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Nairn's new faces

ICT Sarah Maclennan

"I was an information and communications technology co-ordinator before coming here, so it's an area that really interests me.

"The timetable is organised to try to minimise travelling, but physically it's still quite demanding. You have to be very organised to make the most of the 50-minute blocks of teaching. I carry a great big box around with me, containing my laptop, a digital projector and resources for the lessons.

"I'm full-time, so I teach ICT to 24 classes a week, with a wide range of abilities and behaviour. All the schools are using the same programme though, which is a big advantage. At the end of every block I do a full evaluation, an assessment of the children and an outline of next term's work for the class teacher.

"I like being in at the start of the project and helping to develop it. It is very satisfying."

FRENCH Dorothea Cooke

"In Nairn we teach French only in P6 and P7 and two of the schools teach it themselves, so I'm part-time.

"I was a primary headteacher but didn't go back after having kids, and I have been a relief teacher for a while. The big advantage of this job is that two days a week I know where I am."

"I love French and speak it to the children at every opportunity. I take my guitar around with me because the kids love singing in French even if they can't speak it.

"All the schools are now working to the same structured programme, so the kids will all be at the same level when they reach secondary school.

"It is very concentrated with a really tight schedule. I bring a cooker clock and when it pings I have to say 'Au revoir', pack my bag and my guitar and move off to another classroom."

HEALTH amp; TECHNOLOGY Nick Speakman

"I retired from the Royal Air Force, then trained as a teacher. The combination of health and technology appealed to me as I'd been promoting health in my previous teaching job and I was a mechanical engineer before that.

"This is a great way to get a lot of experience in a short time, with exposure to four very different schools. It's interesting seeing how they all operate. I now teach 645 kids a week, compared to 24 last year.

"It is quick-fire in and out, so the kids don't get bored and discipline doesn't tend to be a problem. I teach the same lesson four times which gives me a chance to plan really well and address a wide range of abilities.

"I suppose there might be a concern that primary schools could become too much like secondaries, losing the emphasis on the needs of individual children, especially in language. But this is a very good way of making sure every area of the curriculum is addressed."

DRAMA Sally Pilkington

"My parents were in education, so I had to do something different. I trained in ballet when I was young, then came to Scotland and ran a tearoom before working as a chef. I've been teaching for 10 years.

"I have young children so the three-and-a-half days a week of this job suits me fine. I absolutely love teaching drama; I am a bit of a dramatic person.

"We got going with very limited resources. The main thing you need is bags of enthusiasm and the confidence to stand up and say 'Look at me'. The children are bringing their own costumes now.

"The little ones were doing 'Sleeping Beauty' today, walking and talking like lords and ladies. I was the wicked witch.

"They all love it. It's really improving their listening skills and once those improve so does everything else."

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