This issue of Centre Stage With… is with our Estates Manager Antonietta (Tonia) Capasso. Tonia joined St James in 2018 and manages our wonderful estates team who you see on the gate every morning. No day is ever the same for Tonia and her team, one minute they are setting up stages for a play, the next they are helping eco-committee with their environmental audit or loading the vans for Sports Day. Whatever they do though they always do it with a smile (as long as you bring a Risk Assessment!) Read Tonia’s Interview below.

I am the only one in my family that lives outside Italy, which makes me very popular when I go back. I have inherited all the lovely quirkiness of a typical Italian mamma, so all my guests are offered an espresso as soon as they visit and Saturday night is homemade pizza.

Prior to joining St James, I worked at the BBC in West and Central London for 10 years. My favourite office was a small room at the BBC Maida Vale studios where thousands of classical, popular music and dramas were recorded. I have many fond memories of my summers spent listening to the BBC symphony orchestra rehearse for the Proms.

In 2014 I walked 110km to Santiago de Compostela via the Portuguese walk. I met incredible people along the way, every pilgrim had a different reason for joining the journey. On my return I decided to hang the Santiago shell, “concha”, in my room as a reminder that “life is a journey not a destination”. When the opportunity arose to interview for a job at St James for the Estates Manager role, 3 and half years ago, and seeing their school symbol is a shell, I realised it was meant to be.

What attracted you to St James?

It is impossible not be fascinated by the story behind St James and how a group of parents came together to create an educational environment where children discuss philosophy, practise meditation and learn about the importance of being in harmony with their mind and body.

What makes a St James education stand out?

I am not a teacher but I understand and observe how beneficial it is to teach and practise meditation and yoga, from a very young age. I love seeing the teachers and pupils arriving at school every day with such joy and enthusiasm - it is a good indication of what life in the classroom must be like.

What strikes you about St James pupils?

One of my favourite moments has been participating in the eco -committee meeting during which every member, even the youngest, were equally encouraged to come up with ideas to make the school more environmentally friendly, and assigned a specific task.

The confidence instilled in them was tangible and I could see they realised how important their projects are in making a difference.