The teaching team
The teaching team is made up of four people. The strength in the team is that we all have different skills and we all complement each other well. The mantra in our staff room is “Team Work Makes the Dream Work” and this really is how it works here at Grayrigg. No one person is more important than anyone, with everyone here working together to make sure the children’s education is inspirational, inclusive and unique, not to forget memorable!
Mrs Cooper heads up the team, as the school’s headteacher, but she will always tell you that the most important part of her job is teaching. She teaches the Oaks most days, although has the pleasure of one afternoon a week working with the Acorns (just to keep her on her toes).
She says: I love being a teaching head as it reminds me why I am here. All headteachers started as teachers, we all went into education to make a difference to children. The best thing about being in the classroom is seeing directly how the changes we makes as leaders impact on the children in my class. I adore taking the children on a residential and seeing how they grow when taken out of their comfort zone. However, I also love the small but equally as important moments; when a child who has struggled with writing, proudly hands you a piece of work with powerful verbs, metaphors and descriptive language that Ernest Hemingway would be proud of or the moment when the child who struggled with reading, bursts out laughing (in the middle of quiet reading) because they have just read the “rude bit” in the latest David Walliams book which they can now read fluently enough to understand.- I really do have the best job in the world!
Mrs Hendrickse teaches the Acorns most days and the Oaks one day each week. Her expertise and love of outdoor activities such as climbing, caving and canoeing adds an extra dimension to the experiences provided at Grayrigg. She loves to give the children hands on real learning experiences where they can challenge themselves.
She says: I love teaching at Grayrigg. The difference we can make to children’s lives is a profound privilege & responsibility. At Grayrigg, along with all the other staff, we love, care, challenge & support all children - whatever their strengths & abilities. Nothing makes me happier than when a child in my class, who has struggled to understand & learn something new, gets it!
I also love the fact that my classroom is bigger than four walls. The opportunities that the children enjoy at Grayrigg are profound: Canoeing, ghyll scrambling, caving, camping, rock climbing, forest schools and our outdoor area all create a wider & more versatile learning environment. I have never worked in any other school that promotes such a wide variety of learning opportunities, where children enjoy learning & growing together.
Mrs Neal is our Early Years teacher on Mondays with 23 years’ experience of teaching. She taught for 12 years in her home town of York in a large multicultural school. She has been teaching in Cumbria for the past 11 years in small rural settings. She now is the proud owner of a leopard print raincoat and pink wellies having turned from a town mouse into a country mouse, albeit a very glamourous country mouse!
She says: The best bit about my job is that every day is different. I love the interaction with the children and their families. As I watch very young children entering our setting and flourishing as a result of the outstanding learning environment and opportunities offered to them, I know I am in the right place! The team here at Grayrigg are marvellous, supportive, funny and real. If anyone is having a bad day, teachers or pupils, the ethos here of love and respect for all, heals us and as a result all problems are solved. You only fulfil your potential when you are loved and everyone at Grayrigg is nurtured and cared for.
I have a love of writing and reading and I love to see the sparks of cognition being lit within a child as they begin to read and write through drama, poetry and active learning. We are all authors and illustrators- we just need to believe in ourselves and that is what I enjoy facilitating.
N is for nature in our school and as the children in our care play and explore in the outside I feel confident that these children who are at one with nature and their world will be more likely to conserve it as adults.
Although I have a few grey hairs and laughter lines, I have a renewed spring in my step since working here. Who wouldn’t love a job like ours, the average 5 year old laughs 50 times a day whilst most grown-ups can only muster a miserly four or five a day. In a small school we are all encouraged to shine. When one child lights up with knowledge, enthusiasm or love of learning it doesn’t diminish another child`s light, it gives everyone else permission to sparkle and shine too.
Mrs McCandlish is the most recent addition to our strong team of teachers. She is a teaching assistant with a specialism in Special Educational Needs. Her strength is in her subtlety, working with children who need a little extra support or confidence. She pushes them on whilst building their self esteem. The children she works with speak very highly of her because of her kind-hearted nature and the success they feel due to the progress they make with her support,
She says: I work with individuals and small groups in supporting children’s learning. This school strives to enable every child to discover their unique talents. Sometimes this can mean a little additional help; perhaps with the pace of the task, a bit of encouragement where the challenges seem daunting or a fresh look at the learning experience to see if it can be made more accessible. It is lovely to see the children thriving, enjoying the varied experiences that are offered and developing strong bonds with other children across the two key stages.
The support team
The support team are exactly that, they are the people who support the school through non-teaching roles. They are the backbone of the school and without them all, we would not be able to offer our inspirational, unique, inclusive and memorable experience. Their roles may vary, but they all play their part in making Grayrigg such a special place.
Mrs Wiseman heads up the support team with the role of School Business Support. She is the person who keeps all the finances straight, the health and safety up to date and all those important requirements that enable our headteacher (Mrs Cooper) to focus on the core business of teaching and learning. She is always willing to go the extra mile and although most of the time you will find her in the school office, she just can’t resist sneaking through to the outdoor area for a play. She also deals with the majority of first aid incidents with a plaster, TLC and something from her top secret chocolate drawer!!!
She says: Whatever the weather, there’s never a dull day at Grayrigg School and I love working here. It’s such a fun, friendly and caring environment for the children to be in and everyone seems to have a smile on their face and a spring in their step when they walk through the door - it’s quite infectious!
Although the majority of my work involves the business and administration side of the school, my favourite moments are when we see a child begin to grow in confidence and recognise their own unique abilities, strengths and talents.
Mrs Hill is part of the fixtures and fittings here at Grayrigg. She shares the cleaning role with Mrs Boden and is also a part-time lunchtime supervisor.
Mrs Boden shares the cleaning role with Mrs Hill. She only recently started working at school but has been linked to the school as a parent for 13 years.