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Our school is based around the core Christian values of Respect, Acceptance, Uniqueness, Equality, Justice and Forgiveness.

Welcome to St Mary's C.E. Middle School

Thank you for visiting the website for St. Mary's C.E. Middle School. We are a 9-13 middle school situated on the outskirts of Puddletown, a small village in the beautiful Dorset countryside. We are a church school with an ethos built on the core Christian values of respect, forgiveness, justice, uniqueness, equality and acceptance.

Our aim is to give every pupil the chance to achieve their God given potential in all areas of their life and we are proud to have been assessed as an outstanding church school in our last two Church of England inspections. We expect the highest standards in both academic work and behaviour and we place our children at the centre of everything we do.

The pupils, staff and governors are very proud of our school and we hope that this website will allow you to see why. We look forward to having the opportunity to meet you in person.

Staff

Leadership Team
   

 

 

 

Hello!  My name is Darren Ayling and I am proud to be the Head of School here at St. Mary’s Middle.  My favourite teacher at school was a science teacher called Wendy Sibley.  She made us prepare and teach small 5 minute segments of the lessons to help develop our confidence in speaking in front of people.  It was her teaching methods that made me decide to pursue a career in teaching.  My favourite children’s author is currently Anthony Horowitz and I am enjoying reading the Alex Rider series.  I also like the books by David Walliams because I really like his recurring character of the newsagent Raj and his special offers.  I am a great fan of Formula One. My secret skill would be singing (although not so secret in assemblies!) and a surprising fact is that I once appeared a television game show.

 

 

 

Mike Hilborne – I am the Deputy Head of School at St Mary’s.  I very much enjoy my job, working with others, getting to know the children and learning from them.

(Believe it or not!) I started life as a PE teacher in what seems quite a long time ago.  Outside of school I enjoy being a member of Wimborne Running Club.  At the moment I am aiming to lose some weight and find some fitness.  I really enjoy taking part in the weekly ParkRun in Poole Park and have completed 142 of them.  I can recommend ParkRun to everyone.  I am also hoping to return to playing some recreational tennis after back and Achilles injuries.

A favourite children’s book is “Stig of the Dump”, read to my class when I was at school and an enduring story of friendship.  I also much enjoyed  “the Goalkeeper’s Revenge” by Bill Naughton, again from my youth, which is actually one of several short stories, all interesting , some with humour and also, at times, sadness

 

My name is Jo Thomas. I am Assistant Head for Inclusion here at St Mary’s.

My favourite children’s book is “You’re a bad man Mr Gum” by Andy Stanton.  My son and I have enjoyed reading all of the books in the Mr Gum series together, both laughing out loud at the antics of Mr Gum and his friend Billy Williams.

The teacher that inspired me most at school was Mrs Williams, my food teacher who encouraged me to follow a career in teaching.

I enjoy going to the theatre and in particular to see musicals.  I have even been known to take part in a few musicals in the past.

A special fact that may surprise you about me (though some of you probably already know) is that my dad was held hostage in Iraq for four months, 10 years ago.

 

 
   

 

Hi……my name is Mr. Tubb and I am currently the Assistant Headteacher at St Mary’s and this is my second year at the school.  I have been fortunate enough to spend my entire career in middle schools and I think that they are a fantastic environment in which to learn and grow.

My main subject is English and I love it.  If I had to select my favourite children’s book it would be anything with Asterix in!  Otherwise, I enjoy everything by Roald Dahl, but you really can’t beat “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak.

When I was at school, my favourite teacher was my A level French teacher, Mr Rushton.  Although I liked French, it wasn’t my favourite subject but he really cared about me and how I was doing and even now, if I go back to my hometown and see him, he’ll stop and ask how I’m doing.  He was what you could call a ‘firm but fair’ teacher and I really respected him for that.

My secret skill is that I’m pretty good on a surfboard – I love anything to do with being on or in water, and I have been surfing since I was about 7 years old.  A surprising fact about me is that I have sung on stage at Wembley Arena with Metallica.  Thanks for reading!

