As our placement is completely up to us as students, we do have some structure as to what we have to include in our folios. One of these is a piece on the culture of our placement and how we do this piece is completely up to us. I have decided to conduct interviews and questionaires from various members of staff from accross the school and collate the answers in a blog post on here for confidentiality and fairness. I am aware that I wanted to do these interviews but not name any names as so many member of the school look on my blog frequently, so this is the best way I could think to do it. So what did I ask, and what were the answers?
What would you tell a friend about Moulsford?
Most people were really positive saying things like “you do something different everyday” and that the school is amazing for sport/socialising. From my observations, that school is amazing when it comes to sport with the boys doing games/p.e. nearly every day though classes or activities. Sport is something that the school highly values and feels that the children should have regular access too. Additionally, someone told me that the one thing they would tell a friend about Moulsford is how passionate the staff are. From experience in my time here, I was instantly shown just how friendly an environment this is to work in. Everyone is so friendly as well, they are all willing to help and want me to do my best and even with this here, staff that I hadn’t even come into contact with were willing to talk to me and answer my questions. There is such a family feel here and for the time I have been here I have been delighted to feel a part of it. However, with any job there are highs and lows. Some of the staff were not quite as positive, mentioning the fact that the school can become political, feeling that if you’re not in the crowd you’re clearly left out. I have not personally seen anyone being left out, in the staff room everyone is always very chatty and happy to talk to anyone, however I am only seeing a snapshot of life here for 6 weeks.
What would you like to change about Moulsford?
I asked the staff this question, because I feel that there are always ways of improving everything. The staff all said that they would like to see a more diverse range of students i.e. class, disabilities etc. Although you can walk around and in each class there is nearly always a child with a form of disability e.g. dyslexia, I fully see why they brought up class in this questionairre. At least 95% of the boys at Moulsford are English white middle/upper class but this is most likely due to the catchment area and the fact that it is only people earning a certain wage bracket that can afford a private school for their children. Moreover, other things mentioned were the astro facilities, the elitism and the fact that whole school decisions should not be parent led. Some staff members even said that there was genuinely nothing they wanted to see change. Additionally, there was a lot of talk about the amount of support for the pastoral side of the school. With a designated head of pastoral care and also a boarding house, I am seeing a tremendous amount of pastoral care being given to the boys compared to what I see in Scottish state schools. However, I do also feel that sometimes there is a culture in the school of “man up” as an all boys school. If a child falls over I am used to the rush over give him a plaster and ensure he is feeling well. Although here all of the staff are exceedingly caring and kind, there is a man up attitude from most teachers which could be considered harsh for boys of such a young age. Lastly, one member of staff wrote that they would like to see less of the “if your face fits” culture especially in terms of favouritism. Unfortunately, some staff said that they would not be willing to say if there was anything, which did not really help me, however I do understand that some staff would like to keep their ideas private and respect this fully.
Who is the hero around here and why?
There was a huge response to this question, with everyone having different answers, but I couldn’t write everyones names because of confidentiality and the fact this is a public blog. So I am going to write their job title insted.
- The staff on their Gap Year, because they always goes the extra mile.
- One of the sports teachers Mr O, because he’s great at teaching sport.
- Headboy and scholars, “A” team sportsman.
- Anyone putting their trust in us when we do things differently.
- Mrs R because she is very calm, takes her time to get to know everyone and always gets involved.
- Head of pre-prep because they lay the groundwork for future educational sucess.
- All the staff who come in everyday
- The sports teachers
What is your favourite characteristic of the school?
Naturally, every single answer to this question mentioned the setting. Just look at it though! There is a beautiful riverside which the school utilise, especially in the summer and not only that it is only an hours drive away from London so the boys can go on loads of school trips to the theatre, museums and art galleries. I wrote about learning support and the amount of work they do throughout the school, so I was glad when a member of staff told me that they felt there was a lot of support for students with dyslexia. Moreover, I have mentioned the family feel before and the homelieness of Moulsford which is down to the friendly staff and the fact that staff bring their pets at school. The pets go on outdoors learning trips like forest school, I have mentioned Bosun the dog before in my posts. Moreover, some teachers felt that the oportunities for academics, sport and other for the students and the staff were their favourite parts to the school.
What kinds of people fail in your organisation? (Students/staff)
Staff felt that it is quite hard for students to fail. This is most likely down to the fact that there is so much support for the boys and everyone will happily rally together to help any child in need. Some said that if anyone was to fail, it would be the less able/academic or non sporty boys who could become overwhelmed by workload and fail at their exams. However, we must think about failure as something with isn’t always academic, and someone can be a sucessful classmate as apposed to a successuful scholar.
Staff wise, those who may fail in this environment would possibly be those with a lack of confidence or anyone that fails but doesn’t try again. Unfortunately, some staff members said that some staff are not given the individual attention they need, so if they were to fail, they didn’t feel supported. This is absoloutley the opposite of anything I have seen here, with the amount of heads of department and a real heirarchy of staff, I think if staff members really felt that they needed support, all they would have to do is ask for it. However, everyone is fully entitled to their opinion and obvioulsy as I have said before, I am only seeing a snapshot of life at Moulsford as a teacher.
What question would you ask a candidate for a job?
Questions were varied and are as follows;
- What would you bring to the school/staff room?
- What evidence do you have of team playing?
- Outside of learning what skills/talents do you have that will enhance the staff body?
- Describe an aspect of your personality that you feel would benefit the school?
- Are you flexible?
- Tell me something unusual about yourself?
- What do you condider makes a successful teacher?
I think it is extremely interesting to in fact see that the questions here are mostly based around the staff body. This is clearly something that the school feels is important when choosing a candidate for a job, mainly to consider what kind of person this particular school is looking to employ. This will help me in the future also, when I am looking for jobs in this field.