Husband and wife team take the helm at Tockington Manor School
A HUSBAND and wife team, who took the helm at Tockington Manor in September, say they consider themselves lucky to have been so warmly welcomed into the school family.
New head teacher Stephen Symonds, 46, and Registrar Amanda, 40, have settled in to their new roles seamlessly and embraced the school’s ethos wholeheartedly.
Their children George, 11, the school paper’s newly appointed food critic and Archie, seven, who has already broken the cross country club’s speed record, have also taken to their new life like fish to water.
“It’s a new chapter in the school’s life and it is very exciting for us,” said Stephen, who taught for 13 years, before being promoted to his first headship at the age of 37.
Stephen, a deputy manager for Sainsbury’s and Amanda, a nursery nurse, both left fledgling careers at the age of 23 to study primary teaching, a decision they never came to regret.
They taught in Norfolk, Kent and Hampshire before jumping at the opportunity to take over from former headmaster Richard Tovey, whose father founded Tockington Manor School.
Amanda, the school’s registrar is adjusting to her new life away from the classroom.
“I have enjoyed the challenge of a new role,” she said. “It is a fantastic school and we have got an amazing staff here.”
Determined to uphold Tockington’s core values and traditions, the couple also have a few plans in store to boost pupils’ potential and unlock their hidden talent.
“What we have always been believers in is assessing pupils’ IQ,” said Stephen. “The school already assessed pupils but we have introduced more assessments so that teachers know what learning strategies work for them. And it allows to bespoke the learning around the child’s ability.
“We have to help children find out what they are good at, then their confidence grows and everything changes for them. It opens up these little gates.”
Amanda added: “It helps them meet their potential and that’s what it is all about whether it be in athletics, French or music. Happy children learn.”
And in the long-term tailoring their studies to each individual child allows them to become more independent, according to Amanda.
To broaden children’s horizons, the Symonds are in the process of recruiting a Spanish teacher. They are also planning to create a sensory garden.
The couple have work closely together over the years at the office and at home, perfectly mirroring the school’s core beliefs and foundation.
“We have always worked together and we work really well together; it’s a team effort,” said Amanda. “Teaching and education is our life.”