 

Hello!  My name is Clare Tantrum and I am the Key Stage 2 leader here at St Mary’s Middle School.  I have enjoyed working at St Mary’s for ten years and love seeing past pupils in the local area and learning about what they have been up to and what they have achieved since leaving St Mary’s. 

The teacher that I remember the most from school is my History teacher, who was called Mrs Brenchley (no relation to our Mrs Brenchley though I believe!).  I loved that she was so kind and seemed genuinely pleased to see us each lesson.  She taught us by simply reading out her hand written notes really slowly for us to write down.  I remember presenting her with a typed copy of her notes at the end of the year and she was thrilled with the gift!

My favourite children’s author is Gill Lewis who has currently written four books, all of which I have loved.  My current favourite is ‘Scarlet Ibis’ because I felt like I really got to know the characters quickly and loved that one character took such great care of another even though she is just a child herself.  It also made my cry at the end – which means it must be a great book!

I would say that my secret skill is bubble writing because every time I show my classes how to write something using bubble writing they make very satisfying noises of delight – and surprise.  Thank you for that!  A surprising fact about me is that I have travelled to over fifteen different countries.

My interests out of school revolve around my family and my two springer spaniel dogs.  We love a muddy walk in Puddletown forest with friends and have enjoyed the excitement and fun of two litters of puppies in the last few years.  Hopefully we will have the chance to fill a few more homes with lovable pups in the near future.  Watch this space!

Year 5 Team

Hello! I’m Laura Knight, a teacher and RE Leader at St Mary’s.  I love teaching many different subjects but particularly enjoy music and drama.

One of my favourite teachers at junior school gave me the freedom to explore my ideas. I decided we should be able to have school pets so, after raising money for this venture through a tuck-shop, my friend and I went to buy suitable animals. Rats. We chose a male and a female rat to see what would happen. 13 babies is what happened! Our class had great fun looking after them. As for me, I decided to study them: I weighed them, measured them, recorded how much they ate, timed how fast they ran in races, and drew graphs of the results. It is no surprise that I went on to study science at university. School gave me a love of learning, and in return I probably gave them a rat infestation. J

Have you read any of the Tom Gates books by Liz Pichon? They are popular with the children in my class. A favourite read of mine is Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman. I like the way it is set in a world that is similar to ours but with imaginative differences: every person has a daemon - an animal friend that reflects their character.

A surprising fact is that I have taught children in Spain, the Ukraine and the USA, and my secret skill is photography – I’ve won two competitions this year with action shots of my dog! J

 

Miss Young – I am a part-time teacher in Year 5 so am around school Monday to Wednesday.  I love reading and am part of a book club, this means I read books by authors that I wouldn’t know and I find that really exciting.  My favourite book is, The One and Only Ivan”, it is a really powerful story written in the voice of the main character….Ivan a Gorilla!!

I live in Dorchester with my family and my gorgeous dog Daisy.  I also have a Guinea Pig called Scuttles who we think might be Houdini as he can escape is cage in ways we cannot figure out!  My favourite teacher at school was Miss Jenkins who taught me that the world was an interesting place that I could discover.

 

My name is Sophie Foot and I am a class teacher in  my eleventh year at St Mary’s.

 My favourite book is the “BFG” by Roald Dahl.  This is because Roald Dahl is amazing and the protagonist is called Sophie, perhaps after me, (or maybe after Sophie Dahl, Roald’s granddaughter).

My favourite teacher was Mr Strange who taught me Latin and once wrote in my book “Sophie, you are a very clever girl and are capable of more than this.  You are a DONKEY”

My interesting fact is I have abseiled down Hardy’s Monument and I have kissed the King of Spain (but not on the same day…!)

My name is Mrs Welch and I teach Year 5 and lead KS2 English at St Mary’s.

As an English teacher, I have many favourite books but my childhood favourite is “Ella Enchanted” by Gail Carson Levine.  It has stayed with me as I still get lost amongst the magical lands, intriguing creatures and beautiful fantasy languages. 

