Wellington, an awe-inspiring community
Wellington is a place where the boundless energy of the pupils, the dedication and commitment of the staff and the enthusiasm with which members of the whole Wellington community support one another come together to achieve remarkable things.
The teaching staff not only deliver inspiring lessons day after day, but they always go the extra mile to help and support our pupils. It is this partnership that leads to the excellent results that are achieved at Wellington year on year. The commitment of the teachers, of course, extends far beyond the classroom and none of the activities, the trips, the expeditions or the overseas exchanges would happen without their extraordinary dedication and hard work.
Here, we profile a small number of teachers who help shape the Wellington community. From the surprisingly high number of former pupils who return to teach at the school to those who began their Wellington adventure only recently.
We are Wellington
As a Kilwinning Academy boy, I didn’t attend Wellington although, I did meet some lovely Wellington girls on a few nights out in Ayr! I came here to teach in 2013, after having worked in a large comprehensive school in the east end of Glasgow for 19 years. Wellington was entirely different. There really is a family atmosphere here and everyone looks out for each other. The attitude of the pupils is truly inspiring and the level of attainment and achievement is tremendous.
I became a teacher because I was lucky enough to have some great teachers when I was at school. I thought that since they inspired me, I would like to try to inspire others. I love teaching Latin and Classical Studies as they form the world we live in but sadly, there are not many schools left which offer these subjects.
The range of topics within Classics is huge; we study, amongst other things, philosophy, religion, drama, poetry, science, archaeology, oratory and politics. Every teacher thinks their subject is best, but I think it would be difficult to identify a subject area with the breadth of Classics. Every time I teach a course, I learn something new from the way each pupil experiences the topics.
I started working at Wellington in 2016 after having worked in Public Relations in Covent Garden, London. My career change was inspired by my husband, who is also a teacher. I used to help him with his work and realised that I was enjoying what he was doing much more than my own work – I have never looked back since!
The thing I love most about Wellington is the children. They are fantastic: bright, friendly, talented and polite – a real credit to the school and their parents. Wellington has also managed to find a great balance between old and new. While following the Curriculum for Excellence and taking part in new and exciting initiatives, we have also managed to hold onto certain traditions which are valued by pupils, parents and teachers alike.
As a primary teacher you don’t always get to see how your pupils progress once they leave school but with the Senior School across the road, you can follow their journey towards becoming accomplished young adults.
I love the variety of teaching in a primary classroom. Every day is new and exciting. At this age, children are keen and eager to learn. It is a fantastic feeling watching your pupils discovering more about the world around them and grasping new concepts each day. Also, the view from my classroom out over the Firth of Clyde is amazing!
Depute Head of the Junior School
I am a former pupil of Wellington. I started in Primary 5 and Mrs Paton (current PA to the Head of the Junior School) was in my class! It was a girls only school at that time and apparently I was the third generation of the Duncan family, following an aunt and great aunts, to attend. I now send my own children to the school!
The fact that we are a very family orientated school with a friendly and happy disposition, where encouragement reaps huge rewards and the children’s enthusiasm for any project is overwhelming, is what I love most about Wellington.
My role covers a spectrum of subjects and I am very lucky that I get to teach and spend time getting to know every child from Nursery to Primary 6. It is very rewarding to watch each of them grow and develop over the years.
I remember the evening I realised that I knew what career was for me. It was in Carlton Turrets Hall at a Careers Night and I was in 5th Year. I spoke to an accountant, then a lady from the bank, but wasn͛t inspired. Next I met Mr Peddie, the Principal of the former Craigie College of Education. His enthusiasm for teaching had me instantly hooked! My Father is a farmer and I can vividly remember running down a potato field where he was cutting shaws, to tell him that my highers had been achieved, and a place at Craigie had been secured!
My family moved to Troon from Cheshire when I was in Primary 4. I didn͛t attend Wellington but my mum did send me for ‘elocution lessons’ with Miss Christine Wright, who taught Speech and Drama at the school!
