Hear from our teachers
Two teachers at Evelyn Grace Academy talk about what it's like to work at the school.
Lashanna, R.E. and Citizenship teacher
"When I arrived at Evelyn Grace for my interview I could tell that the students were just as great. The school itself is an amazing building that looks a bit like a spaceship. I walked through the lunchtime buzz, I saw children running around happy; their uniforms were immaculate; and as I walked across the running track I thought, ‘This could be the school for me.’
SLT take staff development seriously, and I’m always adding things to my CV here. Since I’ve been here, I’ve also been asked to go to training that’s aimed at developing teachers like me. It’s great to know that the principal is always thinking of me.
The school really supports us. They see the duties we have and they implement plans to help ease the burden. At our last INSET day we had training on how to work SMARTer rather than harder. We also have access to the Employee Assistance Programme, which is really positive. Our managers look out for us when we’re ill or struggling with our workloads. They try to identify where staff are being pulled and to see what kind of plan they can come up with to help.
Behaviour at the school has really improved since I started here. The lines on behaviour are very clearly drawn, and students know the behaviour policy. They know what will happen if they don’t follow it, so they know how to improve. I hardly ever have to use the behaviour management or on call system to take a student out of lessons. We’ve changed the system recently to focus on building positive qualities, and to allow students more time to change their behaviour. Students have ‘passports’ with the behaviours written clearly in them and they get prizes for demonstrating those qualities. They’re very proud of their passports, and it’s changed the focus away from being negative to being positive.
I'm always being sent links to training that might be useful. I’ve been on the Ark Teacher Training sessions for NQTs, and that was brilliant. It’s nice to have that time out to think about your practice and it’s helpful to know there are others you can talk to. It’s also really useful to build networks with other practitioners who are working at a similar level. There are so many options for improving your teaching practice, and we also have Hub training days when all the subject teachers get together.
Our wellbeing is looked after. We often have sessions on yoga, netball or head massages, and the head of SENCO does reflexology! We have ‘Hero of the Week, which I won at the end of last term! This really makes you feel that someone saw you there doing the work, and noticed the efforts you’re putting into the department. That acknowledgment is really key.
Working at Evelyn Grace has been a great journey for me. There’s always more to do but the path is very bright."
Nicola, Head of Geography
"The career progression has been very quick, I feel as though I’m valued and am making a difference.
There are lots of opportunities for people to go on courses to enhance their subject knowledge, and this is particularly useful for things like new exam subject specifications. That coaching has also really helped my practice and made me think about areas I can improve. There are a lot of opportunities for teachers at different levels to lead on INSET training too, so you are involved in helping everyone change and sharing good practice. We often do mini-workshops, so if five members of staff are delivering a CPD session, we nominate members of the team to go to specific workshops.
Our teams work closely together so that everybody is aware of everyone else’s workload. We try to share work so that everyone can succeed, and we do joint planning to cut down workloads. The principal really takes an interest in staff wellbeing. If people see that you’re having a bad day another member of staff might come into your next lesson to support you there. We have ‘Hero of the Week’ in our Friday briefing and we also get a free breakfast! If you get Hero of the week, you’ll nominate someone who’s helped you out the following week – they might get a school mug, or a temporary trophy with a little present. Everyone loves being Hero of the Week! It’s something that’s done by staff for staff, inside the briefing, when you’re also getting a free breakfast. So there’s an opportunity to celebrate the end of the week in a really nice atmosphere.
It’s a great chance to work in a challenging, dynamic and vibrant place. It has brilliant opportunities for professional development, and it’s a close-knit team that works together to provide good outcomes for students from challenging contexts/backgrounds. Most days I love it: you’re making a difference and having fun."