Mr Thornton was my favourite teacher at school – he set the BEST homework.  One was all about pineapples!  I aspire to add fun to my lessons just like he did.

My creative secret skill is that I make jewellery and cards for my friends and family.  Finally, a surprising fact about me is that I love ALL things superhero!

 

Kate Hooker - I am a Year 5 teacher and am absolutely loving my job. I started at St Mary's in 2016 and could not have been made to feel more welcome. I have a fantastic and caring class, who make me laugh everyday. 

Whilst growing up my favourite book was an obvious one, Harry Potter! Fantasy books have always been something I have enjoyed and look forward to teaching.

My favourite teacher at school was my year 7/8 English teacher, she was incredibly tall with bright, blonde hair and always wore black. She was so enthusiastic and made me want to push myself to make her proud. 

Any opportunity to dress up and I am there! So far at school I have been a giant parrot, a light up Christmas Tree and currently while I am writing this I am a big red crayon!

 

Year 6 Team

Greetings! My name is Mr Aspinall and I teach English and Humanities at St. Mary’s Middle School. In addition to this I am also the form tutor to the amazing 6A tutor group.

I moved to Dorset from Liverpool two years ago and haven’t looked back since! In my spare time I like to explore the savage beauty of the Jurassic coast and marvel at the majesty that is Durdle Door! My hobbies include reading, theatre, films, sixties pop music, boxing, running, walking and cooking- though not necessarily in that order.

Attempting to disclose my favourite book has proved difficult as there are many. As a child I enjoyed reading the complete stories of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. The character’s ability to solve a case, using a variety of his acquired skills, impressed me no end. Other authors whose work moved me include George Orwell, Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl and more recently Harlan Coben. As a child the magic of these authors’ colourful, fictitious worlds truly enraptured me; now, as I reluctantly shuffle into middle age, they enrapture me still.

When I was young I wanted to be a successful actor. This ambition was never fully achieved. However, I was praised for having an expressive face and superb comic timing. Such transferable skills have equipped me well in my teaching career.  My favourite teacher was Mr. Morris. He was huge in stature and huge in compassion.

One interesting fact about me is that I once had an all too close encounter with a shark; I have the scars to prove it.

 

Hi, my name is Miss Gould and I am a Year 6 form tutor.  I am in my second year here at St Mary's although I did work here a few years ago before I moved to New Zealand.  I lived over there for a year after visiting New Zealand when I was travelling.

 

As a child I enjoyed Enid Blyton stories, probably because I grew up near the beaches and islands in many of her stories.  I still enjoy running, biking and swimming in this area.

 

Something only a few students will know is that when I was in Year 6 I gained the school record for the long jump.  I managed 4m 20cm.  Something for a year 6 to beat...!??

 

Hi my name is  Mrs O'Brien and I am Head of Computing at St Mary’s Middle School.

My favourite teacher was Mrs Grey as she loved reading and writing poetry, which is something I still like to do to this day. I think when a teacher is passionate about a subject then pupils see that and enjoy the lesson even more.

I love fantasy novels so anything by Eoin Colfer and Garth Nix.

 

I am Mrs Westgate and I am happy to be a Key Stage 2 teacher and Head of Maths at St Mary’s.  I have been teaching for 11 years, both in the UK and internationally in a British school in Slovenia. 

Growing up my favourite books were the Famous Five and Secret Seven series written by Enid Blyton.  As an adult I have absolutely loved reading the Harry Potter books, and was very disappointed when the last book finished the story.

When I was at school, my favourite teacher was a music teacher (though I have forgotten her name).  I really liked her because she gave me the opportunity to play different instruments, my favourite being the tenor recorder.  As an 8 – 9 year old, it felt a very big instrument to play!!

A surprising fact about me may be that I started my working career in the Royal Air Force, where I spent 6 years proudly serving my country.

