Sarah Teasdale, Bursar | Epsom College
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Sarah Teasdale, Bursar

On 6 September 2021, Mr Jay Piggot, Headmaster, wrote the following letter to all staff.


Dear Colleagues,

Despite the strictures of the Gospel of St Matthew, the inevitable fate of a first-rate Bursar is that their light is partially hidden under a bushel. After all, a bushel is a vessel that contained a bushel in measure. The very nature of the role of a Bursar is quietly to weigh, measure, apportion and enable.

To those of us who have worked closely with Sarah Teasdale over the course of her 18 years’ outstanding service at the College, she has lit up the firmament of her rather opaque kingdom. Many schools have moved away from the title of Bursar to that of School Operations Manager to provide a more accurate description of the scale and scope of the responsibilities. Sarah line-manages 390 unique individuals, oversees the College Finance, Estate, Catering, Maintenance and acts as Clerk to the Board of Governors. She is a veritable force of nature, starting work at 6.30am with emails shaping the course of our day, her ritual conversations with the Second Master commence at first light, neither colleague has yet to perfect the art of sleeping.

The interview panel of Governors that appointed Sarah back in 2003 noted that she presented as pleasant, smiling, business like and in possession of an interesting CV. Sarah proved to be all of these things; her CV is, indeed, compelling reading. As Head Girl at Blundell’s School in Devon, Sarah proceeded to study Architecture at University College, London. Despite attaining a BSc (Hons) in Architecture, this former Head of School changed tack and negotiated all the interminable examinations (with first time passes) to emerge as a qualified Chartered Accountant in 1994. There were further twists and turns along the road that lead to Epsom, as an Audit Supervisor, Reporting Accountant, International Reporting Manager and Financial Controller; however, once she crossed the threshold onto College Road, she had found her true calling.

In my nine years as Head, Sarah has played an integral part in all that we have endeavoured to achieve. Each morning begins for me with a meeting at 8.00am with the Bursar, Second Master and Deputy Head Academic, Sarah is always on receive, when she speaks, you listen, as she understands the school intimately as a Bursar, Tutor, former parent and colleague. She has that wonderful gift of being able to get alongside people and help them to reach the height of their ability without any residue of conflict or censorship. Her powers of diplomacy are legendary; she steers Heads, Governors, Teachers and Parents away from folly with tact, humour and inexhaustible goodwill.

In 2015 Sarah was heralded in ‘The Weeks Independent Schools Guide’ as one of the independent sectors ‘Unsung Heroes’. Sarah never promotes herself; she quietly gets on with writing acclaimed policies, peerless speadsheets and raising £9.4 million buildings from the ashes. To many her light may have been hidden under a bushel; on departing, let her be acknowledged as a monument to professionalism, efficiency, judgment, friendship, diplomacy and good character.

Sarah Teasdale departs from the College in April to take up the position as Bursar at St Paul’s Girls School, she leaves with the appreciation and good wishes of all at the College.

Yours ever,

Jay Piggot