The students are so dedicated. We stretch them because we know they are high achievers.”
When he was younger, Rob Gaudin (pictured) was actively discouraged from reading ‘Horrible Histories’. But from the ‘Awesome Egyptians’ or the ‘Terrible Tudors’ – the time-travelling school boy was already hooked on the past.
“I love learning about the past. There’s always something new and surprising to learn,” he says.
Rob has been working at the outstanding Arthur Terry School since September 2016, primarily as a History Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT), across years 7 to 11.
“The students are so dedicated. We stretch them because we know they’re high achievers,” he says.
“They’re hardworking and I’m really impressed with their work ethic.”
Unusually for an NQT, Rob is teaching years 12 and 13 too. As well as year 12 History, he also teaches Government and Politics. Because he graduated from Warwick University with a degree in Politics, Rob’s meticulously planned lessons fulfil even those with the hungriest of political minds – the sixth former.
Rob admits: “It was daunting at first. But the school put their faith in me and gave me the responsibility – and I enjoyed the challenge.”
Rob recently joined the students at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, where the group sat just rows away from the country’s political heavyweights.
“I think I was more star-struck than the students,” he confesses.
Rob has never been one to take centre stage. He once wondered if he was outgoing enough to command the attention of 30 children.
“Lots of people told me I’d make a really great teacher, but I never thought I would have the confidence to do it.”
It was only towards the end of university – when he was running events and delivering training sessions for St. John’s Ambulance – that he realised he could, to coin a government slogan, ‘get into teaching’ after all.
“I thought: ‘this is something I enjoy – I can do this’.”
But he needed to be certain before committing to a career in the classroom. The determined graduate spent more than two years gaining experience at another local school. With his love of teaching confirmed, Rob enrolled on a History Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) via Schools Direct.
As part of the programme, Rob spent one day a week with fellow associate teachers on Arthur Terry National Teaching School’s (ATNTS) acclaimed School Centred Initial Teacher Training programme (SCITT) which combines study with in-classroom experience, delivered by current, experienced teachers.
Senior mentor and assistant director of the Arthur Terry National Teaching School, Michael Simmons, knew straight away that Rob was a standout teacher and arranged work placements for him at Arthur Terry School and Walsall Academy.
It was evident from Rob’s early days with us at Arthur Terry that he had so much potential to be an excellent practitioner.
He has consistently shown a depth of subject knowledge in both History and Government and Politics and a drive to enhance his understanding of the complex interplays in the lesson content he teaches to ensure that his students work hard and question in their own learning.”
“I had lots of support,” Rob points out. “Mike helped me so much and I felt really well looked after in both schools.”
Rob’s hard work paid off when he landed the perfect job as a History NQT at Arthur Terry School. His background in Politics was viewed an asset, a skill that could be used to the advantage of both the school and the students.
Politics leader Alex Zarifeh and History teacher, Laura Sedgwick, were influential in supporting Rob’s successful application to Teachers’ Institute, a highly sought after training programme in the heart of Westminster: one of several “massive experiences” that Arthur Terry School has gifted to Rob.
He explains: “It was amazing – to be in the corridors alongside MPs and to meet the Speaker of the House – and all around the time of the European Referendum – was a real ‘wow!’ moment. I’ve no doubt that the reputation, the kudos of being part of an outstanding school, helped to secure that place.
Arthur Terry is a leading school – a beacon for other schools. There are so many opportunities for progression and for continuing professional development (CPD) across the whole multi-academy trust (MAT).”
Rob now co-teaches key stage 5 with Alex, and says: “It’s nice to have that balance between History and Politics. The support from both departments is immense. I have so many ideas about what I can bring to the team.
“It’s the best place – they value people. The high expectations and the whole ethos of the school appeal to me, because that’s how I was raised. “
It seems that history has come full circle. There may even be a well-thumbed copy of ‘Terrible Tudors’ on the book shelves at Arthur Terry School, as recommended by one certain NQT….