 

Year 7 Team

Hi, I’m Simon Douglas.  I teach Maths in KS2 & KS3 and I’m the Assessment Coordinator and Year 7 Leader at St. Mary’s.

My favourite teacher when I was at school was Mr Rankin.  He taught Latin and somehow managed to bring it to life by claiming to speak in a Latin accent – I never knew how he knew, but he just did and I believed him!

My favourite children’s book is the Lord of the Rings.  I read it when I was twelve (many, many years ago) and I am still sure that my imagination dreamt up more amazing pictures than any CGI can produce in a film.

I am passionate about music and have played in bands at festivals, concerts and folk clubs.  I love sport, especially basketball, and am a keen amateur actor in a local theatre group.  I am also a long-standing member of Symondsbury Mummers – you’ll have to ask me about that one!

 

Dawn Masters - KS3 Maths Lead

 

I am passionate about establishing firm foundations and building mathematicians for the future!

 

I started here at St Mary's in September 2016 when I relocated to Puddletown with my daughter who is in year 8.

We have a Cocker Spaniel puppy who seems to be a cat in disguise, you might notice the bite marks and scratches on my hands; she really is quite a handful! You might see us walking around Puddletown village or Puddletown Forest. Bailey loves climbing up on the table when I am marking your work. I am not sure if she is attempting to help but, reorganising my pile of books, chewing my purple pen and running off with every piece of paper she can get her teeth on, is far from helpful!

 

One of my favourite books as a child was 'The Magic Faraway Tree' by Enid Blyton and I loved reading it to my daughter when she was little.

 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

As an adult I enjoy reading a range of different books but I especially enjoy fiction which is set in the past or in a different country so I can imagine I am there. I enjoy teenage fiction and vampire literature is one of my guilty pleasures!

One of my favourite series of books is the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer.

 

Recently I introduced Times Table Rockstars into KS3 at St Marys. I think many of our students were quite surprised that I enjoy listening to rock music and can't help but sing along in our lessons!

 

Nancy Chantrell – I was educated mostly in Edinburgh and St Andrews and was lucky enough to be taught by many excellent teachers, who not only taught me their subjects, but encouraged me to investigate and learn more about everything that took my interest.  My French teacher, Betty MacDonald, was my inspiration to love French and to study it in depth.  I am still in correspondence with her.

I enjoy singing, reading, cats, gardening, walking, photography, and have many other interests and activities, although my passion is yoga, which I practise and teach.

The highlight of my academic year is the annual Year 8 French Trip.  The children gain a huge amount from the experience in confidence, understanding and they remember it all their lives.  I am grateful too for the support given by a wonderful team of staff who travel with us.

I have a number of favourite children’s books, including The Lord of the Rings, The Wind in the Willows, The Little Prince, many Enid Blyton stories and any Winnie the Pooh, Asterix or Tintin book.  I cannot name one particular book – the choice is too vast!

 

Hi, my name is Mr. Moss. I am the Art and Design Technology Subject Leader. I teach all the Art in the school and also teach Graphics as part of Year 8 Design Technology.

My favourite children’s book is James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I love his use of characters.

I am very interested in all Art forms, but especially like making things. Some of my favourite Artists and Designers are: Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Goldsworthy, Antoni Gaudi, Sir Norman Foster, the Impressionists, Aardman Animation, Giacometti, Vincent Van Gogh, Pixar and Banksy. 

I also have a weakness for superhero comics, animations, robots and old science fiction films.

I am married, with 2 lively little boys and a scruffy dog.  I like nothing better than a muddy tramp through the woods- the environment is important to me. I also play badminton and enjoy watching Rugby.

A little known fact about me is that I once had a piece of Artwork published in the Beano (I was 6 and it was a picture of my cat, Pinky!)

 

Natalia Rogers – I am head of music at St Marys Middle School. My favourite teacher at school was not surprisingly the music teacher Miss Aldis. I was always inspired by how many instruments she could play. My favourite chlidren’s author was Enid Blyton. My brothers and I loved reading his Famous Five books and had many adventures of our own exploring Poole harbour and neighbouring countryside.

