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'Every day I feel like I make a difference to someone'

One primary SENCo explains why her drive for school improvement has her leaping out of bed

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What gets me up in the morning? That’s easy, I’m a mum of two young children. After five years without a single lie-in, I’m used to my day starting at stupid o'clock.

However, there is a difference in the manner that I get out of bed on the mornings that I go to work and the mornings I do not. I work part-time, so at weekends and during the first two days of the week my daughters’ whines for breakfast, low-level bickering or the sound of Rice Krispies being poured on to the floor at the end of bed are what force me to reluctantly throw back the covers.

But from Wednesday to Friday I actually float out of bed. Sometimes I even leap, for I know I am off to work. It is no secret to my colleagues that I find the balance of being a mum and a teacher "challenging" to say the least.

'Our school is on the up'

But I don’t just love my job because I get to sit down at break time with a (hot) cup of tea, or that I get to go to the loo without interruptions. No, I love my work and have done increasingly so over the past two years. My school has come through some very challenging times. Years of poor leadership and low expectations preceded a visit into special measures in 2011.

In recent years battles with behaviour, staffing issues and a poor learning environment kept us on our toes. But our school has moved on. We are moving upwards. I am proud to be part of a dedicated team and led by an inspirational new head. We have a cohesive new team and a new culture: one that supports every member of staff. We motivate each other and work effectively together. Learning is exciting and it is at the heart of what we do.

My school gets to the bones of me, and at times I am consumed with a drive for school improvement. Every day I feel like I have made a difference to someone and that is worth getting out of bed for...and treading through the pile of Rice Krispies. 

Katie Smith is a senior leader, teacher of Year 5 and 6 and special educational needs co-ordinator at Middle Barton Primary School in Oxfordshire 

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