Sam Penbarthy is the year six teacher at St Mary’s C of E Academy in Hunslet and the leader of Key Stage 2. He is also working towards his National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) with a view to climbing the ladder and taking on even more responsibility at the school and is a staff governor.

He is only in his second year at the school and has already gained recognition from The Collaborative Learning Trust for his part in developing the curriculum throughout the whole school and also his work in supporting the development of maths teaching and learning.

He knew when he took the post in September 2019 that the school was in the process of converting to an academy and the reasons why – and told the Yorkshire Evening Post this is why he applied for the job, as well as wanting a better quality of life in the north of England.

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Teacher at St Mary’s Sam Penbarthy.

He said: “I had two job offers for schools in Leeds and took this one because I felt the journey the school was on would be more beneficial to me and my career. I worked in a fantastic school in London that was everything a school should be but I wanted to take that and compare it to a place with a very different trajectory. When I visited the school I found that the Ofsted report had been very unkind and incorrect and the children are friendly and fun to work with.

“It has been a difficult time (lockdown) but the school has operated in a supportive way for children and staff in a really unusual time and one of the great things has been working with staff I wouldn’t have in a normal school year.”

Mr Penbarthy says while he has enjoyed his time at St Mary’s so far – the best is yet to come with changes at the school and in education as a whole.

He added: “There has been an opportunity to step back and look at what’s here and to build on that success. It is a really exciting time to be in a school. In my previous school, which I adored, things ticked over and nothing really changed, but here we are going to experience changes and I find that fascinating – there is always something new to learn and a way to adapt.”



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