Interview with Miss Lauren Robinson, Head of Science
On the College’s Instagram account we recently featured a photo of our Head of Science, Miss Lauren Robinson, along with a recent guest speaker, IVF pioneer Professor Lord Robert Winston. In response, we received several nice messages from Old Queens who had fond memories of being taught by Miss Robinson and were pleased to see she was back teaching at the College. She now teaches Psychology (a recently introduced A-level subject), as well as being Head of Science. We interviewed Miss Robinson to find out more about why she chose to come back to Queen’s.
When did you start teaching at Queen's and why did you join?
I first started teaching at Queen’s in September 2011 (I think). I was moving to London from Nottingham and had been looking for my first permanent teaching post and was excited to work at a school that had such an important historical background for educating young women. I think a good education gives you freedom to pursue any life you chose, and I liked the idea of working somewhere that pioneered this idea.
You left and then came back again as Head of Science – why was that?
I left Queen’s because I was excited to go on a bit of adventure to live abroad again ( I grew up overseas) but I unfortunately timed my move to coincide with Covid. Being away from my family in a different part of the world, whilst living through various lockdowns, wasn’t ideal, so I decided to move back to the UK. I initially worked at another school in central London but then the opportunity to come back to Queen’s as Head of Science arose, and I was happy to have the chance to return. The school was also introducing Psychology as an A-level subject, which I was able to teach, and I was excited about this.
How has the College itself changed since you first worked here?
There have obviously been shifts in staff, rules, uniforms, policies and more - but the overall sense of community and kindness that I feel the College prides itself on, is very much still present.
What's been the highlight of your teaching career at Queen's to date?
My time at the College has been filled with lots of exciting moments and so it’s hard to pick just a few! I remember completing my second year of teaching and I had a group of Senior Biologists who I really enjoyed teaching. I was very happy when they all got their various offers to go to leading universities and study various exciting subjects. Lots of the really lovely moments have also been as a product of the work I was originally doing when I was a Head of Section. Some of these highlights include really small moments where I was helping a specific pupil get through a stressful set of exams, or checking in with someone daily. It was fantastic to see that, by the end of a term, things were back on track. I have also met some wonderful people working here and think this matters as your colleagues really help to make a work environment enjoyable.
And the lowlight...?
When I first started teaching we went on a school trip where a pupil got temporarily separated from her group on the London Underground. Although they were soon located and the trip continued without any further issues, it was a very stressful window of time and one I hope never to repeat!
Without naming any names, what makes you particularly remember certain pupils?
I hope to remember them all, but I fear my memory just isn’t that good! Often the pupils I remember are the ones that were very ‘naughty’ or spent a lot of time in my office for various reasons. Saying this though, I bumped into some pupils whilst I was on holiday in Spain this summer, and they immediately asked if I remembered them, and I absolutely did. Neither of them were naughty or spent time in my office, so this bodes well! They were both at university and it was lovely to see them looking so happy. They were also still best friends, which they were very keen to tell me. It’s always lovely to see old pupils and hear about their adventures!
You recently welcomed Professor Lord Robert Winston, one of the pioneers of IVF, to Queen’s to speak to students. Can you tell us what his talk was about?
Professor Winston very kindly gave his time to come and talk to the pupils about his research work, but also about the journey that he had taken from school, that led him to the career he then pursued in research. He then gave pupils free reign to ask him any questions that they might want to about his life and work. The pupils asked him about the findings from his scientific work, the ethics of research using embryos, whether he had any regrets and a huge range of other thought-provoking issues. We are very grateful that he gave his time to come and see us!
As part of our "Queen's Reads" series, Julia Rank reviews a new biography of Katherine Mansfield (OQ) in her centenary y… More...