Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, part of the Romero Catholic Academy has been rated outstanding by Ofsted and has also been judged to be an outstanding Catholic school following a Section 48 RE inspection.
Sophie grew up in the Wyken area of Coventry and attended St John Fisher Catholic Primary School before joining Cardinal Wiseman in 2004 where her sister was already a pupil.
She said: “Cardinal Wiseman taught me many qualities and attributes that have stayed with me throughout my life and career, such as the importance of working hard, being independent and being resilient.
“All of the teachers were really supportive and made sure that lessons were really special and everyone could achieve. I had some fantastic times at the school, but there were some aspects that were more challenging.
“My favourite subject was photography. It wasn’t a subject that I thought I would take, but I was amazed by the department, which really ignited my creativity and my love of learning.
“Our photography teacher, Mr Mac, was fantastic. He was such a prominent character within the school and taught me that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.”
Sophie had always had a love for sport, and also received a lot of support from
the school’s PE department. She said: “I took part in a lot of Irish dance and triathlon competitions and the PE department were always so supportive and let me have any time off that I needed.”
Looking back on some of her fondest memories, Sophie said that the school held some shows which enabled her to bring her love of dancing into the school and she enjoyed a number of standout trips including Disneyland Paris and skiing in Austria.
Despite not knowing what career path she wanted to take while at Cardinal Wiseman,
Sophie said that she was always encouraged to follow her passions.
She added: “I was always encouraged to do what I enjoyed, but it was thanks to my mum that I ultimately went into teaching. She’s a teacher at St John Fisher so it’s something I’ve always been around and meant I was able to complete work experience in primary schools.”
Sophie attended Birmingham University to study sport, physical education and coaching science which saw her achieve a first class honours degree.
She was then accepted onto Teach First, a social enterprise which aims to address education inequality by providing an employment-based training programme where high-calibre graduates are linked with schools in disadvantaged areas and achieve Qualified Teacher Status while working.
She began the programme at St Bartholomew’s Church of England Academy, in Coventry, where she taught Years 2 and 4 and was also given the opportunity to run sports clubs and take a lead on the sports provisions offered by the school.
After qualifying through Teach First she was then given the opportunity to study part time for two years for a masters degree in educational leadership at the University of Warwick while working at the school.
Sophie said: “I spent every weekend and every holiday researching and writing essays, but doing a masters straight after my teacher training meant I was used to this.
“Although it was tough, it was something that I really enjoyed and it was nice to keep in touch with research.”
During her masters degree Sophie moved to Courthouse Green Primary School and
taught Year 5 as well as leading a number of sports clubs. This was followed by a move to Canada for seven months after her partner was unexpectedly seconded there at short
notice which gave Sophie a chance to reflect on her teaching career and what she wanted to do next.
She said: “When we retuned to the UK I did some supply teaching and then a job became available teaching Year 2 at Sacred Heart. I knew I really liked teaching the upper age of Key Stage 1 as it also comes with a bit of added pressure because it’s a SATs year which is really rewarding, so I was very pleased to get the position.”
After spending four months teaching at Sacred Heart, Sophie was given the opportunity to become PE lead at the school alongside her Year 2 teaching role.
Two years later this then evolved into being a full-time post, where Sophie now leads and teaches the school’s PE provision.
“Sport has been a passion of mine my whole life and I’ve always been involved with sport during my time as a teacher but I’ve never had the time to give it as much attention as I’ve wanted to. So, it was fantastic when I was given the opportunity to become a full time PE teacher where I could lead the provision and really dedicate myself to it. There’s a really strong leadership team in place at Sacred Heart, and our principal, Paul Madia, really trusts me to drive up the standards of our PE offering.
“During the last academic year, I focused on opportunities and giving the children
the chance to take part in different sports and different competitions.
“Now I’m looking to drive up PE standards in the curriculum and am thinking of ways that physical activity can be used in lessons such as maths and English as well as ensuring that we have a high quality play provision which encourages physical activity during breaks and lunchtimes.”
Advice to current pupils
Speaking about the advice she would give to current Cardinal Wiseman pupils, Sophie said: “Follow your passions and do something you love doing, regardless of what career that might lead to.
“If you really follow your heart and do something you love, it won’t feel like you’re working.”