Mrs McCabe believed that subject rigour, depth of subject knowledge and the ability to communicate a love of subject to students are the fundamental requirements for effective teaching.
She had a passion for art and literature, and was responsible for building the Performing Arts Centre in 2007, which now hosts over 50 productions and concerts each year, and enables every girl to participate in performances.
Mrs McCabe was Co-Director of the Princes Teaching Institute, and together with her NLCS teaching staff, has shared a commitment to subject based learning with over 1000 maintained schools and 3300 teachers. She served on a number of governing bodies and national education committees in the maintained and independent sectors, including the National Grammar Schools Association and the GSA/HMC Universities Committee. In 2010 she became a member of the Government's National Curriculum Review Advisory Committee and was named in the Evening Standard's Top 1000 Most Influential People in London.
Mrs McCabe encouraged students to be outward-looking and internationally minded, and set up overseas NLCS branches in Jeju and Dubai.
In the Summer of 2017, Mrs McCabe stepped down after 20 years as Headmistress and took up the position of NLCS Director of International Schools and Education Strategy.
In June 2018, Mrs McCabe was made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace for her services to education. Whilst serving as Headmistress, the School consistently maintained its position as one of the most academically successful schools in England.
In early 2018, Mrs McCabe was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. She faced the last twelve months of her life with remarkable courage and dignity. She died peacefully at home on 18 February 2019.
Bernice was an inspiring educationalist, whose interests and energies were manifold. Her passion for the provision of a scholarly, and academically challenging education, led her to introduce the International Baccalaureate Diploma alongside A levels and the Pre-U at North London Collegiate School. Her desire to enable future generations of teachers to be able to burnish and develop the love of their subjects was felt both here at NLCS, as well as in our sister schools in Jeju and Dubai, and also in her work with The Prince’s Teaching Institute.
Bernice’s legacy will continue at the School. She was committed to providing educational opportunities for children who otherwise would not have been able to afford them here at School and The Bernice McCabe Bursary Fund was set up in her name to honour this.