A Tale of Two Schools – with One Passion

Date: December 15th 2015

In September 2015 Sarah Dench joined Kensington Aldridge Academy as a Science teacher. A new challenge in a new school that’s growing from its successful start. Opening in 2014 as a brand new school, the Academy has proved popular with local parents, is heavily over-subscribed and working towards the launch of its sixth form next year.

For Sarah the new role wasn’t a step entirely into the unknown though, because she had had five years experience at Brighton Aldridge Community Academy as a Science Teacher and, most recently, BTEC co-ordinator for the Academy as well. Despite moving to London with its very wide choice of secondary schools Sarah wanted to teach at another Aldridge school.

“Having previously lived in Brighton family commitments meant I was commuting from London for a year, which became very difficult and time consuming. The move to London was only going to be temporary, but when we decided to stay I applied to Kensington. I had heard lots of good things about the Academy from BACA staff that had visited there. I liked the morals and principles of the Aldridge Foundation and so I emailed KAA asking about Science positions.”

“The academies themselves are quite different. I have seen BACA go through many changes, including new buildings and a new principal, and it has evolved a lot. There is so much you can do with a school like KAA where you start from scratch that is far more difficult to do when turning around a school, like BACA has. However, they both promote the ethos of having a passion/enthusiasm for learning, to learn/grow from your mistakes, to be really creative and think outside the box.”

Having worked in the science industry for two years, Sarah got her PGCE with Southampton University and trained at Ringwood School in Hampshire and Oakmead College of Technology in Bournemouth, before working at the Gryphon School in Sherborne for two years.

“I always loved science, since I was very young. I love to know why things happen and how things work. I was mostly interested in the medical side of science and did my degree in forensics, but found that I enjoyed the faster pace of working in a school.”

“I am really enjoying my new role and love the children. They are always challenging you and surprising you. They are so resilient, I always admire them. And it’s so rewarding when they grasp difficult concepts and achieve at something they didn’t think they could.”

“Aldridge schools stand out through their promotion of entrepreneurial qualities, such as resilience and determination. These can go a long way to making students better learners, and eventually better suited and able to get jobs. Equipping them with skills that employers often claim are lacking in young people these days.”

Andy Weymouth, the Foundation’s Director of Education said: “As the number of Aldridge sponsored schools continues to grow we hope to create many more opportunities for teachers to move within our family as Sarah has done. We want to retain talent and give opportunities for progression, and alongside CPD it’s also a great way of spreading best practice across our academies.”

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