The Teaching Team
The teaching team is made up of five 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 years 5 and 6 every morning which is her favourite part of her job.
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 make 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 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!
Ms Jessop teaches our Acorns - Year 1 and 2. She has used her early years expertise and experience working as part of our early years team to take child led learning into KS1. The environment in there is wonderful and builds on the amazing start our children get in the Tiny Acorns
She says: I knew I loved Grayrigg long before I started to work here! At my previous school, I often checked out Grayrigg’s Facebook page to get inspiration for new ideas for my EYFS class, and I found the school’s whole philosophy so refreshing in a time where primary education in general, for me, seemed to be losing its spark.
So of course when a vacancy came up I jumped at the chance. I had been looking to move for a while to be nearer to my family, but nothing was right â€“ until the job at Grayrigg popped up! In fact I remember telling my colleagues â€“ ‘it has to be that school’. And it was meant to be â€“ I was offered the job and I think I screamed down the phone! In fact I think I did this more recently too, when I was offered a teaching position - Poor Mrs Cooper!
Since I joined the school I haven’t looked back! I love working here because it really is like a family - every member of staff knows each and every child so well, and vice versa. Each special moment in a child’s life is shared and celebrated, making that child feel valued. The relationship between the children is also special: I just love to see children of all ages playing together at playtimes. Year 4, playing a game of unicorns with Nursery children. Reception children having a natter with Year 6 whilst sunbathing â€“ wonderful!
As a teacher (and parent) my first priority is that children are happy, settled and feel comfortable at school. That they feel confident to speak up and that they develop independence skills that will set them up for life. Grayrigg do this so well â€“ I love the fact that education here is about the whole child and the children’s wellbeing and personal social development is at the forefront. Education at Graryrigg certainly hasn’t lost its spark!
Miss Littlewood is our Early Years lead teacher, looking after the Tiny Acorns, as well as working to develop the outdoor learning across school. She is also our SENDco having complete the NASC (National Award for SEN co-ordinator) as this is an area that she is passionate about - believing every child can achieve their full potential if teachers are willing to adapt their teaching and engage each individual. She is passionate about travel and has taken the opportunity to visit schools in other countries and believes the right start to the educational journey for every child sets them up for life.
She says: I love being a teacher and at Grayrigg I feel like I have the best job in the world! Every morning I get up and can’t wait to see your gorgeous smiley children’s faces. I really enjoy teaching in Early Years as every day is different and it is incredible to watch children as they discover things for the first time. I strongly believe in children as individuals and encourage them to be creative and critical in their play and feel it is important that they learn things themselves through discovery.
I also have the pleasure of teaching forest school right across the school. I am incredibly passionate about the outdoors and would probably spend all my time outside if I could. Outdoor learning to me is one of the things children don’t always have the opportunity to do at school but many of the skills children can learn in forest school are transferable to the classroom and to real life. Children have to be allowed to take risks and make their own choices on how to be safe whilst undertaking these risks.
My other role within school is that of the SENDco and you can find out more about this on our SEN&D page.
Mrs Neal who has 23 years’ experience of teaching, goes wherever she is needed.. 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 glamorous country mouse! Moving to Key-stage two is an exciting new challenge for Mrs Neal- one which she is thoroughly enjoying.
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.
Well Miss Robinson only joined the team officially in Sep 2019 but she is no stranger to our school. She completed many placements here during her college and university courses and her Mum actually attended the school. Miss Robinson teaches the Oaks (year 3 and 4). She is incredibly passionate about ensuring children’s learning is never limited by teacher expectations, but instead all children are given the opportunity to exceed their own and others’ expectations of them - so we’re confident she will be a wonderful asset to our team,
She says: After experiencing Grayrigg and everything it stands for during my studies, I knew it was my dream job. I’m sure my fellow students got fed up of me saying ‘at Grayrigg we do this’ or, ‘have you heard of such and such’. Now, I can’t believe how lucky I am to be teaching here.
I believe that every child should come to school and love learning, that they should feel empowered and be able to own their own learning and progress. I love the wide range of ages I teach at the school and encourage all children to become more independent in their learning - it’s all worth the hard work when you see that child beam from ear to ear when they’ve solved a problem all on their own. Their pride is a joy to see.
Miss Wright joined the team this September 2020 as a Newly Qualified teacher. She teaches the Mighty Oaks in the afternoons, as well as working with them as a Teaching Assistant for 3 mornings and Teaching with Mrs Cooper once a week as part of her development. Before training to be a teacher Miss Wright spent time travelling and working in a nursery in New Zealand working with the Maori Curriculum.
Miss Hayton supports children across the school at the moment working with Miss Robinson’s class (the Oaks). She develops close connections with the children with whom she works and is always willing to go the extra mile to support them. FUN FACT: Mrs Cooper actually taught Miss Hayton, on her second year teacher training placement when Miss Hayton was in year 2.
Mrs Jones joined our team in the madness and mayhem of 2020. She works with Mrs Jessop in KS1 and is currently completing her forest leader training. She loves to see the children achieve, especially when they’ve pushed through the wobble.
Mrs Magean works in the Tiny Acorns with Miss Littlewood. She joined the team along with Mrs Jones in 2020 and has settled in well. She already had lots of early years experience and is happiest when covered in mud, outside with the children. She is also completing her forest leader training
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 Manager. 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 Williamson attended Grayrigg herself and is the fourth generation to attend the school. Her own children now attend the nursery. If anyone were to cut her open, I’m sure you’d find Grayrigg School written right through her like a stick of rock. She loves the school so much and it shows in how clean and sparkly it is for us every day.