I trained to be a teacher at the London Institute of Education as a secondary school music teacher and worked in many schools of the East end as part of my training before taking my first job in the West end of London. I left to be a full time professional harpist travelling the world performing on Cruise Ships and in hotels.

I am now content living in Dorchester with my two adorable girls Carmen aged 3 and Caprice aged 1 and a half.

 

Year 8 Team

Hi, my name is Tom Evans and I teach Resistant Materials in the school.

When I was at school, my most memorable teacher was a science teacher called Mr Baker who was always passionate about his subject and loved using the fume cupboard to demonstrate volatile chemical reactions!

My favourite children’s author has to Paul Jennings who writes very amusing story stories. I particularly like his short story called ‘Little Squirt’ from his book called ‘Unmentionable’ it has the funniest opening sentence that I have ever read.

When I’m not teaching I run my own business restoring antique and vintage furniture. I also enjoy kayaking, fishing and walking my Cocker Spaniel called Flotsam

.

Hello!  My name is Clare Evans and I am a Food Teacher at St.  Mary’s Middle School.  I wanted to teach Food ever since secondary school.  Mrs Phillips, my Home Economics teacher (that’s what cooking lessons were called in those days), inspired a love of food and cooking in me and even though my Victoria sandwich cake ended up on the classroom floor once, she still believed in me! 

My favourite children’s book are; The Tiger That Came To Tea, I love the way that everyone is so ‘matter-of-fact’ about having a tiger in the house and although it’s for young children, it still makes me chuckle; Roald Dahl’s- Danny The Champion of The World, I remember a teacher reading it to us at school, I was captivated by it and still love it today! 

One of my proudest moments was reaching the summit of Mount Kinabalu – the highest peak in South East Asia, it was hard work but breath-taking- literally as the air was quite thin up there!

I love travelling, singing and dancing, theatre and acting and even do the ‘Park Run’ every Saturday but I’m still searching for my secret skill.

 

Salutations!  My name is Christie Dunn and I am the KS3 English leader.  Selecting one favourite children’s book is really tough for me as books are kinda my thing!  One series I read over and over again as a young girl was Little Women (There’s also Good Wives, Little Men and Jo’s Boys) by Louisa M Alcott.  The Harry Potter books also spring to mind – I have always loved what I like to call ‘blended fantasy’ because I like the idea that there really might be magic and mystery all around us in the real world. 

Hilary Over was my favourite teacher at school; she taught me A Level English.  She is the kind of teacher I have always aspired to be.  Her favourite trick was simply to say, ‘And?’ when you gave an answer and it had an incredible power to make you think deeper. 

You might be interested to learn that I fancy myself as a bit of a dog whisperer.  I adore all dogs and when I walk past them in the street, they strain against their owner’s leads as they try to get near me!  One day I will have two Whippets of my very own and then my life will be complete.  

 

Jim Houldey - I grew up in a small village called Gaunts Common near Wimborne, and having taught in Inner and Greater London for 16 years, I moved back to a similarly sized village a mile away from where I lived as a child. I am married; and have four children. Their names are: Ellen (who is 4), Emma and Isaac (who are twins and are 9), and Milly (who is 16).

My favourite children's book is Terry Pratchett's "The Truth". My Dad introduced me to Terry Pratchett's books and I have a signed copy of "The Truth". Terry
wrote: "To Jim.  The truth shall make ye Fred."  Interestingly (although he doesn't go by it) my dad's first name is Fred.

I have played many different sports; and still play cricket and golf. My favourite pastime is spending time with my children.

Not many people know that I reached Grade 5 trumpet when I was at school before I sold my trumpet to buy a guitar.

 

My name is Catherine Sellers and I am a Textiles and Food teacher here at St Mary’s School.  My favourite books are the Harry Potter series.  Unlike some, I grew up with Harry and had to wait for the books to be published.  The books are better than the films by far!

