Remarkable people make for a remarkable place to work. With over 500 staff across our Trust, we have many stories to tell. Our staff bring passion and dedication to their work, our pupils and the communities in which we are located. We’ve created fantastic teams in all of our schools and become an employer of choice for talented people who aspire for greatness in everything they do. But don’t just take our word for it, find out more by reading some of our staff’s personal stories.
Dawn Simpson, Year 2 Class Teacher, Loatlands Primary School
I started my career in education as a parent volunteer at Loatlands Primary School. I had been made redundant and the opportunity of volunteering at the school caught my interest. From 2006 I was employed as a Teaching Assistant and whilst in this role I studied for a degree in Learning and Teaching.
In 2011, I moved to a new school to complete my teacher training, then I spent three years teaching in KS1 at a school in Kettering. I always kept in touch with my Loatlands colleagues and they were the ones who told me about a teaching post becoming available and encouraged me to apply. I’d always been keen to return to the school as I’d loved working there and the school had supported and encouraged me on my journey to becoming a qualified teacher.
I was excited to return to the school as a teacher and needless to say, I received a very warm welcome and everyone was very supportive of me in my new role.
Since returning to Loatlands I’ve been well supported by the Senior Leadership Team with training, guidance and encouragement. I have been given the opportunity to develop my knowledge, skills and experience and have taken on a role as a middle leader. Collaborative working within the Trust has enabled me to build professional supportive relationships within the Trust schools and I have been able to learn from and support colleagues within KS1.
My Improvement Champion role has involved working with senior leaders from all schools in the Trust and delivering workshops in those schools. I have gained experience of working with other school leaders and in different settings and have been able to observe practice and take strategies back to my own school.
Within the next academic year I will be completing the NPQSL with Pathfinder Schools and look forward to leading an area of school development and gaining more experience.
Helen Bray, Learning Facilitator, Havelock Infant School
I have worked in childcare since the age of 16 and have a BTEC National Diploma in Childhood Studies. When my eldest child started at Havelock, I began to get more closely involved with the school and became a lunchtime supervisor and classroom volunteer.
Because of my previous experience within early years education, I was already supporting the staff with feedback on children and also giving 1:1 support to children. A new early year's role had been created and I was asked if I would consider applying for the job. I wouldn’t have applied had it not been for the belief that the team showed in me. They gave me confidence in my own abilities and encouraged me to take a step out of my comfort zone – and I’ve never looked back.
In 2016, after stumbling on an open day at a local children’s centre, it inspired me to pursue my dream of getting a degree. The school were happy to support me through this, putting additional staff in place so I could take time out of the classroom to study. I went on to successfully complete both my BA and Early Years Teacher Training.
I feel I could not have considered higher education if I had not had the experiences at Havelock School. The nurturing and supportive nature of the senior managers at the time of my initial employment meant I felt capable and confident as an early years professional.
Every day is different and supporting the children as they begin their journey into education is a real privilege. I am passionate about supporting our Special Needs children and helping them access the curriculum is what keeps me here. It’s been an exciting journey so far and one I hope to continue with Pathfinder Schools.
Claire Petchey, Modern Foreign Languages Teacher & Y7 Progress Leader, Montsaye Academy
Having successfully completed my NQT year in 2013, I then applied to work at Montsaye Academy and have been here ever since! I wanted to join Pathfinder Schools as I was attracted to the Trust’s values – a belief that anyone can find their own greatness always strikes a chord with me and I know that the Trust really believes in its students and staff.
The progress element of my role means that I look after attendance, behaviour and progress of the Year 7 students at Montsaye. That includes working with Heads of Department to drive improvement across our curriculum. I also deal with all elements of transitioning our new pupils into the school. We love getting parents and pupils in through the doors so they can experience what we do here for themselves.
My favourite aspect of working in education is the students themselves – I have always enjoyed their company and really appreciate the humour, incisiveness and honesty that young people bring to the world. My success as a teacher here has built on the shared ideas of colleagues and I truly believe that by working together we will achieve even more.
Our enrichment culture is something special too. It is such a privilege to be able to spend time with the students outside of the classroom, to understand them better and encourage them to try new experiences. The interaction with students and the relationships I have built with my classes is what motivates me and makes me immensely proud.
It has taken a great team and a culture change to create a school we and the community are truly proud of. It was here that I learned the values of honesty, high expectations and team work, and how they can motivate both staff and students to “go the extra mile.”
It feels like we have been on a real journey as a school, seeing our school go from strength to strength. But, there is always more to be done and we are definitely not resting on our laurels!