Irene Stewart Assistant Head Pupil Support & Head of Support for Learning
I joined Merchiston in August 2007 as Head of Support for Learning in the Junior School then became Primary Director of Studies before taking on the wider whole school role of Head of Faculty of Support for Learning. For three years I was Assistant Housemaster in Chalmers East and in 2016 I was appointed Assistant Head Pupil Support, with Sixth Form being the main area of the School I support.
Previously, I taught French and German and was Head of Modern Languages before embarking on a postgraduate course in Special Educational Needs, focusing on dyslexia. This led me to teach in Primary schools before my move to Merchiston. I am an accredited assessor, qualified to undertake assessments which are recognised by the exam boards.
Every day I drive in to School I am so grateful for the opportunity to work in such a beautiful and special place. I even look forward to coming back to work after holidays! Working with such a dedicated staff and getting to know the boys and parents so well is a privilege. I am passionate about supporting the boys to achieve their very best in all areas and particularly enjoy watching the development of the boys in Support for Learning as they grow in confidence and recognise and use the strengths they have, despite the challenges they may face. Pupil Support in its broader sense underpins all that we do and I value being able to support boys and staff in this area. Every day is different and brings its own demands, which, fortunately, I find invigorating.
I love going on holiday, particularly to sunnier climes, where I can spend time indulging in reading, something I have very little time for during the school year. I have a keen interest in all sorts of music and love attending classical music concerts and the theatre, both of which are easy to do in Edinburgh. Singing is one of my favourite pastimes; I conducted choirs for many years and I now enjoy singing in two choirs.
One of the many highlights of the year is the day of the Christmas dinners. The catering staff go even further above and beyond their usual high standard on this day, with three sittings for the different areas of the School. The funniest part for me is the singing of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, with everyone taking part with great gusto. Particularly hilarious was the year Mr Johnston thought it would be a good idea for us to sing every verse in a different language!