After graduating with triple honours in French, Spanish and Italian I decided to go into business and was recruited onto Imperial Chemistry Industries Graduate Recruitment Programme. I spent a few years working in systems analysis before moving to H.J.Heinz. That was fun! I was responsible for buying all the products which Heinz sell in the UK but which are made by co-packers or other Heinz affiliates. I travelled widely but I have always been interested in education, regularly providing management training for graduate training programmes whilst still working in industry.
Finding the right time to give up a good job to go back to university to complete a post graduate teaching qualification was never going to be straightforward, but once we moved back to Scotland I took the leap! I have now been teaching here for almost 16 years and the children most definitely make Wellington what it is. I have always had such wonderful, enthusiastic classes, with children who are incredibly eager to learn, and who have very supportive parents. Every stage in the Junior School has its own attractions and in P3 and 4, I love the fact that the children are able to form and express their own thoughts and opinions on a wide range of topics.
Some mornings, when the skies are blue and it’s sunny or when you can see snow on the Carrick Hills, I can’t quite believe how lucky we are to teach in such a wonderful location!
Support for Learning
I came to Wellington in 2014, teaching Primary 7 and was then promoted to Head of Support for Learning in 2016. I love the small school atmosphere at Wellington, where pupils know you and you know them. The school pushes each pupil to achieve their potential and the pupils I’ve worked with here are the most motivated, enthusiastic and hard-working I’ve ever come across. Plus, who couldn’t love working in a castle by the sea? The views from some classrooms are staggering!
I love working with individuals and small groups as it is very rewarding when pupils achieve something they didn’t believe themselves capable of. I found maths difficult at school but, perhaps surprisingly, this is my favourite subject to teach. I love all the games and puzzles you can use in the teaching of maths to bring it to life in a way that wasn’t possible when I was at school.
One particular teacher, my higher Religious and Moral Education teacher, really inspired me to become a teacher as he believed in each and every one of his pupils and made learning fun and accessible for all. I find young people so incredibly inspiring in the unique way they view the world, sometimes they put adults to shame with their well-considered views and opinions on the world around them. This job is always varied and unexpected which keeps me on my toes and I am constantly learning something new!
Mrs Allan retired in 2017 but she taught German and was our House Co-ordinator. She is also a former pupil!
I attended Wellington from S1 to S6, starting in 1966. Not long after I left school, I found myself back here as a teacher! I started teaching at Wellington in 1978, over 38 years ago. Apart from an assistantship in Germany for a year and a brief stint working in a boarding school in southern Germany, I have spent all of my career at Wellington.
Both of my parents were teachers and I decided I wanted to teach French and German before I left school. Wellington is a comparably small school and I enjoy knowing every pupil in the secondary school and seeing them grow into young adults.
Teaching modern languages is interesting because pupils learn so much about countries where the languages are spoken and become more open to other people’s points of view. This has always been important but it is ever more so in our globalised world.
French & German
I absolutely love teaching German and French, as both languages have been a passion of mine since I was in school. It is such a privilege to have the responsibility to represent foreign cultures abroad and to pass on that itching desire to discover new people, places and ways of thinking. Teaching both in the Junior and Senior School gives a balanced dynamic to my approach in the classroom, in that I need to juggle between fun and serious learning at all times.
I started working at Wellington in 2014 and what I like most is the sense of community permeating the relationships between staff, pupils and parents. It is great to be working in such a busy place, where so many musical, sports and other cultural events are organised for the pupils.
Becoming a teacher was an easy choice for me as I love being around young people, helping them become confident and thriving individuals both academically and personally, sharing with and learning from them.
Monsieur Levif is widely known at Wellington for his love of music. He wrote a song to raise funds for the 2015/16 Sixth Year Charity, the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH). The ballad, ‘Come Hail or Storm’, was available on iTunes and the significant proceeds from its sale were donated to charity.
