I have spent 10 years at Parrs Wood, in which time I've been the Head of English, transition lead, Head of Sixth Form and Assistant Head, before stepping up to the Deputy Head role with responsibility for curriculum and outcomes.
I first got into teaching because of my love of English. I enjoy being able to explore current issues with students but through brilliantly poetic texts. It's inspiring to be the conduit between what students can't do and what they need to be able, not just in terms of their lessons but in their development into adulthood.
Parrs Wood has a unique sense of community; I've been in 3 schools previously and not experienced the same mutual respect with students as i do here. It is a real pleasure to see them go on to achieve great things having seen them join in Year 7.
I think we're so successful because the school is not afraid to empower staff. Since we became a trust we have been encouraged to support other schools across the north west. I find supporting others rewarding, but it has also benefited our school because we have learned a lot too.
I started life in the advertising world, but while I was working in industry I just felt that I could be using my time better, which is when I started to thinking about a career in teaching.
My first impression of Parrs Wood was on a walk around at my interview and I got a real feel for the sense of community. I genuinely feel that it perfectly reflects Manchester's true diversity and aspirational ethos.
We commit to every single child, irrespective of their behaviour record or prior attainment. This isn't a school where any student gets left behind, and that includes making sure their family is able to share in and support their journey. Our ethos is that we treat our students as we would want our own children to be treated.
I believe that our team's culture is unique because nobody is precious about their specific role. If somebody needs help then they will step in, regardless if that isn't part of their remit.
I had quite an unorthodox route into teaching! I started working in engineering but had a change of heart and so took a job overseas with the British Council. While I was there I started teaching English to Chinese students and the rest is history.
I worked in a number of local schools before starting at Parrs Wood, but I remember walking in the door here for my interview and immediately sensing a community spirit that I hadn't experienced elsewhere.
One of the first things I realised is that our staff are treated more compassionately. There is a real understanding of the workload pressures and the impact this has on people. It's still hard work, but the school does everything to make sure we're not struggling.
The size of this school means that staff get opportunities that they wouldn't elsewhere. I think the variety of SLEs available is remarkable. I co-wrote and delivered a training package for a group of high schools and have been recommissioned to do an audit and implementation process. I'm also fortunate to be starting the NPQH this year.
I have a family connection with the school because my father taught at Parrs Wood, retiring in 1998 as Head of Sixth Form – a role my wife now occupies!
I'd worked in a number of different schools when the chance to teach science here came up. I felt the school had everything; a strong ethos, challenging educational targets and a sixth form. I've been here for almost 20 years now and I can honestly say there's just a positivity you get walking about the school that's difficult to create.
What I love about working at Parrs Wood is the challenge of teaching such a diverse cohort. I have students that really struggle with science, all the way through to those who go to Oxbridge. Regardless of ability, our students recognise that education is the best way for them to make a life for themselves.
IainHead of English
I was determined not to be a teacher because both my parents were, but I loved studying English at university and I decided I wanted to pass on this enthusiasm. I've been at Parrs Wood since I was an NQT; the English department is an incredible place to work because we have such a strong bond so I've never really thought about leaving! The school's diversity means that there is never a dull day because there's so much to learn from everyone around you. Our students are interesting and funny, and the strong relationships we share with them are remarkable. I think 9/10 days I really enjoy work and ask myself where would I go that's going to be better than that? I have aspirations of becoming part of the Senior Leadership Team, and the school are very supportive of staff who are looking to progress. I can access specific CPD sessions and have been involved in a coaching programme. The school even funded my Masters which has undoubtedly helped me to become a better teacher.
I've been teaching for 25 years and have spent the last 18 of them at Parrs Wood. I've even got two children who attend the school now.
I wanted to teach at this school for two main reasons; I'm a passionate believer that a comprehensive education system is the best for everyone, and the sixth form meant I could teach more advanced subject matter.
We're fortunate because the school attracts diverse staff who are enthusiastic about bringing their own ideas. Not only this, but the school is keen for staff to try new things and give you the space to see if they'll work.
I think students enjoy coming to Parrs Wood because its size means they get opportunities, both in enrichment and a broad curriculum, that they know they wouldn't get anywhere else. Beyond this, they know that the school won't take the easy option but the one that's best for them.
SharonDirector of Languages
I've taught in different schools but have now been at Parrs Wood for over five years. As well as overseeing the languages department, I am involved in outreach work that helps us support other schools in the area by embedding strong learning techniques.
A love of learning languages led me to choose a career in teaching in order to enthuse others similarly. I have embedded our 'Pass it on' model, part of which focuses on giving students engaging subject matter, so that they are passionate about their learning.
Being able to pass on the best practice that has delivered results in our school just highlights what an innovative place this is to work in. Senior leaders understand the benefit of helping others, but also how this can better what we do ourselves.
Supporting others is typical of this school's sense of community, one of our core values. Students here get to experience the full diversity of Manchester's community and this stand them in good stead for later life because they can communicate with anyone and everyone.