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LIFE LESSONS: Simon Spiers, headteacher at King Alfred's Academy in Wantage
10:00am Thursday 19th April 2012 in Columns
WHAT I’M CALLED: Simon Spiers.
WHAT I DO: Headteacher at King Alfred’s Academy in Wantage. This is an Academy with 1,900 students and 220 members of staff.
WHERE I LIVE: Faringdon.
WHO I LOVE: My wife, Juliane, and my children Katy and Rebecca (plus our Labrador – Dibble).
HAPPIEST YEARS: Last year. It was my first year as head at King Alfred’s and taking into account getting the job, the Ofsted inspection, converting the college to an academy and seeing so many of our young people achieving so well last summer, it was a brilliant year!
DARKEST MOMENT: Receiving the phone call from Ofsted Inspectors giving me two days’ notice that they would be inspecting King Alfred’s back in February last year. I understood that so much rested on the inspection after several years of improving results at the college. I knew that every member of staff would be under incredible pressure to perform at their best.
PROUDEST BOAST: Receiving the feedback from the inspectors later that week when they informed me that they had graded King Alfred’s as Outstanding, placing us in the top 10 per cent of schools nationally. I knew that staff, students and parents and our whole community had pulled together to show the very best of King Alfred’s.
WORST WEAKNESS: Drinking far too much tea with sugar – especially on busy days at work.
LESSONS LEARNED: Too many to recall! Working with young people has a way of stopping you getting too big for your own boots. They constantly remind you that we all have so much to learn.
DULLEST JOB: Never had a dull job as I have been a teacher for 25 years. There is nothing dull about working in schools in this country or abroad.
GREATEST SHAME: Not learning to fly a helicopter, which is something I desperately wanted to do when I was young. Perhaps I will learn once I retire.
LIFELONG HERO: My mum, who put up with so much and managed to give me every opportunity possible, even though life was really hard.
OLDEST FRIEND: Without question – my wife.
WIDEST SMILE: Easy – on the day of my marriage, followed by the birth of my kids, followed by receiving the phone call confirming I had been offered the job as headteacher at King Alfred’s.
FAVOURITE DREAM: That someone in the Government will listen to teachers before changing the school curriculum again without notice.
BIGGEST REGRET: I don’t do regrets as life is far too short. Instead I look forward to each and every day, whether I am at work at King Alfred’s or on holiday with family, skiing or canoeing on a river in Scotland. Live life to the full and enjoy every moment. Never look back and say ‘I wish I had…’