As the end of term approaches we say goodbye to some much loved members of staff.
Rosie Owens and Richard Roberts, taken at the recent Leavers' Dinner Event
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.
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 at NCW in September 1988. When he first started, NCW 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!
He also remembers that the staff room was located where reception is now. The atmosphere in the staff room 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 were reading 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. 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 and share his knowledge of languages with others. He had always been fascinated by languages as a young boy and was inspired by his French teacher at primary school, 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… 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. Before Mrs Collett worked at NCW she worked at a comprehensive school and had many other 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 programme of government design and technology to the school and helped out by teaching Social Sciences and Economics. After teaching part time, a job became available and she decided to apply. Mrs Collett, like Mr Roberts, said that there have been many funny and memorable incidents 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 when the students managed to persuade her to ride the Pepsi-Max roller-coaster. Terrifying! A photograph taken of her on the ride shows she had her eyes tightly shut and her knuckles were white!
Lastly we spoke to Mrs Hickman who has worked at NCW for 14 years. 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 but before she trained to be a teacher she worked as an industrial chemist dealing 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 she decided that she needed a change and decided to take a teaching qualification. She was also inspired to teach because she read a book called ‘One Child’ by Torey Hayden. Mrs Hickman also has many funny memories from NCW. In her second year of working at NCW she was a Year 8 tutor alongside Mr Peden on Year 8 Camp where there is always a caving activity. 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!
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. We also sadly say goodbye to Sally-Anne, Senior Houseparent of Dots. Good luck to the leaving members of staff and thank you for everything you have done for NCW.