new business (from September) specialising in tutoring children. ....Picture by Mecha Morton.... (51672732)

“We have seen a rise, nationally, in families who are now choosing an alternative to traditional schooling and I am very supportive of that,” she said. “Traditional school is not for everyone and neither should it be.

Sarah, who has three children, Lewis, 13, Rio, 10, and Mason, seven, has developed Endeavour HQ, a virtual primary school, which offers lessons and workshops during the day to support the education families are delivering at home. She is also developing training material to share in schools.

“Dwindling budgets mean there is less and less money for schools to spend on training and up-skilling staff, yet this often has the biggest impact on school improvement,” she said.

“I know only too well that headteachers have so many things to juggle, so creating and delivering training on top of everything else can easily get overlooked.

“I want to try to lessen the load for headteachers by creating a range of affordable, short training videos that can be used to support continued professional development,” added Sarah, who is married to Alec, an HR director.

Before embarking on a teaching career, Sarah did a degree in music at the University of East Anglia.

So she is also offering piano and accordion tuition, having represented England in the World Accordion Championships.

“Music is great for the soul,” she said. “I had far less time to play the piano and accordion when I was a headteacher, so it is fantastic that I now have more time to focus on it.”