 

Looking back at school, my favourite teacher was Miss Barton.  Her passion to explain something you did not understand, as many times as you needed, was what helped me to learn back then.  That constant need to ask questions to find out information is still with me today.

 

 

  Hi! My name is Eduard Prochorenko. But you can call me Mr P. I have a degree in Mathematics as well as PGCE in Secondary Mathematics. My favorite Maths topic is Algebra. As you can tell from my name I am a foreigner. I can speak a few languages: Russian, Lithuanian, English and a bit of Japanese. My favorite book at the moment is a comic book by Robert Kirkman called "Walking Dead".

 

Rob Wicks - I have worked at St Mary's for the last 14 years, 12 of them as Subject leader for Design Technology and Information Technology, and now work part time in Design Technology. I love doing outdoor things such as walking and at the moment have walked over 370 miles of the South West coast path. My favourite teacher when I was at school was the Design Technology teacher, and I loved making things in the DT lessons, that is why I became a teacher. I love reading, particularly stories that include adventures at sea.

 

 

Hello, I'm Lynne Rainford, and I'm the Science Lab Technician. I have a prep room between the Science Labs where I prepare and tidy away all the various science experiments and equipment the teaching staff require.

I love making things- anything from building brick walls in my garden to sewing patchwork quilts, so I love my job as it is so varied and practical! My hobbies include sewing, gardening, walking my 3 legged Golden Retriever dog Amber, and I'm passionate about photography.

My favourite book when I was young was 'Goodnight Mr Tom' by Michelle Magorian. Now I love ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy. My favourite teachers at school were both Maths teachers, Mr MacGuire my Middle School Maths teacher, and Mr Hazell my 'A'Level Maths teacher- they believed in me when I found the work hard going!

I used to be a Navigating Officer in the Merchant Navy, and my interesting facts are that I have sailed on ( at that time), the world’s largest and most powerful containership, have been through the Suez Canal 36 times and circumnavigated the globe by the time I was 19!

 

Pupil Support Team
Mel King – I am SENCO and also teach Year 6 and 7 RE.  My favourite teacher was Mr Edwards who was a history teacher and used to do impressions of famous people.  I loved to read “My Naughty Little Sister” by Shirley Hughes when I was a primary school teacher and we would guess what mischief she could get up to.

 

Hi!  My name is Justin Bingham and I am a P.E. teacher and Forset School leader here at St Mary’s Middle School.  My favourite teacher at school was a maths teacher called Mr Dobbs.  He looked like Father Christmas and would love to share stories with us, he made all pupils look forward to going to maths!

I am currently out of touch with current children’s books however, as a Dad-to-Be I’m sure I will come across them soon enough!

My secret skill is I’m an ex-chef so can cook!  I am a huge Manchester United fan and my hobbies include football, golf and water colour painting. 

 

Nicola Burridge – my role as Senior Learning Assistant at St Mary’s is to assist the management team and tutors in encouraging and maintaining positive behaviour in all aspects of school life.

When I was at school I had many favourite teacher including Mr Townsend, who told us many stories about competing in the 1948 Olympic Games and Miss Cox, my Tutor and Geography teacher in 1st Form (Year 7).

Some of my favourite children’s books are the Harry Potter series which I read once my daughter had finished them as they came out.  As  a child I enjoyed reading “The Magic Far Away Tree”  books by Enid Blyton.

My not so secret skill is that I love to bake and make a mean Coffee Sponge!

My name is Abbie Elliot – I am the new Learning Mentor.

My favourite children’s book is “Snail and the Whale” by Julia Donaldson.  I love the messages in the story; they seem pertinent to all stages of life.  The snail makes things happen for herself – she doesn’t sit back and waste time thinking about what could be – she gets busy and it leads to great adventures.  She doesn’t give up, even though she is tiny and feels so small, she makes a big difference because of her state of mind.

