Our Deputy Head of Academic, Tim Halsall tells us about the benefits of a career at Worksop College and Ranby House.
"When I first joined the College a hundred years ago, my Head of Department was on maternity leave and the Deputy Head was also new. While everyone was very kind to me and the other staff who joined (Mrs. Tilley and Mrs. Christodoulou among them), there was a feeling of being thrown in at the deep end. I’d had plenty of written material to read and absorb – but there’s always a bit of a gap between the theory and the practice!
How times have changed.
Not only do we now have a unique, bespoke introductory weekend where the whole school is given over to our new overseas pupils, so that they can learn their way around and understand the systems of the school, together with support for their parents about the British education system; we also now have a radically improved induction and support programme for new staff. Happy, supported staff mean they can genuinely care for the pupils, enabling them to feel supported and therefore happy - and challenged.
In part, this builds on the work of the Graduate Assistant Programme, which has been enormously successful. Recent graduates with an interest in teaching get to spend the year in a busy, developing boarding school, coaching Games, watching lessons, being Tutors and building towards a career in teaching from an excellent platform.
The College is similarly developing an excellent record at working with new teachers, with some of those Graduate Assistants working towards attaining the prestigious Qualified Teacher Status by working with people who are experts in their fields. And young teachers, full of bright ideas and the latest thinking, arrive as Newly Qualified Teachers and are able to engage in conversation with those of us who have been doing the job a bit longer.
Because here, we do not believe there are ‘dogs’ too old to be taught ‘new tricks’. So Ruth Gilmour, our Head of HR, has been handpicking her way through the staff – teaching and support – and training them further in the art of leadership and management, developing them as professionals and increasing the capacity at every level within the organisation at the grand total of no cost.
Equally, members of the middle leadership teams have been co-opted onto the Senior Leadership Team to develop them as individuals and also to work on a project that will benefit the whole organisation. The first was Mr. Parkin, Talbot Housemaster and former Director of Sport, who reviewed our sporting provision and made a recommendation that, in its first instance, led to the appointment of Mr. Chris Plume, our Sports Performance Director. That remit will cover all aspects of sport and games, from 3-18. The second version, now at its halfway point, has seen Dr. Sam Koon, Head of Latin, work on inspiring passion and creativity in teaching and learning.
To complement that, the term started with whole-staff training on ‘The Big Four’, a session designed to sustain improvements in teaching and learning focusing on Thinking Skills, Feedback, Independence and Challenge. So, if you’ve ever wondered what colour September is or if it is possible to stand on the same beach twice (that’s ‘thunking’ apparently), or if you’ve ever wondered how to join all of the following dots with only 4 straight lines, you’re now in the right place…
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A place that develops teachers, as individuals and professionals."