When I was training, I felt I saw some of what made schools great and some of what can make them difficult places in which to work. I knew that I wanted to work in a school where a high premium was placed on the quality of teaching and learning and where the systems were well established so that they enabled good teaching rather than placed a burden on teachers.
I would say the thing that characterises Hayes as a place of work is the desire felt by everyone who works there to reflect on how they teach. This is done with honesty but also with lots of support. When I trained, I dreaded observations but at Hayes I have come to see them as useful opportunities to address issues I am having in the classroom and to try out new ideas with the understanding that I will get useful feedback on them.
I am lucky to work in a Maths department, which is comprised of people who love the subject and want to see it taught with imagination as well as rigour. The team is always looking for new ways to teach topics and ideas come from sources as diverse as you can get on Twitter as well as from current academic research. There is a lack of ego which is great too - everyone wants everyone else to do as well as they can.
The opportunities for development at Hayes are varied and well-conceived. The optional CPD programme provides great choice and the sessions are insightful. I have taken part in the coaching programme, the ACTIVE health, personal and social education programme and the Moving Up programme which supports students by testing research ideas on a target cohort. The school also supported my Masters in Maths Education.
The students are obviously what makes the job great. The children at Hayes are often inspirational, occasionally frustrating but almost always kind and friendly. It is a pleasure to be part of the community that they are in the process of forming.