Head to Head with Louise Parr, Executive Headteacher of Newbridge School
Your current title/role:
Brief career background:
I have been teaching for the past 30 years....where has the time gone!! I started my career as an Early Years and KS 1 specialist , with a mixed age 4-6 class and then managing a 52 place EY/nursery department of a large mainstream primary school. I then moved into teaching in a special school as the EY manager. I saw this school through an amalgamation and after five years moved into the Deputy Headship of an all age special school which is one of the schools that forms the current Newbridge School and Special Educational Needs Services - as it amalgamated after I had been there 18 months and I became the Head of School for one. I took the role as Executive Headteacher four years ago. I have enjoyed every part of my career in education and love my job as there is never a dull day and every child and family bring something new to your role daily.
What does a typical working day look like?
My typical day starts at about 7.00am with emails and checking my calendar, planning for the day, meetings etc. I liaise with the two Heads of School and Service Managers to ensure all is going well.
I don't think I have ever had a day that goes as planned but this all adds to the variety of the role. Strategic planning is key to the daily role and the pupils wellbeing and staff wellbeing fall into a lot of this planning. Meetings both in school and strategic Local Authority meetings take up much of my time. I usually have at least one of these per day. I usually manage to finish at between 5.30-6.00pm on a normal day… if there is such a thing ! I do often find myself reading through work in the evenings and responding to emails or flagging to prioritise them too.
What did you have for dinner last night?
Dinner last night consisted of roasted vegetables, rosemary and garlic roasted new potatoes and tender stem broccoli. Followed by Eton Mess. One of my favourite meals.
What was the last piece of music you listened to?
The last piece of music I listened to yesterday was Metallica's Black Album - one of my favourite bands who I go to see in concert whenever I can. I recently saw them in Denmark which was great and involved a weekend break in the lovely city of Copenhagen. I'm going to see them again in October- closer to home this time at the O2 Arena.
What was your favourite and most hated subject when you were at school?
At school I loved Art and Metalwork (this is what encouraged me to do my Art and Jewellery degree before doing my BEd) My most disliked was Chemistry... I never really grasped it but find it very interesting now!
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is the children, they never cease to amaze me and bring a smile to my face daily. Innocence and a sense of fun is implicit in their lives and rubs off on all around them.
If you could change one thing about the current education system what would it be?
I feel that teachers are undervalued and as such, great teachers are leaving in droves and potentially great teachers are not joining what is an exciting and rewarding profession. This shows in current recruitment and retention issues that we are all facing and especially in Special Education as there are even fewer training opportunities in this field.