My (now not so) secret skill is playing table football – although I’m a bit rusty!  I really enjoy competing in my netball league and swimming, sometimes in the sea.  My surprising fact is that I spent a year in France studying a Masters in Oceanography; it was a very challenging year and I am still a little surprised I did it!  I love spending time outdoors with my family – body boarding, biking or bumbling around the garden.

 

My name is Linda Lane and I am a Senior Learning Assistant (Pastoral)

My favourite children’s book was “Shadow the Sheepdog” by Enid Blyton, because it started my love of reading.  My favourite teacher was a biology teacher, because she made me realise that by working hard I could achieve good GCSE results.  My secret skill is a love of natural history, and being able to identify different animals and birds.

A surprising fact is that I have been an extra in a film (The Mayor of Casterbridge) and an advert.  I also love singing and hope to join a choir.

 

Hello!  My name is Mrs Leeming.  I am a Learning Support Assistant based mainly in Year 5.  I also help to run the Breakfast Club and bring my dog, Fin, in to school to listen to pupils read.  My favourite teacher at school was Mr Barfoot.  He had a wonderful way of inspiring all of the children in his class to do their best and at the end of each day he would read us a story. 

You may be surprised to know that I am a qualified dog trainer!  When not involved in various dog activities, I enjoy sewing and other crafts.

 

My name is Jenny Mair and I am a Learning Assistant.  This year will be my tenth year working at St Mary’s.

My Mum was an English teacher (even though she was Scottish!!) and she instilled a love of reading in both me and my brother which has been passed onto my three children as well.  One of our favourite authors (who writes books for children as well as adults) is Terry Pratchett.  “The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents” is a lot of fun but thought-provoking at the same time.

My secret skill is spelling and a surprising fact is that when I was seven I was on “Songs of Praise” dancing to “Lord of the Dance”.

 

Hello, my name is Mrs Matthews, I am a Learning Assistant and a Food Technician.  I have worked at St Mary’s for about 15 years.

My favourite children’s books were Enid Blyton’s Famous Five because they were so exciting and adventurous which meant you had to keep reading to see what happened to them in the end.

My favourite teacher at school was Mr Donovan, who was a science teacher.  He always made the lesson fun and exciting which kept all of us interested in what we were doing.

My surprising fact is that I can knit and sew.  My secret skill is that I knit and sew left handed but have taught pupils how to do it right handed.

In my spare time I like spending time with my dog who is energetic and full of fun.

I am Mrs Nelson and I am the Principal Teaching Assistant at St Mary’s Middle School.

My favourite children’s book is “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”  I like this book because of Charlie and his family.  I like that Charlie chooses to take his Grandpa Joe to visit the chocolate factory.  While they are there Charlie and his Grandpa enjoy seeing the different rooms within the factory with Geese laying golden eggs and Oompa Lumpas to tasting the most tasty and creative inventions such as lickable wallpaper and never ending gobstoppers.  I think I also like this story because I would like to visit a sweet factory like that.

My favourite teacher was Mrs Batch who was my P.E. teacher at Secondary school.  Mrs Batch had a good sense of humour and was very good at explaining the rules and techniques for many sports.  Mrs Batch was patient with us whilst we learnt new skills.  She would also go on the residential trips with us and encourage us to try new activities and would also join in with us.

A surprising fact about me is that I got married at Everton Football Club.

A secret skill or a developing skill is that I have just recently started playing football for a local Women’s team and I will have played my first match by the time you read this!

 

Hello, my name is Janet Taylor and I have been working as a Learning Assistant at St Mary’s for ten years.  My favourite children’s book is “Charlotte’s Web” because the characters are very engaging and I love the story of friendship and loyalty, plus the illustrations are wonderful.

I had lots of great teachers at school, but one of my favourites was a history teacher called Jude Gott.  She was unconventional and very funny And also helped us to become more analytical in our approach to history.

My secret skill is I enjoy writing; when my children were at primary school, I wrote the lyrics to two musicals which were performed by the school.

A surprising fact is that when I was I the sixth form, I won a £30,000 computer for my school.  Although it was the size of a large fridge freezer, it had a very small brain by today’s standards.

