New College Worcester (NCW), Whittington Road, Worcester, WR5 2JX
We are sad to report that we are losing a few much-loved and valued members of staff at the end of the year, some of whom have been at NCW for a very long time.
As part of their Internal Work Experience, Senior Students Carys and Alex went along to interview some of our staff leavers and this is the report they wrote.
NCW wouldn’t be what it is without its staff. And this year a few members of staff who have worked here for some amount of years are leaving.
We were interested to discover the leaving staff’s perspective of NCW. We first spoke to Mr Roberts.
Mr Roberts has worked at NCW for 30 years as a Modern Foreign Languages teacher. He started NCW in September 1988. When he first started NCW it was a very different place. He gave us some insight in to how much it has changed over the last 30 years. When he first arrived he and his family stayed in one of the houses on college campus called Windy Ridge. This house was used as the transcription office and also as the school surgery. He recalls staying in a lovely large room, although unfortunately it didn’t have a toilet! When he would wake up in the mornings, he used to meet the students queuing on the stairs waiting to see the nurse.
He also remembers that the staffroom was located where reception is now. The atmosphere in the staffroom differs from today. Each teacher would have a specific seat that they would sit in, and they would read newspapers in their free time. When the staff would read their newspapers this meant they shouldn’t be disturbed.
Before Mr Roberts arrived at NCW he taught French and German in a comprehensive school in Burnham-on-sea in Somerset. Mr Roberts was interviewed alongside 2 other candidates and was offered the job on the day. The reason Mr Roberts wanted to teach at NCW was because he felt that he needed a new challenge. He had discovered braille through reading his Grandfather’s encyclopaedia.
From a very young age Mr Roberts always wanted to be a teacher. He really wanted to share his knowledge of languages with others. He remembers always been fascinated by languages as a young boy and he was inspired by his French teacher at primary school, he really enjoyed the lessons because his teacher was enthusiastic and encouraged the students to sing French songs whilst he played the guitar.
Mr Roberts said “I used to test my younger brother even when we were really young, but he was never interested in languages. He used to get really frustrated with me and have rages because I kept on testing him. We still remember it fondly today. But I guess I just always wanted to teach”
Mr Roberts recalls many funny and memorable moments of his time at NCW. He said that there have been so many over the years.
He does recall receiving a letter from German students. Because the school address is Whittington road and in Braille the WH sign stands for sCH in German. The address read as something very amusing…
Another memory he fondly recalls is persuading Sophia that sweets in German was Salad until she realised after a while that he was pulling her leg. It amused him when she did believe this though.
Mr Roberts’ advice to anyone starting a job at NCW would be; if in doubt ask. If someone is learning braille make sure they keep at it little and often. He also advises not to take short cuts and be very thorough when teaching and learning braille. He says: “it’s important not to fear failure and be imaginative with ideas”
Mr Roberts will be really missed and we hope he enjoys his deserved retirement.
We then spoke to Mrs Collett who has worked at NCW for 26 years. She started in 1992.
Before Mrs Collett worked at NCW she worked at a comprehensive school. She had many different jobs such as working as a teacher in prison, at a further education college and as a local government officer.
She came across NCW by accident. She introduced a program of government design and technology to the school. Whilst she was at NCW introducing this program, she helped out by teaching Social Sciences and Economics. After teaching part time, a job offer became available and she decided to apply. Mrs Collett, like Mr Roberts, said that there have been many funny and memorable incidences in her time at NCW. She recalls how a group of staff including her had to perform in the Christmas concert; they all performed as the Spice Girls in front of the whole school. She said “although this was amusing it was very scary and I was nervous!”
Another funny yet also scary memory Mrs Collett recalled took place on a school trip to Blackpool. She explained that at one point there was a system within the school where school staff liaised closely with each house. Each boarding house would have 1 or 2 teaching staff assigned to it. These members of staff would join the house on weekends for trips. Mrs Collett was assigned to Fletcher house. One year they went on a trip to Blackpool and Mrs Collett recalls that the students managed to persuade her to ride the Pepsi-Max roller-coaster. This memory was terrifying because she knew that the students were confident. However, she said it was amusing because on the photograph taken of her on the ride she has her eyes tightly shut and her knuckles were white because they were gripping the bar.
Mrs Collett said that her advice for anyone starting a job at NCW would be that they must be comfortable in the nature of what they teach. She notices that NCW is very different from mainstream and so the method of teaching may be different. She said that “at NCW you need to have more of an understanding about the students you are teaching” she also emphasised that it would help if they have a very approachable attitude towards their students. They should be able to encourage and support the students in their work. She also made it very clear that you have to work closely with many different people, both students and staff because of how much of a community NCW is. To finish off Mrs Collett said, “no day is the same at NCW” and this we can well believe.
We hope that Mrs Collett also enjoys her well-deserved retirement.
Lastly we spoke to Mrs Hickman. Mrs Hickman has worked at NCW for 14 years. She started in September 2004. She has taught Science, teaching both Biology and Chemistry and has also been the Head of Sixth Form.
Before Mrs Hickman started NCW she hadn’t been teaching for very long. Two years previously she had trained to be a teacher. She had taught science at a high school in Redditch. Before she trained to be a teacher she had worked as an industrial chemist which dealt with pollution control.
When Mrs Hickman was in Sixth Form herself, her head of Sixth Form said she should either become a teacher or a nurse. Because of this she was determined definitely not to become a teacher! However, one New Year as a resolution of sorts she decided that she needed a change and quickly decided she would apply to take a teaching qualification. She also became redundant from her job soon after which helped her pay for her qualification. Mrs Hickman was also inspired to teach because she read a book called ‘One Child’ by Torey Hayden.
Mrs Hickman, like the other staff we spoke to, made it very clear that there have been many memorable and funny memories made whilst at NCW.
One memory she fondly recalls took place in her second year of working at NCW. She was a Year 8 tutor alongside Mr Peden and on Year 8 Camp there is always a caving trip. The Year 8 tutors are expected to take part in caving with the students. There was a part in the cave that Mrs Hickman called the letterbox. She crawled into the letterbox at the wrong angle and got stuck. Mr Peden had to grab her ankles and shove her through the letterbox. Mrs Hickman finds it hilarious because back then she found it very awkward and embarrassing that Mr Peden had to do this…
Mrs Hickman’s advice to anyone starting a job at NCW would be that the most important quality is to have a sense of humour. She also mentioned that they should learn to go with the flow. It is also important that they are to be able to work with many different types of people across the school community and with outside organisations.
We wish Mrs Hickman luck with her new job in a free school, which is an engineering college in Solihull where she will be the Director of Inclusion. This means she has to put policies in place for special educational needs teaching in the college.
We would also like to wish both Mrs Owens and Mrs Maltby well in their endeavours. Mrs Owens is planning to retire to the south of France and Mrs Maltby is furthering her career in another school. She will be the head of a resource base for visually impaired students in a mainstream school in Birmingham called Plantsbrook School.
Good luck to the leaving members of staff and thank you for everything you have done for NCW. You will be missed!
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