Meet Maria Kemp Headteacher at St Bede’s Catholic College 

By Glossy Magazine

Meet Maria Kemp Headteacher at St Bede's Catholic College

Meet Maria Kemp Headteacher at St Bede’s Catholic College 

Meet Maria Kemp Headteacher at St Bede's Catholic College

Empathetic Maria Kemp, the Madrid-born headteacher of St Bede’s Catholic College, believes implicitly in the uniqueness of every human being and regards each of our lives as a gift. 

Head of this private school since November 2021, Mrs Kemp constantly strives to encourage self-assurance and individuality in her 203 full and part-time staff members, her 770 pupils, aged from three to 18, and naturally, in her own seven children. Founded in 1876, and co-educational for the last 40 years, St Bede’s College boasts a 60% Catholic intake, guaranteeing that its students experience the life-enriching reality of a diverse community, whilst simultaneously affirming their own faith. For example, Mass is attended once each half term where spiritual Maria, a firm but never dogmatic believer, explains to pupils what it means to be Catholic.

On taking up her post, the positive-thinking Mrs Kemp quickly focused her attention on her teachers as well as her pupils. Intuitively drawn towards boosting morale, she replaced various negative educational ploys, such as ‘tick-boxes’, with an all-encompassing and affirmative reward system. Its impact by 2023 was clear as St Bede’s College attained its best-ever ISI rating. This spelled gratification for the dedicated, hard-working staff and success for the pupils themselves.  

Kemp’s parallel roles as educator, headteacher, parent and grandparent afford her many insights. Relishing the challenges of this, her second headship, she adds: “Any journey you have walked along brings you wisdom. If you’ve had children, you understand completely the concerns of parents for their offspring and the subsequent need to provide them with the best. Their happiness is paramount and we are entrusted with a crucial part of each individual child’s upbringing. Youngsters are very clever and do not respond to mediocrity. 

“Moreover, we are not here to police them but to be inspired by their good behaviour and to be aware of the inner satisfaction they gain by doing good for others. Our pupils are now proud to do well and will open the door for you with pleasure. We want them to believe in themselves in order ultimately to cope with anything, no matter what life will throw at them.” 

She continues, “When children realise you have given them self-ownership in order to also be a gift to others, many of their unwanted behaviour patterns change completely. I want our students to understand their own actions and reactions, to choose how they behave and to instinctively develop the senses required to survive and thrive.”

To maintain a strong teacher-pupil relationship, to foster stability and to get to know each other well, pupils spend five years with one form tutor in classes of around 15. Additionally, they receive monthly one-to-one mentoring to ensure any problems are swiftly noted and attended to. 

The remarkable 51-year-old Mrs Kemp’s goals extend beyond the classroom in supporting parents to teach their children a true appreciation of the good in the world around them. Let St Bede’s Catholic College offer your child its excellent academic, sporting and performing arts education.

St Bede’s College

Alexandra Park, Manchester M16 8HX

Tel: 0161 226 3323   

Preparatory Department: 0161 226 7156