(Interviewed in 2020)
When and why did you join the Inspiration Trust?
I joined the Inspiration Trust in September of this year, moving to Norfolk from Dorset over the summer holiday. I had just completed my NPQSL and knew that, although I was ready for a new stage in my career, I wanted to find that progression within my subject area of Religious Education. I was very happy at my previous school but felt a definite pull towards being part of the national RE community and being part of a trust gives you more opportunities to liaise with other subject specialists.
In many ways, Norfolk is leading the way in RE due to its multi-disciplinary agreed syllabus and so working here was very tempting. In addition, I had read Dr Richard Keuh’s chapter in 'We Need to Talk about Religious Education' and I wanted to be part of creating a knowledge rich curriculum for RE. Sadly, RE is not always given the respect it deserves but I knew that Dame Rachel de Souza was a theology graduate and former RE teacher which felt like a good omen.
Finally, Michael Young’s 'Knowledge and the Future School' was a pivotal read for me as a teacher, bringing together my two passions of social justice and my subject specialism. I knew that Michael Young was a key influence on the Inspiration Trust’s approach and so this felt like a very obvious career move for me.
How has the Inspiration Trust supported your development?
One of the reasons that I wanted to join a trust such as the Inspiration Trust was for my own personal development, it is much easier for a cluster of schools to access high quality CPD with the key figures in education than a standalone school. I am a complete curriculum geek and an avid bookworm and so to work for a trust that has gathered together fellow curriculum obsessives is a fantastic opportunity for me and I feel like I am constantly learning and developing.
Which specific aspects of the Inspiration Trust’s CPD offer had the most impact on you?
I am new to the Inspiration Trust, although early days I am hugely impressed by the CPD menu that is open to us. Mary Myatt has been a huge influence and I am looking forward to her CPD session next year on curriculum development. I am also a believer in clear behaviour policies so to have the opportunity to listen to Tom Bennett whilst I am reading his new book is great. Finally, I am also looking forward to listening to Dawn Cox, a fellow RE teacher, talk about memory research.
What would you say to someone considering applying for a job within the Inspiration Trust?
I would tell them to get the application filled in quickly! It is great to be part of a trust that invests in their staff, giving them opportunities and the time needed to grow which in turn benefits the students in our care.
Where do you see yourself in the Inspiration Trust in five years?
In five years’ time I hope that I will be leading a team of specialists that are having an impact not just on our students but the whole RE community. As more students choose our subject at GCSE and A-level we will need new teachers and I hope that we can recruit the best teachers in the country because we will be the trust of choice for the RE community. Right now my focus is very much on my subject, but in five years’ time I might also be ready for my next leadership role with the Inspiration Trust, perhaps with a wider curriculum focus or within a particular school.