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I started as an assistant

Maureen Porter is assistant head at Sunfield.

"I'm in school by eight, to go through emails. At 8.25 I help the assistant manager organise cover.

I'm in charge of further education (FE), and this time of year there is a lot of getting accreditation folders ready. From 11 every day I teach literacy and numeracy in the FE department. When I was promoted to assistant head I asked to keep a teaching role because I like the interaction with the students, and I like finding different ways of tackling things to get a response.

Lunchtimes at the moment I spend with a student who has been depressed; I taught her for two years and we have a particular rapport.

After lunch I deal with any incidents - for instance, if some one has been thumped and it needs to be reported. Then there might be education planning meetings, or department or staff meetings to prepare for.

Two afternoons a week I do work for my Masters, which is on revising the 14-19 curriculum for severe and complex learning needs in a residential setting. It's hard work, but I think it will be worth it.

We have a good professional development culture here. I am in my 19th year: I started as a classroom assistant, took a City and Guilds teaching degree, then a BA Hons in education, a PGCE, and in June I hand in my MA. I don't think an organisation as big and diverse as this could continue without professional development - you would stagnate.

The satisfaction of working here, especially in FE, is the knowledge you have done your best to facilitate a student's move into the outside world.

I don't think I could teach in a normal school; I wouldn't have the patience, for example, if I knew a student could do it and was being difficult. If something happens here, it's a challenge to think, why did they do that? There is usually, if you delve deep enough, some answer."

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