Rosie Phillips
Posted on 14 Nov 2016

Head to Head with Ian Bruce, of the Cornwall Association of Primary Heads (CAPH)

Your current title / role:

I am actually self-employed but work for four and a half days a week as the Executive Officer for CAPH

Brief career background: 

I left school at 16 to work for Martin’s Bank (now Barclays) in Liverpool and was there for four years. It was not for me so I went off to teacher training college and started teaching in Liverpool in 1974. 

Over eight years I worked in three schools, gaining promotion each time and then moved to Cornwall in 1982 for a deputy headship at Burraton School, Saltash. I was appointed to the headship of Port Isaac Primary School late in 1984 and then went on to Rosemellin Primary School in Camborne in 1989. This is where I stayed for 24 years until moving to the CAPH role for three days a week in 2013. 

During my time in these schools I was also appointed as the Branch Secretary of The NAHT for Cornwall in about 1998 and this has given me a national, regional and local perspective on changes. 

I was the National Executive Member for eight years and have served on the SW Regional Executive since its inception in 1991. I will be resigning from that group at the end of this week at the AGM – time for others to move up to this.

What does a typical working day look like?

I am not sure what a typical day is! 

It can be in the office getting up to date with the team and administration… It may be out visiting prospective partners, working in a school alongside partners or visiting heads either in schools or cluster groups to give them support and updates on the role of CAPH… It may be interviewing associates and then working on promoting our school support service or interviewing for Supply+ our in house supply agency… It may be spent at one of our conferences and two days recently were at our very successful Eden Conference… It may be attending meetings with the local authority or wider meetings such as SCB, CAHMS or Prevent. 

The great thing, as with school, is that no two days are the same.

What did you have for dinner last night?

Fish chips and mushy peas from the Chippy! I went to see Argyle and then on to Sister Act in Truro so the great British takeaway was ideal.

What was the last piece of music you listened to?

‘Sylvia’s Mother’ by Dr Hook – I had it playing in the car after seeing the new and original Dr Hook a couple of weeks ago.

What was your favourite and most hated subject when you were at school?

My favourite subject was History, a brilliant teacher who inspired us and I went on to study this at College. The worst has to be science! It just did not do it for me.

What is the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is being in a position to look at the bigger picture in education and hopefully help all primary colleagues to have a voice and provide them with quality services and support. I love meeting up with everyone and finding out what they need. The other key piece that makes my job so worthwhile is a brilliant team at the office who make so many ideas happen.

If you could change one thing about the current education system what would it be?

I have suffered for over 40 years at the hands of successive governments who think they know about education. The one thing to improve this is to dissolve the DfE and hand back education to the profession through a college or similar that will have a full understanding of the needs of all children.

If you're interested in taking part in our Head to Head feature please get in touch with Rosie Phillips at or 01392 687774