A few things you didn’t know about Mr Paul Walker, Headteacher!09 January 2017
Mr Walker has worked at Penryn College for 14 years and is a very familiar face to lots of parents. His assemblies last week were about his own childhood and influences. His message to students was simple, and one we can all relate to: be happy at school and make sure you learn all the skills you need so you can have the life you want to live.
So we thought we’d take a minute or two at the start of term to chat to him as he starts his new role in school.
Q: Have you always been a teacher?
A: Well, yes, I have, and I’m proud of that. It was something I always wanted to be from a teenager. Of course, I did other temporary jobs when I was a student – bar work, kitchen porter, even a stint working night shifts in the St Ivel Gold marge factory! My favourite job had to be football coach at the Bobby Charlton Soccer School in Manchester – I did that in my uni holidays and it was great preparation for teaching.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: Like a lot of parents of sport-mad kids, I spend time ferrying them around to matches and practices. I still coach Falmouth U13 football, and keep up the running for fitness. Summer time, we’ll surf – being active outdoors and with my family is what I like best.
Q: Do you have a favourite spot in Cornwall?
A: I like my home patch – living and working in this community suits me to the ground – I consider it a privilege to raise my family and have my dream job on our doorstep. I guess if I had to name a particular spot, it would be Maenporth beach – it’s where my kids played for hours when they were little and I’ve got very fond memories of our time there.
Q: So what are your priorities this year?
A: Obviously to ensure we all do the best job possible so that our students are happy at school and make great progress!
Q: Anything in particular?
A: Yes – you might have seen the green assessment sheets that are stuck into every subject exercise book. It’s a new system – each student gets a really detailed outline of what he/she will be learning in a subject and the teacher gives precise feedback on how to improve as they mark the work and at the end of each assessment. Parents and students can see this feedback in books and on our live assessment page on the Virtual school. It’s taken us a lot of extra time getting it all up and running, and we spent the day before term started last week looking at how it was working.
Q: And is it?
A: We’re getting there! What I really want to see happening is all students benefitting from the great feedback teachers are giving them. At the moment, some are and some aren’t. I know if every single student can work out what they need to do to improve their progress, they will all be flying! This term I want every student to be able to say (whatever the topic or subject or level) ‘I am learning this, this is what I what I am good at, and this is how I can improve’ – simple as that!