Mr Pickett (or Kevin as we're now allowed to call him!) came in to Studley High recently and spoke to us about his career here as a teacher and later, Deputy.
I went to an all boys grammar school and loved sciences. At 18 I moved to Worcester and studied sciences for 3 years at Worcester College of Education.
Kevin then started his probationary year of teaching at Studley High School in 1976. In those days there were only 300 pupils and one building.
Keith Parkes was the headteacher. He had such presence and posture it's how I learned to 'be' as a teacher. He lead by fear almost. He wore a gown and the pupils stood up when he entered a classroom. He had great faith in me and I eventually passed my probation year!
Keith left and Barry Kennaugh replaced him as headteacher. Kevin was by then head of house and far more established.
Through the years, there were subtle changes to the area, the pupils and of course the school. The new Technology block was built, pupil numbers increased, followed by a new Science building.
Elaine Young took over from Barry Kennaugh in early 2000 by which time Kevin was assistant head. He still taught sciences and was also responsible for many things including the school budget!
The Drama block was built and numbers were steadily increasing still. This was followed by the new Technology corridor, reception area and widened main corridor.
He has seen so many changes, too many to list but always loved teaching and being at Studley High School.
It's a really nice place to work with a vibrant PTA and hard working kids.
Kevin retired from teaching in 2014 and now spends time playing golf and with his grandchildren.
My advice for anyone entering into teaching is you must be 100% committed and I would do it all over again if I could. Be prepared for hard work and great demands but it is worth it.
I started my teaching career in 1976 at The Abbey High School, in Redditch (now Trinity High School). I taught there for six years as a Biology and General Science teacher. Both staff and students helped me to build a very strong foundation for my teaching career. The Science Department was particularly supportive and I still keep in touch with some of the staff that I taught with to this day.
Education was a very different experience at that time. There was no National Curriculum and, within reason, and within the paramenters of examination syllabi there was little guidance or control on what to teach or even how to do so. In some ways this was good as it was possible to be very flexible and to study areas that interested both the teacher and their students but on the other hand, there was little coordination between schools or any means of checking as to whether students were achieving their best grades. There was no national system for testing students before the age of sixteen so it was difficult to decide what grades to help students to work towards.
In 1979 I married a fellow teacher and in 1982 I gave birth to our first son. I worked as a part time lecturer at Redditch College and I also taught at The Abbey as a supply teacher from time to time. In 1983 I gave birth to our second son. With two young children I felt that I could not commit to a regular teaching post but continued to teach on a supply basis, mostly at Arrowvale High School. At this time, the end of Key Stage 4 examination system was changing from 'O' levels and CSEs to a system called 16+. This soon changed again to GCSEs.
We outgrew our house in Redditch and started looking around for a larger property. I was asked by a friend, who worked in the office at Studley High School (Mrs Yapp's mother in law), if I would be able to do some supply teaching there for a member of staff who was going to be away for a few days. That lady was Mrs Stanley. I accepted and I was so impressed by the school that my husband and I decided to move to Studley in order that our sons would be able to go there when they were older. Supply teaching at Studley in 1984 turned to a regular part time post which turned into a full time post and whilst I had not planned to stay very long, it turned into my 'forever' job.
I was very lucky because, yet again, I worked in a very strong and supportive department. Mrs Stanley was Head of Department and was very forward in her thinking regarding the teaching of science. She worked very hard and led by example. After she retired we became, and still are, really good friends.
Education moved on a pace. National Curriculum arrived. Far too complicated to manage initially but eventually 'slimmed down' and ensured that students up and down the country were accessing the same curriculum. OFSTED also arrived. It became very important to ensure that students, their parents and teachers knew what GCSE grades they were capable of in order to tailor their learning. Target setting arrived.
I absolutely loved teaching. I particularly enjoyed the challenge of devising lessons that all students in the class could access whilst trying to help them understand why I found science, and biology in particular, so fascinating. I was, and continue to be, delighted to hear of students that have gone on to study those subjects at a higher level.
Life beyond the classroom was a very rewarding experience for me. It was a time to really get to know the students well...from my early 'Abbey' days of 6th form field trips to Snowdonia to trips to Marle Hall with Year 10, Malvern Outdoor Education Centre with Year 7, Bristol Science Museum followed by ice skating, Slimbridge at Studley to name but a few. Activities in school were great fun too such as Activity Week, Health days, Rewards Days (remember the 'Big Bounce') and even staff pantos!!!!
However, my biggest goal was to try to find ways of ensuring that students who were not 'in the right place' to learn when they came to school, for whatever reason, were helped to overcome those difficulties. To that end I worked with an amazing team to help those students. We started small with Mrs Seager setting up The Student Support Centre and Mrs Lynne Smith being a student welfare officer. It worked so well that soon Mrs Sarah Smith joined the team, followed by Miss Lakin and later Mrs Payne.
I was very lucky. I was in the right place at the right time to develop my interests in Education. I worked with five excellent Headteachers who supported me throughout my career and rewarded me with promotions along the way. At The Abbey, I became Assistant Head of Sixth Form and at Studley I was Head of Year 9 then Head of Year 7 then Head of Lower School followed by Pastoral Head of School followed by Assistant Headteacher. It is an incredibly hard, time consuming, challenging, frustrating, rewarding and worthwhile career.
Since I retired from full time teaching in 2013 I returned to school for three years in a part time capacity. During that time I was also able to spend longer on my hobbies and improve my skills by attending classes and workshops. I retired from teaching completely in 2016 and now enjoy textile work, patchwork and quilting, embroidery, sugarcraft, lacemaking, gardening and walking. My husband an I have enjoyed some lovely holidays in this country and also two fantastic holidays....one to Canada and one to New Zealand.