Fond memories of a varied and rewarding role

Debbie Priestley, originally from Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, joined RGS as a cover supervisor in 2008. As she looks forward to an active and adventurous retirement she reflects, with fond memories, on her time at the school which both her children attended

Q: What did you do before you came to RGS?

A: I worked, part-time, in an endoscopy and gastroenterology medical supply company in York.

Q: What made you enter the world of education?

A: I worked as a personal assistant in a variety of companies and took a course in personnel and human resources. After becoming a parent, I started working in nursery education in 1994 in Leicestershire and loved working with this age group. This continued when I moved to North Yorkshire and then I volunteered at the local primary school and took a course in learning support at York College. I enjoyed working with children of both age groups and supporting students with special needs was very rewarding.

Q: Why Ripon Grammar School?

A: I wanted a full-time job, and the role of cover supervisor was advertised at RGS and I wanted to work in education again. Both children attended RGS and with the school's great reputation, I applied and interviewed with Martin Pearman, and was offered the job.

Q: What roles have you enjoyed at the school?

A: The role of cover supervisor, which was a relatively new role to RGS when I joined, has developed as have the expectations of the role. Cover lessons are an extension to class lessons and the expectation is that the work provided is given to the students, taught, if possible, and then feedback given to class teachers as to how the lesson developed. Long gone are the days where a poster was drawn as a cover lesson.

In addition, I was the headmaster Martin Pearman's PA for sixth months and have had various administration roles. I trained to teach the climbing wall, and taught music for six months.

Q: What do you plan to do next?

A: The initial plan is to take some time and regain fitness after an accident. I have wing-walked on a bi-plane and completed a tandem parachute jump - I would like to explore abseiling and kayaking.

Q: What are your main interests outside school?

A: Choir, family, friends, gardening, cooking and baking.

Q: What has been the best part of your job?

A: As a cover supervisor, you see every student in the school and cover every subject, in every year group. The job is varied, and each day is new. Ensuring a class completes the work and is at a stage where the class teacher can move on and being able to help students is very rewarding. I have been fortunate to join many school trips, including history trips to Berlin, Munich and Vienna, an art trip to Paris and a RE trip to Athens. I am always impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm of the staff who ensure the students get the most from these trips and how it benefits the course they are taking. It has been a privilege to join these trips.

Q: And the worst bit?

A: A difficult lesson!

Q: What will you miss most about RGS?

A: I will miss both the staff and students.

I have many fond memories of students and many happy times over the years at RGS.