Executive Head Teacher, Gary Read features in the One Magazine - Autumn 2020

Exeter’s One Magazine interviews Gary Read, Executive Head Teacher at Whipton Barton. Read the full interview below.


Since the start of the new school term I’ve been riding my partner’s electric bike into work. That means I get up around 5:15am each morning, am out the door at about 6:20am and hopefully visible on the school grounds by 7:15am.

I’ll be on hand to chat to any of the children or their parents, and over the course of a morning I will pop into as many of the classrooms as I can. I’m always really pleased when even the youngest children call out ‘here comes Mr Read’ and we greet each other. If I get to know the children when they are young it makes it that much easier to help them when they get older.

Before lockdown I used to take my guitar to assemblies and we’d sing our favourite songs, but as singing is banned we’re not doing that at the moment!

Recently I was reminding the children about how to deal with any conflict situations that might arise during the day. We’ve asked them to try and use at least two of the nine tips we’ve given them before bringing the issue to us, and that has worked very well but occasionally needs reminding!

The Whipton Barton Federation consists of two schools and a nursery, and during lockdown we worked closely with a couple of local charities including Magic Breakfast and St. Katherine’s Priory to make sure all our families had the support they needed.

The return to school in September was amazing, and it feels like all our parents are really with us. They always tell us exactly what they think, so when we received a lot of thanks we knew the lockdown support was appreciated.

The challenge for us has been how to ensure the school remains a welcoming environment despite COVID-19. My leadership team and my entire staff have been exemplary – many of us worked through the summer holidays to make sure we were fully ready.

At break times myself and other members of staff will join the children in various activities, and most afternoons I dedicate to key meetings and administrative functions. Teaching is a long day, there’s no doubt about it, but the children have loved being back at school and their behaviour has been brilliant. This is what term time is all about.

For more information about Whipton Barton Federation click here.

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