40 The Post • KIngsbridge Community College

Helen Tully Head of PE

How long have you been head of PE at Kingsbridge? Three years, I’m going into my

fourth year now. I’ve been teaching for 13 years. I joined Kingsbridge as head of PE after working at three other schools, two independents and one state school, in Bath.

How did you get into teaching PE? I’ve always loved sport and got a first in my BSc in Sport and Exercise Sciences at Loughborough University. I really enjoyed the pedagogy part of the course so went on to study a PGCE at Loughborough.

What sports do you teach? We all have different subject special- ities. Mine are hockey, netball and gymnastics. We teach the full range of sports

at Kingsbridge – from dance to badminton, football to athletics. There’s a block of lessons in football and hockey for girls, rugby too. Girls’ rugby is on the rise nationally and is very strong in the Kingsbridge area. We run a girls’ rugby club and entered a national tournament a couple of years ago, finishing fifth in the country.

What are the highs and lows of being a PE teacher? The highs are seeing the passion and confidence that students can gain from acquiring a new skill, especially those eureka moments such as managing a handstand in gymnastics or a penalty flick in hockey. It’s also great to see them

work together in teams, gaining confidence to compete against other schools and building friendships and resilience along the way. The biggest low would have to be the smelly spare kit cupboard in the PE office! Also, getting girls to take out earrings and jewellery can be a drag. And getting the year sevens out of the changing rooms, they take forever… I’m a farmer’s daughter and sometimes feel like I’m herding cattle!

Do you think everyone can be good at sport? Definitely! I think there are so many

different sports out there, it’s just a case of trial and error finding one to suit you. We work through different

activity blocks each term and find some students really shine at differ- ent sports.

What time do you start and finish your day? I get to my desk around 7.45am to

start at eight. I then deal with emails and admin and tidying of kit before teaching for the day. After school

“It’s lovely seeing students achieve their

potential, especially those who start off with low aspirations.”

clubs run from 3.30pm to 4.30pm most days, and we have a fixture at least once a week finishing around 6.30pm. There’s also after school meetings, and GCSE and A-level marking. I try to leave at 6pm most days, if I can, to do my own sports of running, yoga and hockey.

What do you do during your lunch break? Lunch times are usually busy with

sports clubs, including table tennis, dance club and basketball club. We usually get lots of kids coming along, especially when it’s raining.

How did you become head of PE? I’m from Devon, and grew up near Stoke Gabriel. I was living and teaching in Bath and keen to move

back to Devon. I was second in my PE department and was looking to prog- ress my career in the right role when I saw the Kingsbridge post. I was really pleased when I was offered the job, as Kingsbridge has a great reputation.

What do you enjoy about the job? It’s lovely seeing students achieve their potential, especially those who start off with low aspirations. We try to make sure our lessons create an environment where they’re supported. Now the college is part of Education

South West it’s great to work with other PE departments too. I’m good friends with Becks at Dartmouth Academy and Kiera at Teign School. We worked in Bath together and are looking to work together more. PE is a great subject to get together at sports events and to support each other.

What are your favourite sports? I love hockey and play for Exe Hockey Club first team. Hockey’s always been my favourite and during my time at uni I played for Loughbor- ough’s first team. I also play netball, run with South Devon Athletic Club and do yoga outside of school. I start off very keen in September but by October things are starting to drop off a bit!

If you hadn’t been a teacher? I always wanted to be a Blue

Peter presenter, getting to do cool

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