The Latymer Link - page 4

I
f a week is a long time in politics, then conversely a year in education flies by in the blink of an eye. It
seems like no time at all since September 2013 when I took up the position of Deputy Head, Pastoral at
Latymer. And what a year! A year that was dynamic, fast-paced, demanding, exciting, full of learning and
getting-to-know, rewarding and dare I say it, successful? I could apply those words and many more to every
day spent at Latymer. After 16 years in education and with a good idea of what was expected, I wouldn’t have
considered this important role in a highly selective London Grammar school to be any different.
Prior to coming into teaching in 1998, I had worked at the Université de Provence in France, followed by a
stint at a big UK brewer and hotelier and then a few years working as a Management Consultant on behalf of
some of the world’s leading hotel chains. But it became clear in this last job that despite the glamourous and
sometimes unglamorous travel, I needed to work more directly with people rather than be office bound. A
career change beckoned and I’ve never looked back since finishing my PGCE at King’s.
Before starting at Latymer, I spent 15 years at a high performing comprehensive school in Hertfordshire.
In that time, I was fortunate enough to move from classroom teacher to Head of Year, to Director of Sixth
Form, to Head of Faculty and then to Assistant Headteacher. So by the time I came to apply for the Deputy
Head position at Latymer, I felt that I had had quite a range of experience which would serve me well. I have
certainly called upon some of that experience this year.
Like most people who work in education, no two days are the same for me. As Deputy Head, Pastoral, my core
purpose is the care, guidance, safety and well-being of students both inside and outside of school. Although
I have an idea of how I want my days to unfold thanks to my “to do” lists (I couldn’t live without them), the
nature of my job is, to a certain extent, reactive and within minutes of walking into my office I may have to
drop tools and deal with an issue. I am one of a team of four Designated Child Protection Officers and I am
often the liaison between school, on behalf of a student, and a number of outside agencies including Social
Services, the Police and CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) to name a few. It’s important
to talk to a lot of people not only to get the full picture but to also get the best advice in order to support
each individual student and their families. If I’m not dealing with an outside agency, the same comprehensive
approach to supporting students in school is just as important. I work very closely, every day, with five Heads
of Learning and their Assistants. They are the staff who know their year group of 186 students incredibly
well, and either know themselves or are well informed by other staff when something is not quite right with
an individual. The Heads of Learning and I communicate informally almost every day, face-to-face, on the
phone or by email. We update one another on a student or group of students and how we can best help
them as well as supporting one another to get the best outcome. Inevitably, this means having meetings
together with students and parents to discuss problems, plan further support, iron out relationship or
communication problems amongst peers and, at times, to discuss behaviour that has fallen below Latymer’s
high standards. I meet formally with the Heads of Learning every fortnight and like to think that because of
open communication channels, nothing comes as a surprise. Work to solve a problem is already underway
or is being refined. I am firm believer that if a child is happy and safe, they will enjoy coming to school both
to learn and to develop. In the Autumn Term of 2013, I thought it was important that all staff knew and were
updated regularly of a number of issues that may be affecting a student at any one time. They could take this
information into account when in the classroom, on trips, when calling or writing home and hopefully would
be able to personalise a response. With the help of the Heads of Learning including those in the Sixth Form,
we created our Pastoral Profiles which are available for staff to consult.
Spotlight on:
Pete Hampson
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