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Gillian Wilson

SLE on the English team for the Bradford Birth to 19 SCITT

After completing by initial teaching training at Liverpool University in June 1995, I took up my first teaching appointment in Bradford in the autumn of that year. Since then, I have taught in a number of schools across the authority. Since every school I have taught in has been very different, I feel that the professional person I am today has been very much shaped by those invaluable experiences.

I feel a huge sense of commitment to Bradford, and in helping other schools, teachers, students and children to achieve the very best they can. This sense of commitment was behind my decision to become an SLE and to work as a team for the Bradford Birth to 19 SCITT in helping them to fulfil their vision for shaping the future of education in the city.

Throughout my career, I have always had a strong interest in teaching English in a way which reaches out to all of our children. I am very much driven by a creative, engaging curriculum which at the same time promotes sound teaching of specific subject skills. Every year, I learn something new from the schools I have worked in and the children I have taught. Every year, there is always an element of my practice which must be adapted in order to meet new expectations or varying demands. It is this which I enjoy the most.

What shaped my approach to teaching English was a group of disengaged boys in a class I taught back in 2005. From studying these boys, I noticed that their mathematical knowledge was strong. They loved maths. When I asked them why they liked maths more than English, their answer was so simple. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t recognised this in the ten years I had been teaching at the time. They simply said that maths had rules. You could remember them. Nothing changed. It was fun. From their response, I set about re-working my medium term English planning and asked my Headteacher if I could trial a method of teaching English. What followed astounded me. Overnight, those disengaged boys became writers. They were creating and shaping their own texts and proudly sharing in class. They were experimenting with sentence structures and different vocabulary. This was beyond my wildest hopes I could have had. What I learnt from those children changed the way I taught permanently.

As I moved on to other schools, I took the same method with me, adapting it to suit the children’s different needs. As a teacher, I am still learning. Nothing ever stays the same for me.

I am now the Deputy Headteacher of Wilsden Primary School and feel very proud to be working with such a fantastic team of committed staff and enthusiastic children.