Assistant Vice Principal, Teaching and Learning
I have been teaching at Westminster Academy since September 2011. I joined as a graduate on the Teach First programme, and was very well supported during my training here by an excellent mentor, a very supportive staff body and a well-structured CPD training programme, which covered all aspects of teaching and learning. When I found aspects of my training year difficult, there was always someone to turn to. My colleagues' advice and support was invaluable and helped me progress a great deal.
Through Teach First, and with the support of the school, I then undertook a Masters qualification at the IOE, focusing on educational leadership. This helped me progress even further, both in terms of my teaching and developing as a leader. I also took part in the Teaching Leaders programme, again supported by the school. This helped me a great deal in terms of understanding my strengths and areas for development.
I'm now Assistant Vice Principal for Teaching and Learning and I help mentor and support teachers as they are developing their craft, whilst realising that I am still learning too! Teaching is a career where one never stops learning and developing, and I embrace reflection, openness and honesty.
Teacher of Science
I joined Westminster Academy, just over a year ago, straight from university where I obtained a first class degree in BSc Biotechnology. Initially for the first academic year I worked as an LSA in the SEN department. I worked with numerous SEN students with a variety of different needs in various different lessons. This experience has proven to be invaluable as it taught me to apply classroom routines, differentiation and develop positive relationships with my students; all the time in different classroom settings. In September 2018 I moved to teaching in the Science Department with the intention of training as a science teacher; training which formally commenced this January. I have found this experience to be very rewarding. I realised, more than ever, that teaching goes beyond the classroom. WA provides numerous opportunities to students of all abilities from a range of different backgrounds (e.g Reach Out Lab, and Primary Science, enrichment days and extra curricular clubs), and encourages students to develop scientific minds using the latest technology and equipment.
WA offers incredible training, not only INSET days but also weekly CPD training which is fine-tuning my teaching practice. For example, alongside comprehensive safeguarding practice, I have been fortunate to attend training sessions in AFL and differentiation, which I have been able to apply in my classroom. Most significantly I am discovering how children learn. I have also found that forming positive and nurturing relationships is imperative for students to build confidence and resilience.
I feel very fortunate to be training at WA because from the outset I have been very well supported by my mentors, be it in the SEN or Science department and consequently I have had the benefit of learning from very experienced teachers. Having spent the majority of my life in a different country, adapting to a different education system could not have gone any smoother and it is thanks to the help of an amazing staff body!
I came to teaching history through a slightly unusual route. I’ve always wanted to both teach and study history, so I went to graduate school to complete a PhD in Medieval History. While I was finishing my PhD, however, I began to realise that my favourite part of the whole degree was when I got to teach undergraduates. As a result, after I moved to the UK, I applied to Teach First, and I joined WA in 2017 as a trainee teacher.
WA has been an amazing place to train and develop as a History teacher. The many communities I belong to, from the History department to the Humanities department, to the staff body, to the school as a whole, are welcoming and serious. The staff are focused on how they can help students both academically and pastorally, and we all want to improve continuously. This is made possible through CPD opportunities both in school and the ones out of school that we are encouraged to take up. There is a teaching and learning blog that many teachers contribute to, and there are open and active conversations about how educational research can inform teaching, planning, and marking.
As I became the History Coordinator this year, I have been supported on all sides by the other History teachers, other Humanities teachers, our head of department, and others within the school. Although this is a new challenge, I have felt well-prepared both through this support and more formal programmes, like the coaching that’s offered to middle leaders.
I have felt both challenged and supported throughout my time so far at WA, and this is an ideal situation. I feel as though the opportunities at WA and the other staff help me to become a better teacher every day, as we all work together to serve our students to the best of our abilities.
Year 11 Coordinator, Teacher of MFL
I joined WA in 2017 after finishing the Teach First Programme. Over the past four years here I have felt extremely well-supported, challenged, and grateful for all of the opportunities that I have been offered and for the people that I have worked with.
Whilst at WA, I have completed my masters in Transformational Leadership through Teach First, the SSAT NPQML, and the SSAT Leadership Legacy Programme. These qualifications, which have all been supported by the school, have helped me to develop my confidence and to become more self-reflective as a teacher and as a leader. There is a very strong focus on Professional Development at WA and I have always tried to embrace this and to take every opportunity offered to me.
Before my current role, I was the Key Stage 5 MFL Coordinator. As a languages teacher, working at an IB school has been extremely positive and was one of the main reasons that I chose to work at WA. I was able to plan and lead two trips to France, one to Paris and one to Nice, which were both incredible experiences and particular highlights for me during my time here.
I am currently the Year 11 Coordinator. This is a role that I absolutely love as it combines my interest in pastoral and behaviour support with a focus on the academic progress of our Year 11 students. Most of my time in this role is spent working directly with the students, which is such a pleasure as they are an amazing group of young people.