Fiona Hawkins

Headteacher St Barnabas School

This meeting was held on January 30, 2019

The cheerful shrieking at the heart of Jericho comes, as is well known, from St Barnabas Church of England Primary School. Fiona Hawkins has been the head of the school since 2008, having previously served as deputy head under Jane Thomas from 2004. She has been a teacher since 1980, always in Church schools.

This is her final year.

A round motherly smiling figure, Fiona Hawkins last week faced a class of grey-haired Jericho Community Association stalwarts for whom life’s clockwork is much run down. Their running and screaming days far behind them, happy memories of being rapped on the knuckles or slapped on the legs in their own schooldays now long ago.

All agree St Barnabas’ reputation as a warm, caring school. Educating a varied population of children, 30% with English as a second language, an increasing number eligible for free school meals. A psychotherapist comes in one day a week. There is a ratio of 30 children per teacher. The school chose not to become an academy.

Fiona Hawkins says she has never been bored. She gets into work at 7 in the morning; 8.30-9.00 a.m, she stands outside the single entrance to supervise the arrival of the children. She still teaches in the classroom as well as running the school.

“We have been very true to ourselves,” she says. There is a voluntary Christian assembly, on Thursday the clergy come in. “Everybody has got a place.”

So far as health and safety is concerned, snowballing is not allowed. No phones are allowed in the classroom. The issue of conkers has never arisen.

“I will be sobbing as I leave.”

It would be alarming to find oneself shrunk back to one’s childhood self, compelled to put on short trousers again. Perhaps less so if beginning one’s encounter with the world in Mrs Hawkins’ school.

Report by: Roger Howe

My Jericho is a weekly series of conversations organized by John Mair. Most are at the community centre but there are also visits to interesting places in and around Jericho. Entry £2.00 or, if at the Community Centre, you can bring a cake. Profits to the JCA.

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Some events include a tour. So we have an idea of numbers, please book via Eventbrite where indicated.

Forthcoming meetings

Date Venue
Wed 20 Feb
Mark Damazer

Former MD of Radio 4, Master of St Peters College

Community Centre
Tue 26 Feb
Peter Hitchens

Mail on Sunday columnist

Community Centre
Wed 6 Mar
Flamenco and Jericho history
Guitarist Marcos Young and Sue Pead
Community Centre
Wed 3 Apr
Father Christopher
St Barnabas Church
St Barnabas Church Cafe
Wed 10 Apr
Bill Emmot

Former editor of The Economist

Community Centre
Wed 17 Apr
Peter Bennett Jones
Hat Trick productions
Community Centre
Wed 1 May
Wine and cheese party
End of run party
Jericho Cheese Company, Little Clarendon Street

Previous events

At the community centre

13-02-19Jericho Community Boatyard
06-02-19Susanna Pressel
30-01-19Fiona Hawkins
04-12-18Former postman, Ali
21-11-18Baroness Jan Royall
14-11-18Alan Rusbridger
07-11-18Rough sleepers in Oxford
31-10-18David Mills
17-10-18Roma Tearne
09-10-18Evening for Bill Heine
03-10-18Sir Christopher Ball
12-09-18Richard Dick
15-08-18Susan Brown
29-03-18Maggie Black
21-03-18Sir Rick Trainor
15-03-18Will Wyatt
14-03-18Ian Stuart
07-03-18Steph Pirrie
21-02-18Fr Jonathan Beswick
14-02-18Mark Davies
06-02-18Pandora Maxwell
31-01-18Sir Richard Peto
24-01-18Teresa O’Hara
17-01-18Maggie Whitlum
10-01-18Michel Sadones


23-01-19Lady Margaret Hall
09-01-19Lord Mayor’s Parlour
18-04-18Worcester College