37 Kingsbridge at work

Pupils and staff have been back at Kingsbridge Community College for nearly a month after the summer holidays. Kate Cotton spoke to three members of staff about their roles and routines.

Roger Pope

CEO Education South West

How did you become CEO of Education South West? I started as principal of Kingsbridge Community College in 1998, 19 years ago. Education South West was formed in January this year from Academy South West, of which Kingsbridge was part and the Templer Trust schools. I’ve been CEO since its inception. Education South West comprises

four secondary and six primary schools. I was both principal of Academy South West and Kingsbridge Community College for the three years in which Academy South West was in place. I spend half my time as CEO of

Education South West and the other half as chair of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, as part of the Department of Education. As chair I offer advice to ministers on education and policy and explain government policy to teachers and education leaders. Prior to my headship I worked as an

English Literature teacher in schools in Wiltshire, Somerset and Oxford- shire and for four years in Hong Kong.

Where are you based? I have an office at Kingsbridge. I va- cated the principal’s office when Ken- ny Duncan was appointed principal. Education South West has staff based at all its schools, from Kingsbridge to Newton Abbot. I’m around all the schools. I also spend a lot of my time at

Kingsbridge and still coach the teachers.

How do you work alongside the principal? Basically I’m here to offer support and challenge. We meet regularly, discuss

issues and when I need to I offer leadership and challenge. I liken it to a relay race - we pass the baton between us very smoothly.

How did the role of chair with the National College for Teaching and Leadership come about? They rang me up and asked me. They were looking for someone who was

“Working in education

feels like you’re making an impact to their

lives and making a difference.”

still active in schools to help inform policy. Kingsbridge Community College is an excellent school and a teacher training school, so that appealed to them too. It’s my third year in the role.

It benefits the Department of Education as they are kept up to date with someone still involved in the day-to-day life of schools. And it benefits Kingsbridge and Education South West as it keeps us really up to date with government policies and information. South Hams could easily become a distant sleepy place, a long way

from London. My role as chair of the National College for Teaching and Leadership keeps us on the map.

How does being a part of Education South West benefit Kingsbridge Community College? First of all it enables teachers and support staff to learn from the practices in other schools. When we see good practice in one school that practice can then be shared across them all. And secondly, being part of a multi-academy trust creates better efficiency on back office services. This is especially important in times of education cuts. Being part of a trust means we can make huge savings and have more money for teaching. I feel Education South West will

gradually grow and grow and more schools will join us.

What do you like best about working in education? The best is interacting with children and young people. They are irrepressibly lively and always surprise you with something. Working in education feels like you’re making an impact to their lives and making a difference. The worst would be the fact you

always know there’s more you could be doing. There are many issues in society and some children are not getting the best opportunities for their lives. You can always do more

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