Julia Harrington

Julia was educated at Lydney Grammar School, in Gloucestershire, and studied History and Government and Politics at Exeter University. She is currently Headmistress of Queen Anne’s School in Berkshire, an independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11 – 18. Queen Anne’s School is part of the Westminster Grey Coat Foundation of schools, which includes 2 academies (both comprehensive) and 3 independent schools.

Julia’s first job was at the Independent Television Companies Association, at first working for the Legal Adviser, then taking on the role of Qualitative Research Co-ordinator. After this she was appointed as a management executive to the General Secretary of the association. Following the birth of her 3 children Julia then trained as a history teacher. She joined Prior’s Field School in 1996 and was appointed Deputy Head in 2003. Julia joined Queen Anne’s School as Headmistress in 2006.

Julia, who has also trained as a psychodynamic counsellor, has always been interested in psychology and neuroscience. In 2013, she established BrainCanDo (BCD), a charitable company focusing on educational neuroscience. She believed that the knowledge gained from the growing body of new research into how the brain learns, and its potential - as well as its vulnerability - during adolescence and early adulthood, should be fed into the education system and translated into learning and wellbeing programmes for schools and colleges to help students, teachers and parents.

Working with academics at a number of universities including the Universities of Reading and Goldsmiths (University of London), BrainCanDo has undertaken research into a various areas including emotional contagion, the effect of music on sporting and academic performance, the value of self-affirmation and sleep and bio-rhythms. BrainCanDo has also led programmes on how to deal with anxiety and stress, especially in preparing for exams, how memory works, and has developed resources for teachers to develop their own expertise and bring evidence-based teaching practice into the classroom. BrainCanDo works with independent and state schools to deliver training, consultancy and workshop programmes.

Julia is currently studying for her master's in Educational Neuroscience at the Centre for Educational Neuroscience, part of Birkbeck and UCL Universities.

Julia is the HMC (Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference) representative on ASCL (Association of School and College Leaders) Council, and is also an elected member of the Council for the Chartered College of Teaching. She is also a Trustee of the charity Berkshire Women’s Aid.

Julia Harrington

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