Gumley House School FCJ

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The Story of Gumley Staff

Our staff are our most valuable resource and we pride ourselves on investing in them, to ensure the best outcomes for students. Our working environment offers many benefits for staff, ranging from training opportunities and guest speakers to a supportive culture and incentives. Find out for yourself what our staff members value the most in their career at Gumley House School, and their experience so far.

Tom Williamson, Maths Teacher & Assistant Headteacher for Professional Development

Mr Williamson started as a trainee teacher at Gumley over 9 years ago, following a previous career as a civil litigation solicitor. He enjoys spending time every day with colleagues who he admires and respects, and with students who are ready and willing to learn. He believes the students value the ethos of the school which looks to develop them as people, both academically and pastorally, and that they know they are coming in every day to teachers who care about them and want them to achieve their potential.

Mr Williamson is of the strong opinion that what sets Gumley apart from others is 175 years of tradition, coupled with the support of the FCJ sisters, that have led to the creation of opportunities for students to develop the key FCJ values of compassion, dignity, excellent, gentleness, hope and justice in their everyday lives.

Mr Williamson explains his future ambitions and career aspirations:

“I have been exceptionally fortunate to be appointed to the role of Assistant Headteacher for Professional Development starting in September. Having previously worked as a facilitator for Early Careers teachers in the borough, I am really looking forward to helping Early Careers teachers to grow as practitioners at Gumley. I am also really looking forward to help develop the professional development policy at the school so that Gumley continues to be seen as an environment where teachers are given the freedom to improve.

The Maths department has a very strong team who look to support each other wherever possible.  I am hoping that in my new role I will be able to continue this mindset with all of the teachers that I work with. I have been provided with the opportunity to improve myself through subject-specific CPD, with a particular focus on my A Level teaching. Despite not being a subject specialist when I began training, I have been trusted to teach Year 12 & 13 Further Maths, including being the sole teacher of Decision Maths. 

Over the past few years, I have had the pleasure to mentor a number of trainee teachers within the department.  I have also been put forward as a facilitator for both the Hounslow Education Partnership, which looks to improve A Level outcomes across the borough, and Teach West London, coaching Early Career Teachers. I love my job!”

Stephanie Winn, Art Teacher & Head of Year 8

Ms Winn recently joined the school and has been with Gumley for a year as an Art Teacher; she will be taking up the role of Head of Year 8 from September. She wanted to be a teacher when she was studying for her A levels and originally planned to work for 10 years in industry before becoming an educator, because she wanted to be an expert in her field.

Ms Winn was a student at Gumley House School from Years 10-13 and embraced the values and ethos of the school. She had inspirational teachers and Mrs Martin, her current Head of Department, is still one of her most important role models.

Ms Winn shares with us her future ambitions and why she enjoys teaching: “Experiencing young people thrive through their educated school years makes for a hugely rewarding career. Seeing children turn into teenagers is very special and it is a privilege to be part of growth and a community that shares this very important journey. Young people are brilliant, the school environment calls for energetic teachers to ensure that all students thrive! The passion from the teachers to see how happy the students are and the wonderful number of superb opportunities they have at Gumley makes the job even more rewarding. My ambition is to be Head of Department.”

Sister Maria Kimaro, RE Teacher

This is an interview with Sister Kimaro who has worked at Gumley House School for two years as a RE Teacher.

Why a career in teaching and why Gumley House School?

The deprivation of education at a young age has motivated me to pursue a teaching career because I wanted to inspire, encourage and prepare young people for their future. As a Blessed Sacrament Sister part of our mission is to provide education for young people. Also, my own experience and journey in education has played a significant part in choosing a teaching career.

I wanted to work at Gumley because of its religious distinctiveness. Gumley is a school community rooted in the love of Christ where students are valued and respected. The presence of the FCJ Sister in school made me consider working in this school community because as a Sister I continue to fulfil the desire of my founder which is to provide holistic education for young people, especially young women.

What do you enjoy most about teaching and what is your career highlight?

I enjoy seeing students grow in confidence making good progress and achieve highly especially my Year 11 last year - they made me very proud.  I also enjoy working with my colleagues and the support I get from the SLT. My career highlight is being part of the community atmosphere of joy, love and support within SLT, staff and pupils.

What sets Gumley apart and what do students value most?

As a Catholic school Gumley is unique because of the nature of its characteristics. The Gospel and the FCJ school values are visible in this school community where the uniqueness and giftedness of each individual student is recognised, valued, nourished and celebrated. I think students value and enjoy the school experience when they feel the sense of belonging, being valued and respected. These values help them to grow and be confident in their learning and in preparation for their future lives.

