Interview with Malvern St James' headmistress

Leading girls' school, Malvern St James is making a name for itself, transforming students from children to powerful, ambitious and successful women; in SoGlos' interview, head teacher Olivera Raraty tells us how.

Step inside Malvern St James in our exclusive interview.
Step inside Malvern St James in our exclusive interview.

Known for their role in helping students to achieve incredible things, be ambitious and in some cases, make history, Malvern St James Girls School is set inside a stunning historic building with a seriously impressive academic offering to match.

Talking to SoGlos about helping its girls break the social boundaries and grow as a person, head teacher Olivera Raraty explains what makes the school stand out.

Can you tell us a little bit about Malvern St James?

Malvern St James is a leading boarding and day school with a strong heritage for girls aged four to 18 years-old. We celebrate every girl being unique and we nurture pupils’ personalities and individual passions.

What’s your favourite aspect of the school?

There are so many wonderful aspects of school life that it’s quite hard to choose. I really love our assemblies, which are often led by the girls themselves, and it’s one time in the day when the whole community comes together.

It’s great hearing about the things that matter to the girls and seeing how they put their ideas across, often in very sensitive and thought-provoking ways.

Tell us something we don’t know about Malvern St James

The school has a long association with Elgar who taught at the school and set up the Malvern Concert Club which the school still has close links to. We even have one of Elgar’s pianos in the building.

The school is often referred to as Hogwarts. It is very similar in design to St Pancras Station in London and used to be the best hotel in Malvern, known as ‘The Imperial’. There is a tunnel called The Worm linking the train station to our building, so that in Malvern’s heyday as a centre for the water cure, hotel guests didn’t have to get wet on their way to the hotel.

What’s the most unusual thing students can do as extracurricular?

A number of our clubs have been initiated by our pupils including the very popular ukulele club which a talented year seven pupil is leading. On the sports side, we offer Pilates, yoga and spinning to older pupils alongside traditional sports. Survival Science has been an intriguing and popular new activity this year too.

What’s your favourite part of your role?

I love the sheer variety of my role; no two days are the same, but most of all I enjoy being with the girls and watching them develop their talents and passions over the years.

There is so much intellectual and creative life here at MSJ. Anything which involves celebrating the girls’ achievement and seeing them develop and perform, is always a great delight.

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