Testimonials

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Teaching Staff
Anna Brindle
Design and Technology Teacher 

I joined St John’s in 2018 as a School direct PGCE student, as part of Excalibur Teaching School. I trained as a teacher in my early forties, after a degree in 3D design and a number of jobs mainly in youth and community or design and craft. For the previous seven years I’d been running my own design business from home, but I was keen to work with young people and do something more busy and stimulating, and teaching is certainly that!

St John’s was definitely the best school I experienced in my training, so I was pleased when a vacancy came up towards the end of my PGCE, and I have now been working as a full time D+T teacher since September 2019. As I’ve got to know the school more I’ve taken opportunities to get involved with the wider life of the school in areas I’m interested in, so I now run the flourishing year 7 and 8 environment group, and I’m on the working group for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion.

While you could feel lost joining a big school like this as an NQT, the support from our NQT and RQT trainer has been readily available and responsive to my needs, including the unexpected changes due to Covid-19. Through my PGCE and NQT year I have accessed high quality CPD through Excalibur in areas of SEN and mental health support, which have really helped my insight into challenges facing pupils. St John’s has very well-organised systems of support for students and it is good to know that concerns are heard and acted on. As it’s a big school there are plenty of opportunities for extra responsibilities and career progression, and these are well supported.

St John’s is a really positive place to work because SLT, office, pastoral and site staff do their jobs really professionally, leaving teachers to concentrate on teaching. There is a high degree of pride in what we do across all areas of the school, and it seems that staff stay here for a long time because they value this.

Teaching Staff
Ali Caplat
Assistant SENCo & English Teacher

I was recruited by St John’s during my PGCE year in 2017 and joined in September 2018 as an NQT in the English Dept.

I was so impressed by the NQT induction and support programme, which ensured I had regular opportunities to meet with other NQTs, as well as with other members of staff who could provide me with opportunities to deepen my knowledge in specific areas of interest. I had amazing support from my subject mentor, and from the entire English department.

In 2019, I secured a place on the Excalibur Middle Leadership programme. This was an excellent opportunity to visit other schools in the trust and share ideas on best practice, as well as spend time considering different leadership styles and approaches to management.

As a result of the excellent support and development opportunities I have received since joining St. John’s, I was delighted to be appointed as Assistant SENCo from September 2020. Pastoral and SEN support has always been a passion of mine and it is a privilege to have been recognised as someone who, even as an early career teacher, is able to make valuable contributions to the provision of these areas within the school. I am currently completing my NASENCo award at Bath Spa University; another example of career development opportunities that St. John’s facilitates, in order to help reach my aspirational role of school SENCo eventually.

Support Staff
Mark Cooper
Cover Supervisor

I joined St John’s in January 2019, having spent over 10 years working in education in schools in Devizes and Swindon. Before that I had diverse careers in fields such as policing and tree surgery!

One f the great things about St John’s is that they really support the development of support staff, which has enabled me to now combine my role as a Cover Supervisor with a new role of Sixth Form Key worker.

St John’s has been very supportive towards me personally. Since May 2020 I have had the honour and privilege of being the Mayor of Marlborough and St John’s has been totally supportive in enabling me to carry out my Mayoral duties.

As a former St John’s student and now a member of staff, I would say that St Johns is a fabulous place to work. You have a real feel of being part of something special and unique at an outstanding school with the very highest of standards.

Teaching Staff
Gemma Joyce
Head of Year 13 & Science Teacher

I joined St John’s in January 2013 as a Science teacher. I had previously worked in another secondary school for my NQT year and had completed my PGCE and Chemistry degree at University of Bristol before this.

I gradually took on more teaching and learning responsibility within the Science faculty. Some of my previous roles at St John’s include IB Chemistry Lead Teacher and four years as Head of KS4/5 Chemistry. In September 2019, I then progressed into the Sixth Form team as Head of Year 13.

Excalibur and St John’s have been very supportive in aiding my career progression. I have taken part in the North Wilts Middle Leaders’ programme, subject specific CPD from the EEF and been involved in PGCE mentoring. I have undertaken action research projects on Flipped Learning and, more recently, the explicit teaching of Scientific Vocabulary through the NPQSL. I have previously helped organise a St John’s TeachMeet and been involved in a staff Teaching and Learning group. I have also experienced brilliant whole-school CPD from engaging speakers such as Jim Smith, Robin Launder and Geoff Barton, and can access further CPD through Challenge Partners and EAT throughout the year. With my role in the Sixth Form team, I have accessed many CPD webinars on UCAS applications, personal statements, and Oxbridge guidance.

