Claire Racher - Biggleswade & Discrict Children's Centre Manager
I began my work life as a Nanny to a new born and then progressed to working in Nursery classes in Stevenage, Hertfordshire which were attached to Junior Mixed Infant's schools. I left work to have my 2 children, but continued to work as 'bank staff' which covered Nursery classes in Stevenage, Hitchin and Biggleswade.
I started working at The Lawns in the Nursery as Supply Cover and then in September 2005 worked part time in Saplings with the 2 year olds. In April 2010 I moved to working in the Children's Centre running the Stay and Play sessions of Toddle Tots and Bumps & Beyond and delivering parenting programmes of Parent Puzzle and Baby Massage. In June 2015 I became the Biggleswade & District Children's Centre Manager. As the years have gone by the delivery of the Children's Centre activities have changed and we are delivering more progammes and courses. Bumps, Birth & Baby Stuff as an antenatal course, Baby Days for new parents, Baby Sign, to name but a few. Training for new initiatives is constantly ongoing.
Esme Wyatt - Head of Early Years - Biggleswade Academy & The Lawns Nursery
I have been a teacher for 19 years. I initially trained as a KS2 teacher and completed my NQT year in year 5. I thoroughly enjoyed this year group and taught there and then year 6 for a number of years. I had originally wanted to train as a KS1 teacher and after starting my own family began to teach further down the school in year 4, 3 and 2. By the time my second child was born I found myself enjoying working with the younger children and spent a year teaching reception and nursery children.
After moving to Biggleswade I took a change in my career and helped out with what was the Brigham preschool toddler group. Here I meet the practitioners of the preschool and applied for the out of hours manager position. In a short space of time I took on the managers role for the preschool and out of hours. My interest in the early years developed and I decided to increase my understanding by completing the Early Years Professional qualification.
I wanted to build the relationships with the lower school and joined the governing body for the middle school and the moving forward committee which brought the three schools together to become Biggleswade Academy. I am now the Head of Early Years and I am proud to lead a large team of practitioners who all share a passion for inspiring the curiosity of the youngest children within the academy.
Tracy Hall - Leader of Learning - Geography and History - Biggleswade Academy
After completing a Bachelor of Fine Art, major in Metalsmithing, minor in Art History, from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (Canada) in 2002, I spent 2 years travelling and teaching fine art to a range of ages (4-60+) which helped me to decide that teaching was really where my passion lay.
I then applied and was accepted to the University of New Brunswick (Canada) to complete my Bachelor of Education, specialising in Art and English as an Additional Language, which I completed in May 2006.
My love of travel and dislike of the cold winters inspired me to apply for teaching positions outside of Canada, and England was an easy choice. I spent 4 months teaching art in a middle school in Northampton in 2006 before accepting a permanent position teaching KS2, 3 and GCSE level art in Ashford, Surrey at a secondary school. During my time there I continued to refine and improve my teaching skills and went on to become head of Year 11.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, I then decided that I wanted to broaden my teaching experience and applied for primary teaching positions in Central London. I accepted a long term supply cover position in a Catholic primary school in Camden which was in Special Measures at the time. I welcomed the challenges and experiences this offered. It gave me the chance to work under an outstanding head teacher who had a proven track record of improving schools in Special Measures in record time, as well as having a major focus on investing in staff training and development. I spent 2 more years developing not only my own teaching and leadership skills, having accepted the role of Leader of ICT, but also my knowledge of the KS1 and KS2 primary curriculum, which was completely new to me.
After 2 years I found the commute exhausting and decided to look for a new challenge closer to home. I found just that at Biggleswade Academy.
I started here in September 2012 as a KS2 leader and Year 3 class teacher. I was overwhelmed by the dedication and passion of the teaching and leadership staff. While the school had identified key areas of improvements, I always felt that any changes I suggested were welcomed and implemented happily by the staff. This is a school that is looking for, but also very welcoming of, positive change.
At the end of my first year, the Leader of Language Development position became available and my application was accepted. I found this new role to be my most challenging yet. However, with the new role I had never felt unsupported and again, the changes I had suggested had been implemented swiftly and happily by all staff. The senior management team were very willing to support those new to role in implementing changes as well as managing staff, CPD and curriculum development.
After recently returning from maternity, I moved from Leader of Language Development to Leader of Geography and History across the Academy. This was a daunting challenge, but one that has allowed me to grow not only in curriculum knowledge but also in the development of a whole new skill set. I’ve been able to work with very enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff to help enliven the curriculum to provide more challenge and engagement for our pupils as well as purchase resources to really inspire their learning. Our suit of armour has really brought our Civil War study to life!
Zoe Amos - Leader of Learning - Maths - Biggleswade Academy
I am currently in my fourth year teaching at Biggleswade Academy, with an additional teaching and learning responsibility for maths.
The school have consistently allowed me to develop my teaching and learning skills, by enabling me to attend workshops and courses outside of school. I have been fortunate enough to have been given a promotion this year, from second in charge of maths to Leader of Maths starting September 2017. I am incredibly thankful this school have supported me and provided opportunities for me to progress professionally.
I have also been an NQT mentor this year, with my second NQT. This experience again has demonstrated the opportunities this school has provided me to develop professionally. I will again be monitoring an NQT next year.