 

Mrs Welsby  - I didn’t always want to be a teacher.  I was an actress, worked for the BBC and organised castings for films, TV and adverts.  Sounds really quite glamorous, eh?  It’s not.  After being covered in poop during a nappy casting; frozen to the bone on set at 4am and being disillusioned by the lack of actual shampoo in a shampoo advert (I can’t tell you which one, even though  I’m sure you’re worth it!), I began to question the importance of my work.  When, finally a colleague asked if I would be an Oompa Lumpa before measuring me and deciding I was too tall, it was time for a change!

I wanted to educate and inspire children about the world around them.  So, I became an English teacher and then a Head of English and now run the Literacy Intervention programme at St Mary’s which is a cool job; My students tell me what they want to learn and I get to think up fun ways to teach them so they achieve their goals.  That’s the best bit about teaching; you have a chance to light a spark that turns into fire of knowledge, confidence and independence.

When I’m not in school, I am Mum to Eddie.  If you read “Quick Let’s Get Out of Here!” by Michael Rosen – my favourite book when I was little (well, younger, as I am still quite little!) I bet you can work out who he is named after.

If you see me around the school, please feel free to come and say hello; tell me a story; ask me anything about English or share your chocolate!

Hola!  My name is Rebecca Ross and I am the AFA Supervisor at St Mary’s Middle School.  My role is to support the teaching staff in helping every child achieve their full potential.  My favourite children’s book is ‘The Borrowers’ by Mary Norton.  I loved the idea of a parallel world existing beneath our feet and it really captured the imagination.  My favourite teacher at school was Mr Williams who had the most wonderful welsh accent and made all of his lessons so much fun.  He also introduced me to the cello which I played throughout my school years and beyond.  My secret skill is that I can ride a horse bareback, backwards and a surprising fact is that  I lived in Mallorca for six years and ran my own restaurant.

 

Hello, I’m Mr Baker, the school librarian. I used to dread reading at school until I met an English teacher called Mr Selby who said it was ok not to like Jane Austen*, why not try some Harold Pinter? Or some Douglas Adams? Or ‘The Eagle’ comic?  That was my lightbulb moment and since then I’ve not looked back. Unsurprisingly I have worked with books and literature all my adult life.  I have been a bookseller, a prison librarian and a mobile library driver; and now am lucky enough to help guide - and be guided by - the next generation of book-lovers…

I’ve also done a bit of writing and have had poetry published here and in Australia.

An interesting fact about me is that for ten years I wrote musical stories with the composer Liz Sharma that were performed by the Dorset Chamber Orchestra and the actor Martin Clunes… (It’s very strange hearing Doc Martin reading something that you wrote at the kitchen table in your pajamas!)

My favourite authors are Marcus Sedgwick, Philip Reeve, Patrick Ness, Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami...

I'm currently a third of the way through War & Peace...  (*and I've since seen the error of my ways regarding Jane Austen...)

 

Office Team
My name is Angie Forsey and I am the Office Manager and HR Officer for the school as well as being Head of School's PA - plenty to keep me busy!!  I have only worked in the school for a short period of time but previously had spent over 20 years as part of the NHS working in various departments from Children's Therapy Assistant until finishing as Service Manager responsible for running three specialties within Dorset County Hospital.  I retired from DCH in 2015 looking for a quieter pace of life but soon found myself entwined into the busy school life of St Mary's - but I love it here!!  I loved reading as a child and still do now, but my favourite books remain constant.  Black Beauty by Anna Sewell and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  I still love murder/mystery books to this day!!  My favourite teacher at school was actually my Headteacher at my Primary School.  His name was Mr John Gage and he was consistent and fair and also had a very caring side. You knew if you were stood outside of his office you had either been very good or very bad!!!  He gave me inspiration to follow my dreams and remains a source of great respect and many happy memories.The only fact that others may not know about me is that my first job after leaving school was as a police officer in the Dorset Police. 

 

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