What is your background in education?
After a career in IT, I decided to return to University and indulge in my childhood passion for fossils. I read for a degree in Geology at the University of Leicester and followed this with a PhD in Palaeobiology. During my PhD I was encouraged to teach and I thoroughly enjoyed working with both undergraduate and A-level students. On graduation, I embarked on a PGCE at Truro College and taught both Geology A-Level and FdSc Environmental & Public Health for six years.
To give my students the best possible exam preparation, I have worked as an examiner for the last four years both compiling and marking A-Level exam papers. This has given me a better understanding of what is required from the student and how to mitigate the most common mistakes students make. In addition, I have consulted on the new A-Level Geology linear specification and co-authored the new textbook.
What inspired you to pursue a career in education?
Working as a teaching assistant, and later a lecturer in the field whilst a postgraduate student at university, gave me a real taste of what it is to be a teacher. I also took the opportunity to join the outreach programme and work with A-Level students from Greenhead College on their field studies courses. The drive and enthusiasm I saw in those students and still see every day with my current students is inspiration enough to teach. There are so few schools and colleges offering A-Level Geology and Earth Science is just too important a subject to be allowed to fall by the wayside, that I must stay in education. Around 75% of my students go on to read Geology at University and it is incredibly rewarding to follow their career successes.
What does your new role involve?
I am responsible for establishing and delivering the new linear specification A-Level Geology course at Callywith whilst continuing to teach the same course at Truro College.
Why do you think Cornwall needs Callywith College?
There is very little provision for A-Level Geology in Cornwall and this has led to students making long, tiring bus journeys to attend Truro College. Students deserve the same outstanding teaching closer to home and Callywith offers just that to North and East Cornwall.
What about working with Callywith College do you enjoy the most?
Creating the same excellent provision at Callywith that my students in Truro currently enjoy. Geological sciences involve maths, chemistry, physics and biology and I have been very lucky to work within a science department that is more of a family than a workplace. It has been brilliant to build an extension of that family at Callywith.
What one thing about you might surprise people?
I used to be a software engineer. When I first started working with computers there were no screens, only tele-printers, and programs were fed into the computer on punched cards.
When you are not working, what is your favourite thing to do?
Aside from fossil hunting, I am a tour guide at the National Trust’s Levant Mine, where copper and tin were extracted through the 19th and early 20th Century.
What advice would you give students considering applying for Callywith College?
College offers a very different experience to sixth-form at school. If you want to take control of your own education and be treated in much the same way as University undergraduates are, then Callywith College is for you. The caveat is that with control comes responsibility. We expect students to challenge themselves, push the boundaries and work hard. In return we will provide state of the art facilities, multiple opportunities to expand your skill set and highly experienced staff to support you. Come to our open days, look for courses that interest you and speak to the staff.