I wanted to become a teacher as my younger brother struggled at school, and now I endeavour to ensure that all children receive the support and help they need. I trained to be a teacher at St. Martin’s College (which is now the University of Cumbria) and taught in schools in the Lake District and the East End of London. I have a BA (Hons) in Primary Education.
I have been very fortunate to work at Downham Preparatory School since September 2018. The school community is amazing; I love working here and feel part of a family unit. Before this, I worked as a year 4 class teacher at Gaywood Primary Academy for 8 years and before that as a supply teacher all over Norfolk. My favourite subject to teach is Maths and this was also my favourite subject to learn at school.
I arrived at Downham Preparatory School twelve years ago via a somewhat circuitous route. Having gained a BA in History with the intention of working in a museum, I decided instead to go abroad and teach English as a foreign language (TEFL), and subsequently spent around twelve years working in Egypt, Spain, Portugal and Japan. During this time, I also trained state school teachers and worked as an Academic Manager. I gained a Masters degree in TEFL at the University of Reading, where I then taught in the Centre for Applied Language Studies for two years. Following this, I worked for seven years for a major examinations board in Cambridge, before retraining as a primary teacher and then working as an Education Officer in a local museum for two years.
I joined Downham Preparatory School twelve years ago, just after my son became a pupil here. Initially, I only taught Spanish, but after a few years took on History as well, and I now teach these two subjects to all year groups. Teaching here is very rewarding, as the children have such inquiring minds and a passion for learning.
I didn't take the traditional route into teaching. I started as a mature student studying English, History and Sociology at Anglia Polytechnic University. I then completed a School Centre Initial Teacher Training Programme (SCITT) which meant I spent term time in school working alongside experienced teachers and the school holidays in college. I started my teaching career at a large primary school in King's Lynn and completed my NQT year there. This meant I had the same class every day teaching them the National Curriculum subjects. I stayed at the same school for 11 years before moving to Downham Preparatory School, where I have spent many hours working alongside Mrs Sharpe to ensure I deliver a curriculum challenging enough for the children of Downham Prep School. I love working at the school, as I am able to work with all the children on an individual basis and watch them grow. When I'm not at school I run my own Brownie unit, I'm a committee member on the local playing field committee, I'm treasurer for a local school Friends committee and I run the tea hut for a local youth football team.
I also have a husband and two children at home who sometimes require my attention too. As a family we love to water-ski in the summer, something I have enjoyed since I was a small child and my children now share this enjoyment too. I also enjoy reading adult and children's literature and swimming, when I have time.
I have been teaching at Downham Preparatory School for 17 years and am currently the Head of the Sports Department and a Director of the school, alongside my Mother and Stepfather. Being the son of the Proprietor, I have watched as the school has grown from a small Nursery to a Primary School and seen the hard work and dedication that it has taken from all involved to make this happen.
I have taught Art during my time at school, but now concentrate on PE, Marketing and the maintenance of the school and grounds.
I have a passion for Sport and for keeping fit, having previously worked in the fitness industry. Rugby is my chosen sport and I played for many years both for club and the county. One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is to see pupils develop and gain confidence on the sporting field, no matter their ability. I believe Sport is a great way to develop not only physical fitness, but also skills that pupils will carry with them for the rest of their lives; the ability to enjoy the successes, but also be able to accept defeat graciously and to form bonds and friendships that last forever. Many of our past pupils are still great friends and often share the memories that were formed playing in the schools various sporting teams.
My first teaching post was at a primary school in Great Windmill Street in London, and then at a school I had attended as a child in Pimlico. I decided to broaden my experience and took up a post in the Canary Islands in British, International schools and finally at the American School of Las Palmas.
It was at the American School that I first came across the Montessori Teaching method in their very popular kindergarten.
On returning to England I enrolled in the Montessori Teaching Centre in London, where I gained a teaching diploma with distinction.
I then moved to Downham Market with my family. I couldn’t find a suitable nursery for my son and decided to open a Montessori Nursery of my own.
The rest, as they say is history. In 1983 I started the nursery with one other member of staff and 16 children. My family and I now own 2 Nursery schools and a Preparatory school. We employ 46 people and have 190 children aged 3 months to 13 years on role. Many of my staff have worked with me for a long time, and many parents who were my first pupils have now returned with their own children.
I am very proud of all of our students past and present. It is a joy and a privilege to be a part of their formative years and watch them develop into successful and responsible adults.
