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In-depth interview with new Head of Middle School Paul Sanders

In-depth interview with new Head of Middle School Paul Sanders

What attracted you to the role?

During my time as a supply teacher I worked considerably with the Manchester Hearing Impaired Service.

This gave me an insight into how children learn when they have very specific challenges. From there, the usual frustrations with unruly pupils or those with difficult circumstances began to interest me.

I wanted to know why they were not achieving and how they could be helped. A pastoral role such as Head of Middle School is ultimately to help the pupils to achieve academically. Being in a position such as this therefore, allows me to act as the mentor, social worker, or even as a role model to help and support that pupil to achieve their potential.

My career to date has developed in me, an intrinsic belief that, given the right tools, all pupils can achieve; however, some have more challenges and needs than others. The attraction therefore, is to be in a position to help guide the pupils towards success, with the help of an excellent team of tutors, by providing them with those tools to achieve.   

How excited are you to take on the role?

I am very excited to be taking on this role. I love being in the classroom, but having the opportunity to lead a large cohort of pupils and make an impression to every member of Middle School, is a fantastic opportunity. I am passionate about pastoral care and thoroughly looking forward to it!

What do you think you can bring to the role?

There are clear challenges which need addressing with any role of this type. I will be actively seeking to instil a sense of pride in Middle School and build upon the excellent work of Mr Murphy to help drive a love of learning in the pupils.

I want them to be proud of our school, and their achievements in their time here, and support them in achieving their potential. Excellent collaboration with the tutor team, rigorous scrutiny of academic data, reporting and monitoring when applicable, and a paternalistic leadership style will, I think, serve to set members of Middle School up for success. All with a keen sense of humour may I add!   

How will you be preparing for the role this summer?

I’m currently reading Educating Ruby: what our children really need to learn by Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas which claims to be “a powerful call to action for everyone who cares about education in an uncertain world.” I’m sure that this will give me plenty of food for thought.

I am looking at how the Grange can be better utilised as a social base for Middle School and thinking about how I can use my assemblies to drive my vision and inspire our pupils towards achieving success.

A Ugandan proverb goes: ‘Old men sit in the shade because they planted a tree there many years before.’ I think this sums up nicely the importance of a good education, but also the value of developing those soft skills - resilience, leadership and the ability to solve problems - which our pupils have in depth.

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