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Training at your former school

Georgina Trafford returns to her old school

FOR some people the idea of going back to their old school would fill them with something approaching dread.

That strange smell in the science labs. The echoing of raised voices in the sportshall. The way shafts of sunlight come through the windows of a classroom at a particular time of day, seemingly picking out the same specks of dust as years before.

Things like this might be unwelcome reminders of less happy times to those whose schooldays were not all about fun, friendships and fulfilment.

But this is clearly not an issue for a group of young people who have chosen to take part in our teacher training programme.

At present,  we have 71 people in training as part of our 2017/2018 academic year cohort, and a number of them have one of their placements at their old Oxfordshire school, working alongside members of staff who were teaching them not that very long ago.

Among them is Brian George, from Marston, who is training to become a biology teacher at The Cherwell School in Summertown.

The 27-year-old left school in 2006, doing his sixth-form at what is now City of Oxford College, before studying sports science at the University of Kent.

He became a footwear supervisor at the Sports Direct stores in Cowley and Botley, before returning to Cherwell in 2016, initially as a cover teacher.

Mr George said: “I helped set up the junior section at Wolvercote Cricket Club a few years back and that really sparked my enthusiasm for working with young people.

“It was odd at first coming back, especially as there are so many of my old teachers still here. But coming back is not unusual at Cherwell. There are about a dozen or so former pupils teaching here now, so that creates a family feeling and that feeling means that any initial awkwardness wears off pretty quickly.

“I was a good lad at school and never got any detentions, and I liked pretty much all my teachers, so that made it easier.

“It is great working now with people who were real inspirations to me as a kid. There’s Sarah Floris, who taught me science, Patrick Garton, and Pete Davies, the PE teacher. To work alongside those people is pretty special.”