Former pupil Bernadette Butterfield is living her dream at The Skipton Academy as she takes on a key teaching role.
Bernadette is the new head of English at the school, which became an academy just one term ago, an important appointment in its strategic development plans.
And for Bernadette the job is a return to her roots – she is an ex-student herself with memories of inspirational teachers and happy schooldays.
Bernadette, who previously headed departments at The Holy Family School in Keighley and Bingley Grammar School, said: “It is a very exciting time for The Skipton Academy. The students now believe that they are important and that they are able to be the best they can be. They want to take care in their work.
“They feel proud to be a part of the school, to wear the uniform and know improvements have been noticed by the wider community as a result of the changes.
“I have always wanted to come back and work here; ultimately this school made me into the person and teacher that I am today.
“I was inspired by my English teacher. She was brilliant and I always wanted to be that kind of teacher. I like to see what the students are into and turn English round to hook them in, to make it engaging.”
Principal Wendy Hamilton said: “We are delighted to welcome Bernadette to The Skipton Academy. English is one of our key areas for focus and I am confident she will drive up standards and see positive results in the coming weeks.”
Bernadette’s English passion is language and she is particularly enthusiastic about grammar, spelling and stylistics.
“A voracious reader, she admires the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage and has found that both appeal to English students at The Skipton Academy.
She is now leading her faculty team in revisiting the Key Stage Three curriculum to ensure it is exciting, interesting and captivating for teenage learners as well as building on government requirements to ensure strong basic literacy skills.
Bernadette paid tribute to her colleagues, some of whom taught her when she was a student 16 years ago.
“All the staff have been very welcoming. We have a dedicated, strong and talented team and a powerful work ethic. Our principal leads from the top, everyone is encouraged and supported and it is a privilege to be a part of it,” said Bernadette.
Outside school, Bernadette, who lives in Cross Hills, enjoys family life with her husband, Emlyn, a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, and their two small boys.