Dr Annalisa Alexander

Director of Prep

I am a scientist by training, I love everything to do with science and above all, I love getting children excited about the world around them and how science plays a part in it all. After studying for a PhD in Plant Ecology at Imperial College London, I moved into schools’ outreachwork at Imperial straight after – this allowed me to design and set up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) programmes and events for pupils from Reception to Sixth Form to help them with their schoolwork and to provide support for teachers too. I’ve always enjoyed working in schools and seeing children (and teachers!) have that ‘lightbulb’ moment in a lesson is incredible. Over the years, I’ve trained hundreds of STEM students from universities to be tutors androle models in classrooms across London – their passion for their subject really shines through. In my spare time, I’m a mum to two boys (both at The Royal Senior), I’m a qualified running coach with Haslemere Borders Athletics Club, I love horse riding and I have apassion for crafting and sewing. Above all, I love to be busy!!

What work experiences led you to the role you are in today?

When I was 16, I really wanted to be a primary school teacher and so I spent a few weeks working in local primary schools in Colchester, where I grew up. I also did some work experience in a science lab at the University of Essex but whilst I enjoyed the science element, I realised I actually liked being able to demonstrate and teach, rather than just work on my own on a research project. I always knew I wanted to do a PhD because I loved learning and I really enjoyed the deep-dive study that a 3-year PhD gives you. But once I had finished, I then moved into schools’ outreach so I could share my passion for science with children and show them that it’s not scary or unattainable. I’ve worked with a lot of under performing schools over the years and it’s really hard to see children bored or uninspired in class. Being able to help re-ignite their passion and help them achieve top grades is a huge honour and something I will never take for granted nor get tired of.

What’s the most exciting project you’re working on right now? What makes it so interesting?

I am really excited about bringing the Prep School up to Stoatley! In my role of Chair of Governors, I’ve been able to help kick the process off and now we are beginning to plan what the classrooms, learning spaces and outdoor areas are going to look like. I think this must be the dream – creating a school from scratch! It’s great to be able to work with Prep School staff too who have some brilliant ideas for what they want – this is most definitely a team effort and seeing some of the classrooms coming to life has given us all a real buzz.

What do you love most about your job and why?

Being a Governor has allowed me to really understand how the school works from the inside out, support its development and celebrate all of the achievements of our incredible staff and children. I’ve seen the school go from being all girls to proudly co-ed and I’m really excited for what the future holds for The Royal. Taking on the role of Director of Prep in June will be a hugely exciting opportunity to bring our Prep up to Farnham Lane, share the beautiful grounds and establish a solid foundation for our younger pupils. Creativity and learning through play will be at the heart of what we are building for the children, along with some innovative spaces and the chance to explore some of the shared facilities that the Senior School can offer.

Who inspires you?

I’ve had the privilege of meeting some incredible people over the years, along with some famous scientists and communicators. But the person who inspired me when I was younger was actually my Dad. He left school at 16 without much encouragement to study but then took himself back into Further Education as a mature student, through university and onto  a  PhD  because  he  was passionate about his subject. When I was growing up, he was always studying  but  he  worked incredibly hard and never gave up. He went on to become a professor and climbed the ranks of academia. His determination and ‘can do, WILL do’ attitude really inspired me.

What single item would you take on a deserted island?

My crochet hook – I reckon I could whip up an outfit and some bedding from vines, leaves or seaweed!

What is a fun fact no one knows about you?

I was an Extra/Supporting Artist on a couple of TV shows when I was a hard-up PhD student. They were long days, sitting around waiting but so much fun!

What’s your idea of a perfect day?

I love being outside, walking, running, riding, crafting, exploring, learning – it doesn’t matter, just being outside is so good for the soul. Even in the rain!

What # describe your personality best?




Describe The Royal School in 3 words




Your #FutureReady Top Tip?

Do your very best and you will be proud of what you have achieved.