PROUD duo Roberta Kirby and Caroline Kirby-Hawkins have become the city’s first mother and daughter to lead schools as head teachers.
Former teaching assistant Caroline, 33, now heads up Wimborne Infant School – a short 10-minute walk away from where her mum, 58-year-old Roberta, has led Fernhurst Junior School for 15 years.
Under their stewardship they guide the education of scores of city children – and they could not be more delighted to be carrying out the important task.
Roberta, who has been working in Portsmouth schools for 24 years, said: ‘I was so pleased when Caroline became acting head teacher and am so proud of her achievements. Teaching is such a tough job for young professionals. To be a teacher you have to love the job, and Caroline clearly does.
‘Having already worked in the school she knew what she was getting into.’
Just 10 years ago Caroline was working as a teaching assistant but is now acting head teacher.
She said: ‘Having a mum who is recognised by Ofsted as an outstanding headteacher has been really inspirational.
‘Every conversation we ever had has provided some form of training for my role today.
‘I really enjoyed working with the children and the staff were so inspirational that I decided to do a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and qualified as a teacher in 2012.’
She added: ‘I have now been teaching for 10 years and I can honestly say there has not been a single day I didn’t want to come to work.
‘Every day is different and it’s so rewarding knowing you’re making a difference.
‘As acting head teacher I miss being in the classroom and next year I hope to be able to spend more time supporting classes.’
Despite the demands of Caroline’s new role, including ‘handling a million pound budget,’ she is secure in the knowledge she always has her mum to turn to. They both offer each other advice – with Roberta admitting she will often call Caroline on tips on children’s use of social media.
Year 4 pupil, Sakina Yousif, eight, is in the unique position of being a pupil currently under the headship of Roberta but was previously taught at Wimborne by Caroline.
Safina said: ‘It is really cool that they are both now head teachers. I loved being taught by Mrs Kirby.’