Head to Head with Executive Headteacher of the Castleman Academy Trust

Executive Headteacher, Rhonda Moore gives us an insight into her life at Castleman Academy.

Your current title / role

Executive Headteacher of the Castleman Academy Trust. The Trust is made up of two Schools – Broadstone First and Broadstone Middle.

Brief career background 

I trained in Australia and had been teaching for two years when I met an English lad who had “gone to the colonies to look for a bride”. My first post in England was in the East End of London which was an amazing experience. We then moved down to Sussex and I taught Year six there for around three years. 

After a career break to have children and a move to Dorset, I became Deputy Head at Broadstone First before eventually being appointed Head there in 2001.

I was extremely lucky to be allowed to take up a part time secondment to work with the National College of School Leadership (as it was then) when it was under the leadership of Steve Munby. I did this for eight years and met some absolutely fabulous heads and school leaders across the country.

Most recently, I became the Executive Head for the newly formed Trust, which has been a HUGE learning curve and really exciting.

What does a typical working day look like?

On a typical day, I get to school at 7.30 when it’s quiet. I try to stave off “email bankruptcy” before visiting staff at either of the schools. I like to get out into the playground as the learners arrive in the morning as I am missing the day to day contact with children!

Our Trust is very new and most of my days are spent meeting with key staff to ensure procedures and policies are in place. Whilst it would be easy to get completely bogged down in this work, I try to ensure I get opportunities to meet with other Heads and I’m really looking forward to attending CFBT “Schools Partnership” training, next week, a programme that encourages schools to work in partnership with each other to improve.

Sometimes there are staff meetings to go to, sometimes I meet with parents and children, but it can be all too easy to sit behind the desk and focus on policy. 

My office is right at the back of the school, a million miles from the staff room, coffee and even further from the printer. So I've bought myself a 'Fitbit' - rather than setting up a printer or a kettle in my office, I use the opportunity to get more steps up!

Meetings can take up most evenings but I try to make sure I get to the gym or go cycling twice a week. 

What did you have for dinner last night?

Last night the weather was beautiful, so we had a barbecue in the garden.

What was the last piece of music you listened to?

The last piece of music I listened to was in the car on the iPod. It started with Ed Sheeran (Firefly), went to Pet Shop Boys (I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind of Thing) and then to a Swedish group called, Haim (Don’t Save Me).

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

I loved school and enjoyed all of it but that doesn’t mean I was any good at it. I do remember my Art work being used to show others what NOT to do!

I found Maths hard but with the help of fabulous teachers, I got through . . . I even became a Leading Maths Teacher later! I think sometimes teachers are better at teaching things they struggled with because they understand the difficulties involved!

What is the best thing about your job?

The BEST thing about my job is the variety – you’ll never know where you’ll find me! I can be sitting in a meeting with Local Authority Officers one day and the next have my arm down a drain to unblock it. I love how I get to work with a variety of people and how “every day is a school day” – there’s something new to learn every day!!!

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

I wish the education system was more about learning. I completely understand(and agree with) the need for targets and ensuring youngsters progress. NO one can argue that Literacy and Numeracy are important, but so are attitudes and skills for learning. We can’t know what our youngsters will need to know when they’re older, but we should equip them with the skills to find out what ever they need to know. I’ll get down off my soapbox, via my high horse!