St John’s is a friendly and supportive place to work. Colleagues are hard-working, approachable, and always look out for each other. We work collaboratively, within and between faculties, to ensure the best outcomes for our students.

Teaching Staff
Sarah Parry
Head of Year & Maths Teacher

I joined St John’s as an NQT in September 2009 as a teacher of Philosophy and Religion. I worked within a strong department teaching wellbeing alongside my specialism and in my second year of teaching was given responsibility for KS4 Philosophy and Religion. As opportunities presented themselves, I was able to apply for different roles and had the chance to be a Head of House as a maternity cover. My passion for the pastoral work in the school began here and has continued throughout my career.

After teaching P&R for a couple of years, I raised the question of whether I could do some Maths teaching. The St John’s leadership and Maths team supported this move and after a couple of years teaching both subjects, I moved to teach Maths full time. I have been fully supported by my colleagues and provided with training opportunities to allow me to develop my subject knowledge and become a strong member of the Maths department.

Whilst changing subjects, I was also given the permanent Head of House role, and as the St John’s pastoral system moved from vertical to horizontal tutoring, I became a Head of Year. I have been part of the team of staff working on the behaviour policy in school and have provided training on pastoral issues to trainee teachers. I love being able to support students’ personal welfare alongside their academic development.

St John’s is a brilliant school to work in. There is always the opportunity to challenge yourself and progress, with a leadership team that support your ambitions. The staff and students are fantastic and create such a positive environment. I feel incredibly fortunate to work here and would certainly recommend it to others looking for a teaching position.

Support Staff
Karen Reed
Web & VLE Technician

I joined St John’s in 2005 part-time in IT Support team, having worked for many years as a technical support engineer in markets like semiconductors, telephony and test & measurement, before taking a break while my children were very young and then returning to work in a technical authorship role. Over the years, my role has expanded, as new technologies emerged, and our systems expanded.
St John’s as an organisation have been very supportive of my mobility issues, making my time at work more pleasant than it would otherwise have been. My colleagues have also been warm and friendly, so all considered, I consider myself fortunate to have been a part of the St John’s family for so long.

Teaching Staff
Ian Tucker

Principal and P&R Teacher

Having arrived at St John’s from leading a Local Authority school, I was struck almost immediately by the strength and values of the Excalibur Academies Trust which underpin the school. Working for Excalibur gives all staff huge potential for personal and professional development in so many ways. Whether it be by following the carefully tailored CPD provision for St John’s; entering into one of the inhouse Teaching School qualifications or by becoming a part of one of the nationally accredited NPQ awards for middle, senior or executive leadership. St John’s and Excalibur invest heavily in the individual and this allows those that work here to be ‘ahead of the curve’ and to remain challenged and stimulated by the profession.

The warmth of the school, the wonderful pupils, the community centred staff and the area of outstanding natural beauty within which St John’s sits are real reasons to consider working here. When I joined as Principal I was taken aback by the strength of the welcome and the desire by everyone to work in a place which has the highest expectations but underlines these with kindness, support and happiness.

Teaching Staff
Lucy Wilkins
Pupil Premium Coordinator & Science Teacher

I joined the science department at St John’s in 2013 as a Biology teacher. Previously I had worked at another comprehensive school, where I was the lead intervention coordinator for KS3 and KS4 science.

Within my first year at St John’s I was appointed the KS3 lead in science then progressed to Deputy Head of Faculty.  After being in this role for a few years I successfully applied for the whole school role of Pupil Premium Coordinator, which I remain as today. During this time, I have also qualified as a SLE.

Throughout my career progression at St Johns I have been supported in a number of ways, including being given the opportunity to attend different networking groups to continue to share good practice and develop the roles with a consistent approach across the South West.  I have completed several courses including the Middle Leadership Course, Excalibur’s Exceptional Teacher Programme and SLE training.  Additionally, I have received a lot of support across the Trust and have had some fantastic mentors along the way.

If you are considering joining St Johns, I would highly recommend it.  There is a fantastic team spirit across St Johns which does not stop with the staff but includes the students and all involved with the running of St Johns. For me, the most important factor I consider when choosing somewhere to work is the team I am surrounded by and the staff who are there by my side each day, and I feel incredibly lucky to be part of this one.