I have worked at Downham Preparatory school for 25 years and I have never wished to teach elsewhere as teaching at Downham Preparatory school allows me to teach my specialist subject rather than having to teach a little of each subject. I believe subject teaching allows the children to receive a higher quality of teaching. I also believe the school provides an excellent environment for the children to grow and learn in, which is why I chose the school for my daughter. The skills and love of learning my daughter gained at Downham Preparatory helped to make her transition to secondary school a very smooth one and provided her with all the skills she needed. Working at Downham Preparatory school allows me to work together with the other staff to provide an interesting and stimulating learning environment for the children in a beautiful setting.
I first discovered Downham Preparatory School as a parent when my eldest son started here in nursery in 2004. I firmly believe that the school has helped both of my children lay excellent foundations to their learning and attitudes to education.
I felt very privileged when I was approached in 2016 by the school to join them professionally, at which time I was working within another primary setting. At Downham Prep I work predominately in a support role working very closely with our excellent SEN department and my qualifications and skill base focus mainly with Spectrum Conditions. I strongly believe that because of the school’s size, our class numbers and the quality of our teaching, Downham Prep can offer the very best attention and care to each child based on their individual and recognised skills, abilities and needs.
Originally a Suffolk girl, I attended Culford School for most of my school education benefiting from amazing sporting opportunities. I sat my A levels at County Upper School.
After studying a 4 year teaching degree at Brighton University, I was offered a job for my NQT year at King Edward VI school Bury St Edmunds. I stayed there for a further 5 years. Sadly, after losing my mother, I decided life was too short and I would follow my dream of event riding professionally.
I did this successfully for a further 6 years, breeding and producing horses, riding up to what is now 4* level and competing at prestigious events, such as Blenheim, and internationally at Samur in France.
During this time, I met my husband, who farms locally to Downham Market. Both he and his sister attended Downham Prep and have very fond memories of the school. Robert and I have two children, Mia and Archie, who also both attend the school.
I have been here for over twenty years. I always joke that I will still be here when I have a Zimmer frame! I am the Reception teacher. I love my job because everyone here is like an extended family to me. In Reception we have a great time learning different things every day. I make Learning fun, though lots of practical work. The children don't realise they are working and think they just play all day! When a child learns something new, I get as excited as they do. Throughout the school the children respect me and know me from when they attended Reception. Many of them are now taller than me! Each child is different and unique. Children can say such wonderful things that bring a smile to my face. Knowing I have helped all these children towards their education in life makes me feel proud to say "I am a teacher and I work at Downham Preparatory School."
I am fortunate to be able to teach Music to the younger children and Drama throughout school. In these lessons, we explore through doing! In one lesson you could find Class 1 testing out percussion instruments, while class 6 and 7 are considering the qualities of a good director and applying these whilst directing their peers in sketches. With the support of the other staff members, I co-ordinate the summer production, which involves all pupils from Reception to Year 7. We are always so proud of our actors who try their best, achieving remarkable performances for their age.
As a member of the English department, you will find me happily sharing story books with classes 3 and 4. At Downham, we aim to inspire our pupils. Events such as visiting authors and theatre trips enhance the engaging work pupils undertake in class.
A passion of mine is Art, which I teach to classes 6 and 7. Having developed their Art skills further down the school, by this age, the pupils have the opportunity to develop their style and take increased ownership through their choice of medium or inspiration. With teacher guidance, pupils last year produced work of an exceptional standard.
I joined the school in 2017. I am experienced in teaching children with additional needs. Originally I supported one of our dyslexic pupils. I now work full time giving individual help and tuition to several children.
I teach IT and computing science throughout the school. Everyone has a lesson every week, where we explore a range of different programs and discover how we can get a computer to help us achieve a given task. Within our lesson we primarily use the PC's but we also use ipads, floor robots and other technology to help us understand how computers can support us. During the year we complete a range of projects that develop word processing skills, data management, programming, computational thinking and understanding of e-safety.
I first started at Downham Preparatory School in 2007 as a key worker for pre-primary. Over the following 6 years I developed a passion for educating children and realised primary education was where I wanted to be. I studied for my degree and returned to the school in 2017 as a Reception teacher. In 2018 I moved on to teach key stage 1 English, and became class 1’s form teacher, both of which I thoroughly enjoy. For me there is nothing more rewarding than seeing children grow in confidence, particularly in reading and writing.
I completed my teaching qualifications in South Africa. I taught there for 18 years. Thereafter my family and I immigrated to the UK during December 2001. My first teaching role was in London, then I moved to Kings Lynn, Norfolk. I taught in 6 schools before joining Downham Preparatory in February 2008, where I now teach Religious Education, Geography and Art.
I am also the SENCO, and, together with the Principal and teachers, we co-ordinate provision for pupils with SEN and I liaise with external agencies. I enjoy working in education and believe that educators do not only teach, but are responsible for developing an all-round pupil, who will later become a confident adult in his/her community.