What experiences and opportunities have you benefited from to enhance your personal and professional development?

I have been supported in different ways which has helped me to grow in confidence. For example, all the ECT sessions online and in-person were very helpful and the CPD on teaching and learning and behaviour management has helped to promote and provide high quality teaching in the classroom - I have gained a better understanding of what is required, and this has also helped me to connect better with students.

Imo Hamilton, Head of Spanish

 Imo Hamilton has been with Gumley House School for two years and is currently Head of Spanish. They joined the school because of the range of languages taught, the positive attitude towards teaching a foreign language at Gumley, the dynamic Languages department and the rewarding nature of helping students to appreciate different cultures and to communicate in different languages. Imo Hamilton’s ambition is to further raise the profile of the Languages department and to grow the number of students opting to take modern foreign languages at A Level.

Imo Hamilton’s comments about their experience at Gumley include:

“There is a real sense of community and care for every individual with a holistic approach to teaching and learning. I have personally been supported throughout my time at Gumley by my brilliant Heads of Department and ECT mentors who dedicated hours to me as a trainee and who were always on hand for any question or query. I was delighted to receive the British Council Language Teacher Training Scholarship during my training year, and subsequently promotion to Head of Spanish. I have had many highlights in my career at Gumley and two stand out events include starring as Buddy the Elf in the staff Christmas pantomime and seeing my first group of Spanish A Level students achieve great results as a reward for all their hard work.”

Holly Henderson, History & RE Teacher

Ms Henderson was a former student who thoroughly enjoyed her seven years at Gumley House School. An opportunity arose to return to an environment that shared her own values coupled with her passion for teaching the new generation. She felt that Gumley was a community unlike any other and she knew that the transition from student to teacher would be supported and encouraged.

Ms Henderson believes the community spirit, the strong sense of togetherness, understanding and empathy for all members of the community sets the school apart from others. She reflects on her amazing experience of going to Lourdes both as a student and a member of staff and commented on it being one of the most rewarding and insightful trips that a school could offer.

Ms Henderson is a History & RE Teacher and has been with the school for two years where she has had several rewarding roles. She was a cover supervisor and then did her PGCE trainee year at Gumley. These are her comments on future ambitions:

“Being cover supervisor allowed me to gain greater insight into other people’s roles and the daily running of the school where I learnt key skills including gaining rapport and recognition with the students. My role as teaching assistant also gave me an interesting perspective on how to support students. Gumley is a place that allows for great opportunities for staff as well as students. In the future I would like to have a Head of Year position as I believe the pastoral side is an area of teaching I can learn a great deal from. I would also like to support an inclusion programme for SEN within the History department.”

Cathy Hobday, RE Teacher

In Ms Hobday’s opinion, students feel valued and cared for as individuals at Gumley, and they feel supported and secure in an atmosphere created of trust to be themselves and to aim to be their best self. The FCJ values at Gumley sets the school apart with students feeling able to use their gifts and talents. Ms Hobday’s career highlights include pupils making progress and seeing them enjoy their learning experience.

Ms Hobday’s views of the school have been captured here:

“I have always had an enthusiasm and passion for Religious Education and have always valued the opinions and views of young people. My ambition is to religiously educate students so that they develop their thinking skills and can see the relevance of this to life. I have been fortunate enough to be involved and support other curriculum areas such as PE and I run a seasonal activities club for KS3 and KS4. I have recently been given responsibility for retreats and to support the spiritual life of the school.”

Carolette Fullerton, Head of Year

Ms Fullerton has worked at Gumley School for Girls for over 6 years and has ambitions to be an Assistant Headteacher in the near future to support in strategic decision making in the best interests of the school’s young people.

Ms Fullerton believes that Gumley has deep Christian values with strong teachers who have an in-depth knowledge of their specialist subjects and the curriculum. She knows that students value their great friendships, the learning environment and getting involved in the wide range of extra-curricular activities. The highlight of her experience has been witnessing students achieving in their GCSEs and welcoming them back to Gumley when they return to express their thanks for all the support they received.

When asked about starting her teaching career, Ms Fullerton commented:

“When I came to Gumley on interview day I felt love and compassion and the young people were very receptive and open to learning. I needed to break the cycle of poverty and getting an education was the way out. Teaching as a career was by coincident but it’s the best coincident I have had. I have benefited greatly from opportunities presented to me at Gumley - I completed a Master’s degree and I am currently doing the NPQSL.”