Art & Design
Art and Design is a subject that allows all pupils to find out a little more about themselves. I find that it helps children to develop a wide array of skills including self-expression. Creativity is ever present in the world that we live in so it is important that children recognise and learn about it. I hope that through art and design, we give Wellington pupils an opportunity to think more laterally, work together and be ambitious. I say ambitious because I had the most amazing art teacher at school who transformed how I thought about my life and my future. He taught me so many skills which helped changed my ambitions and life in general, giving me the confidence to make mistakes, be creative and make a difference to individual lives.
I went to a very big school in Glasgow called Lourdes Secondary School. After university, I came straight back to school as a teacher which means that I’ve never actually left education! I started working at Wellington in August 2014 and for me, the enthusiasm of everyone – staff and pupils alike – is infectious!
I love so many things about being a teacher but one that stands out is the fact that I really like talking – in this job I get to talk all day long!
For a small, non-selective school, Wellington really punches above its weight. The work ethic of the pupils, the friendliness of staff and the great rapport that we all have with each other make the school what it is.
I have a BSc Hons in Physics and Mathematics and an MSc in Electrical Engineering, both from the University of Strathclyde. Prior to becoming a teacher, I worked at British Aerospace Dynamics in Bristol as Technical Expert in Electrical Engineering in the High Voltage Research Department. I then worked for AMS Electronic based in the south west of England as a Consultant Engineer. Following that, I returned to my Alma mater where I set up a spin out company to exploit the technology we had developed. Almost 16 years ago, I went into teaching and have been at Wellington since 2006.
I became a teacher because I enjoy the day to day interaction with the pupils – it really keeps you on your toes and is definitely the best part of the job! I relish the challenge of teaching Physics at this level. Exploring new levels of innovation to find new experimentation to help the pupils in their understanding of difficult concepts is a real challenge but a truly enjoyable one.
Business Studies & Accounting
I have been teaching for 14 years but prior to this I worked in both industry and the public sector. After leaving university, I was employed by DuPont as a Sales Advisor and then moved to Hyster Yale Materials Handling as a Procurement Assistant. In the early nineties, I changed career and took up employment with North Ayrshire Council as an SVQ Assessor for trainee modern apprentices.
It was whilst I was working as a SVQ Assessor that I discovered a real passion for working with young people, and this is what inspired me to enter teaching. It has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made, second only to the decision to marry my husband! My career in teaching has brought me a real sense of achievement and I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to work with so many wonderful young people.
I have been at Wellington since 2005 and I just love the community feeling of the school, it is like being part of a big family. There is also a very strong ethos for pupils to “be the best they can be” in everything they do and the staff are all 100% supportive in this regard.
I love teaching Accounting as it allows me to help pupils to build on their numeracy and ICT skills – both invaluable in life. Every question has a very definite answer so pupils feel an instant sense of achievement when they are correct. In Business Management, we focus on the important role that business plays in today’s society. My classes access relevant and up-to-date examples from the world of business – not only can they relate to these examples but they’re learning at the same time!
Computing & Duke of Edinburgh Award Manager
The students and staff are the heart and soul of Wellington. Without them, it’s just an old, empty building. I started at Wellington as a Teacher of Mathematics in 1986 – 30 years ago! I am now Principal Teacher of Computing. For the past 25 years I have also been DofE Manager.
I have always been a teacher (in fact, I was a student postman for a couple of Christmases – lots of walking with a heavy bag – does that count?). My first post was in 1984 as a Teacher of Mathematics at St Michael’s Academy in Kilwinning. It was at this time that I completed my Additional Teaching Qualification in Computing. There are so many reasons why I chose this vocation and why I still enjoy it – the first day of a new school year, new pupils and new classes. After 32 years, it͛s still a buzz!
In a video I show to Computing classes, Gabe Newell, Co-founder and Managing Director of video game development and digital distribution company Valve, says “the programmers of tomorrow are the wizards of the future.” How cool is that?! Codeiarmus!