Mercedes Hernández Estrada - CEO of Upton Court Educational Trust
Mercedes Hernández Estrada has been involved in education in the UK for over twenty years. Born and educated in Spain she developed an interest in Languages and she completed a BA in Modern Foreign Languages and an MA in Anglo Germanic Philology at the University Of Oviedo in northern Spain. She moved to the UK in the late 80s and has worked in schools in the South of England since.
She was a Lead Practitioner for Curriculum Design and Leadership for three years working with schools and Local Authorities in the South of England, from Plymouth to Kent. Before joining the school in 2010 she was a deputy headteacher at Tonbridge Grammar School, a Kent selective girls’ school after a move from Regent’s Park School in Southampton where she was an Assistant headteacher.
Her interest in languages and multiculturalism attracted her to Slough as an area. Upton Court Grammar School was the perfect school where she could put her experience and energy to serve the school. Dickens once said “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (”A Tale of Two Cities”). This reflects what is happening at present in the education sector. Finances are tight and the funding for schools is diminishing in real terms. This has forced us to be creative and resourceful. Mrs Hernandez Estrada has worked to secure the highest standard of education by recruiting the best students and teachers as well as providing them with an outstanding physical environment in which to learn. The school has benefited from grants of approximately 4 million in the last two years. The new English block opened during the academic year 2011/12 and a new restaurant and Sixth Form Centre opened in April 2013. The school has invested in ICT equipment and the refurbishment and maintenance of the main block.
She believes this school is in a position to provide leadership to others and share our expertise with others on areas such as teaching the more able, school leadership and teacher training. We have the moral duty to do so.
Mrs Hernández Estrada strongly believes that the future of education relies on schools supporting each other and Upton Court Grammar School is more than ready to pull its weight. Currently she is working on setting up the SASH Free School to provide additional school places to Slough children. She is also a member of the Interim Executive Board of a local primary school and the Executive Headteacher for Foxborough Primary school which is part of the Upton Court Educational Trust. Under her leadership Upton Court Grammar School became a “Teaching School” with responsibility for recruiting and deploying prospective teachers for training. Currently over 20 have been placed in primary and secondary schools in Slough.
In her spare time she enjoys walking her dogs, Lily and Charlie, and going to the gym. Her husband is a Drama teacher and both enjoy supporting school functions at each other’s schools and theatre visits. She travels to Spain regularly to visit her relatives, particularly her mother who still lives in northern Spain and her younger brother and his family who live in Madrid.