Simon Atkinson

6th June 2008 at 01:00
Assistant head at St Joseph's Roman Catholic Primary in Chelsea, London
Assistant head at St Joseph's Roman Catholic Primary in Chelsea, London

What's the best bit of your job?

Knowing no two days will be the same.

And the worst?

Preparing children for Sats. It really does feel like production-line teaching.

Who's been the biggest influence on your career?

I used to be an Anglican priest and served as governor at a local school. That's when I realised I wanted to teach. Lesley Brown, the head, was a great support. She helped with the application process and reassured me when I felt daunted.

What do you like about your current school?

Staff work together and aren't competitive.

How's your work-life balance?

Pretty good. As a priest, I learnt that you have to be strict about making time for yourself. I always keep Saturdays work-free, and I've joined a gym.

Your best professional development course?

Ros Wilson's big writing course. When you teach children to write, you need to start by developing their speaking and listening skills.

What's your ambition?

I was recently made acting assistant head, and that's just been confirmed as permanent. One day, I'd like to be a head, but there's no immediate hurry.

Have you changed as a teacher?

Good teachers change every day. You have to be intuitive and respond to what's happening in the classroom.

Highlight of your career?

Taking a group away to Dorset for a week. It was great fun seeing city children get their first taste of the country.

Advice for an NQT?

Learn the basics. Try to be the best classroom teacher you can.

Simon Atkinson was talking to Steven Hastings


1995-2003: Anglican priest

2003-2004: PGCE, Durham University

2004-2006: Year 3 teacher, Oakley Cross Primary, Durham

2006-now: St Joseph's Roman Catholic Primary, Chelsea.

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