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Mrs S Oliver

After leaving university with an English degree and spending a year teaching in Hong Kong, I completed a P.G.C.E. in Oxford (at the same college as Mr Fairley – but not at the same time!). I taught RAF children in Key Stage 1 (or Infants as they were known in those days) in two schools near Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, before moving across the Gloucestershire border, to teach the same age group in a large city school in Gloucester. There I also spent two years working with Early Years children, supporting them as they began their school journey and helping them to take their first steps as readers and writers (which is probably, for me, the most rewarding part of a teacher’s varied job).

My personal life then brought me up to Derbyshire where I decided to take a career break for several years, to bring up my own children. During this time, with a daily diet of toddler groups and pre-school activities for inspiration, I decided to set up my own business, running pre-school French classes from home. Within a year, this expanded to running after-school French groups at 3 local schools in the High Peak. I was also increasingly involved at Chapel Primary – where my three sons started their school careers – as a governor and then as Chair of Governors, so it seemed like an obvious move to apply for the French teaching post when Modern Foreign Languages made an appearance in the Key Stage 2 national curriculum.

My first year at Chapel as a part-time teacher allowed me to develop a completely new curriculum area, whilst teaching every child in the school – I really loved it! I continued to run several after-school French clubs, to teach part-time at another school (I was working in 4 schools at this point) and also was appointed to work as part of an advisory MFL team for Derbyshire LEA.  We supported schools across the county, ran training days and organised 3 annual MFL conferences. A very busy time in my life!

Obviously times have changed considerably since that point: MFL has just been re-instated as a compulsory element in the primary school curriculum, after several years on the political scrap-heap when all funding dried up for training and support.  And I now find myself working full-time as a year 6 teacher (as well as a French teacher), preparing our wonderful children for the next step ahead as they move onto Chapel High School.  My own children are growing up quickly – my eldest son heads off to university in the Autumn, at the same time as my youngest starts in Reception. As adults, we all know that childhood is a very precious and all too brief period. That’s why I love playing a small, but hopefully significant, part in so many children’s lives – which is why I love to teach…