Going from herdsperson to school headteacher

Sam McCarthy-Patmore has become head of primary and nursery at Cranbrook Education Campus.

She may have had an unlikely start in education, but Sam McCarthy-Patmore is a shining example of what you can achieve in life… if you put your mind to it.

“Like many teachers I didn’t enjoy school and I didn’t do well,” says Sam, 49. “I came to teaching very late. I used to be a herdsperson and struggled to make my way in the world. I realised that I had more ability than I thought and that you need qualifications. Physical jobs are wonderful, but as you get into your 30s, it’s hard to make a decent wage. So I was a single parent with two small children, and I had to go to university and change my life. I want children to know that everyone is capable of whatever they set their mind to.”

Sam’s resolve paid off. After university she trained as a teacher at Exmouth’s Rolle College and then taught in Devon for ten years, including a three year stint at Aveton Gifford C of E Primary School. Now head of primary and nursery at Cranbrook Education Campus – the town’s ‘through’ school for 0-16-year-olds – she’s determined to ensure ‘excellent learning and teaching’ and to show pupils ‘we are life-long learners’.

“To do that, we have to be open and honest with each other, with the children and with our community, so we can constantly grow. I see it as an amazing opportunity to take a young, pre-school child and to nurture them and support them emotionally, socially and academically. So, by the time they come into primary and then secondary – they are way ahead of the game.”

Article taken from The Cranbrook Herald. Read the full article here.