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Claremont High School Academy

What Our Staff Say

Bethan Cairns, French and German Teacher

Whilst working as a teaching assistant before her commencing her undergraduate degree, Bethan realised that her innate desire to help others, combined with her love of foreign languages, would be perfectly suited to teaching. Fast forward to her first PGCE placement at Claremont High School, Bethan knew this was the school to develop her career, stating “Claremont really cares about its students and aims to give the best tools at their disposition to all their staff so that they can make the biggest impact as possible. I have great relationships with my colleagues, and without the fantastic working environment, I would not be so keen to get up early every morning!”

Bethan is thriving at Claremont High School, benefitting from a wide range of resources and opportunities to develop her teaching craft as well as the necessary support to ensure she can overcome every task and challenge thrown her way. She also praises the emphasis that both the school and Chrysalis Multi Academy Trust put on staff wellbeing, commenting “you really feel like you are taken care of as a member of staff at Chrysalis MAT.” As an Early Careers Teacher, Bethan has huge ambitions. She is keen to give more of her time and expertise to either become a part of the pastoral team, or to explore leadership roles within her department.

From extracurricular activities to personalised mentoring opportunities, there are a plethora of opportunities on offer for our students here at Claremont High School. Coming to school is no longer just about getting good grades, it has become a place where our students can learn crucial skills and qualities that they will need to lead successful lives.

Vikesh Wagjiani, Computer Science and ICT Teacher, Health and Safety Lead, and Teaching and Learning Lead

With a strong desire to make a difference, Vikesh has not looked back since changing from a career in Project Management to a career in teaching. He comments: “Teaching offers us an opportunity to have a direct impact on students’ lives, helping them overcome challenges, build self-confidence, and achieve their goals. It allows us to shape the future by nurturing students’ potential and helping them become responsible, informed citizens.” Vikesh also believes that the freedom to design lessons and engage with students in creative and innovative ways, allows teachers to express their unique teaching styles; and this is even more so at Claremont High School.

What Vikesh enjoys most about teaching at Claremont High School is the range of co-curricular activities, STEM workshops, careers fairs etc, that staff organise, truly supporting the growth of every child. In addition, he believes the staff at Claremont are supportive, friendly and willing to go the extra mile for both students and colleagues. “Their expertise and dedication has a profound impact on students’ experiences as well as new teachers” he says.

Vikesh is always looking to develop in his career. As well as being a Computer Science and ICT Teacher and Teaching and Learning Lead, he has recently adopted the role of Health and Safety Lead as well as be appointed as a Staff Governor. Being part of Chrysalis has enabled Vikesh to attain a sense of personal fulfilment as he works towards achieving his full potential. The key benefit is that new opportunities and pathways continue to arise to help develop both personally and professionally.

Carina Hasbury, Senior Pupil Progress Manager (Year 7 and 8) and English Teacher

For Carina, a career in teaching was exciting, working with a variety of people, experiencing something new every day, and having a real impact on the lives of young people. The great CPD opportunities on offer at Claremont High School, and as part of Chrysalis Multi Academy Trust, has helped craft her practise and support her career progression. Having trained at the school back in 2017 and now working as a pastoral leader, she believes Chrysalis really invest in their teachers, providing unrivalled support and training.

The interactions she has with the students at Claremont High School are her greatest source of joy! She comments: “Our school has a wonderful diverse cohort of students which are a pleasure to teach. Secondly, the staff are a wonderful collection of individuals which make coming to work something to look forward to.”

Being a pastoral leader, Carina believes the support on offer to students and their families is exceptional:

I believe every student has a teacher who they feel they can talk to and that they trust which is why so many of them achieve the incredible grades they do in Year 11 and Year 13. Students are secure in the fact that they will receive a good education and are proud to be a part of Claremont.

Matthew McDavid, Head of Geography

The support and opportunities Matthew was offered when he joined Claremont High School as a newly qualified teacher in 2017 gave him the confidence and freedom to develop his teaching craft in the classroom, on school trips and leading co-curricular activities. Within three years, he became Associate Head of Geography, shadowing his Head of Department to gain further experience, before taking over as Head of Geography in 2022. In addition, Matthew participated in the Outstanding Teacher Programme which really benefited his development as an outstanding teacher.

Over the next five years, Matthew has ambitions to ensure Claremont High School’s Geography Department is the best in the country, with amazing co-curricular and fieldwork opportunities for all year groups. There’s already so much on offer for students, Matthew states: “The Year 10 trip to Norfolk is a real highlight of my teaching year, as I get to see students apply what they have learnt in the classroom to the real world. I also love being able to offer the Model UN Club for Years 9 to 13, a biome backpack design competition for Year 8 as well as an intercollege competition.”

Matthew also comments:

Having spent time working in other industries, I found I really enjoyed teaching as each day, week and year offers unique and interesting challenges and experiences. I enjoy teaching even more at Claremont. This is one of the most diverse schools in the country which really gives the students a unique perspective. Having students from so many backgrounds makes for a more engaging classroom experience, especially in a subject like Geography. 

Daxa Panchal, Executive Headteacher Assistant

Daxa Panchal has worked at Claremont High School for 9 years and shares the following:

Transitioning from a career in investment banking to my present role as an Executive Assistant at Claremont represented a significant pivot in my professional journey - one that I wholeheartedly embraced. I have never looked back!

I love the sense of purpose and fulfilment that comes from being part of an educational institution dedicated making a huge difference to the children in our local community. The atmosphere of collaboration and positivity among the staff, coupled with their commitment to the wellbeing and achievements of every student, is truly uplifting. Working alongside colleagues who are nothing short of remarkable enhances this experience.

Working for a school part of a Chrysalis Multi Academy Trust also brings a multitude of advantages. The cooperation and exchange of knowledge among our schools have resulted in more efficient administration, the sharing of resources and best practices, as well as the implementation of cost-effective systems. Staff members also benefit from a wealth of opportunities, including training, development, career advancement and networking.