Head of Sixth Form
John Paget-Tomlinson is a Deputy Head (Academic) at Portsmouth High School and leads the Sixth Form staff team. His philosophy of education follows from a belief that whatever you are teaching you can make it interesting, relevant and inspiring…
“I have always been fascinated by the process of education. At school I was one of those students that teachers either loved or loathed. I was very well behaved when motivated by the lesson and absolutely appalling when not. I had no intention of being a teacher; I was much more interested in running a small European country or being James Bond. Sadly neither of these paid off and sitting in lectures at university made me think about how to convey my interest in history to others without boring them to death.
My philosophy of education followed directly from this belief that whatever you are teaching you can make it interesting, relevant and inspiring. In my current position I have been fortunate to find a school that thinks the same way. Education is so critical to ensuring the progress of society that it must be more than just examination grades. I want my students, at whatever level, to think about what they are doing in the broadest possible sense. We have a duty to ensure that our girls are capable of working through problems logically and creatively; a duty to ensure they can face challenges with anticipation and not trepidation and a duty to equip them to be tolerant of the myriad of beliefs, opinions and metanarratives that will face them.”
How it all happens…
0545 – I start my day early with emails first thing and breakfast with Radio 3.
0730 – Headmistress Mrs Prescott lives close by and we often walk into school together and discuss the day ahead.
0800 – After arriving at school there is often a Senior Leadership Team meeting at 0800.
0830 – I teach a reduced timetable so at some point in the day I teach history and Latin so Year 12 get to listen to my anecdotes about the crusades or Year 8 hear me waxing lyrical about the join of the dative in their Latin class.
Whatever my timetable for the day I will make time to talk to Sixth Formers in the common room or kitchen of Sixth Form House, often scrounging biscuits or anything else on the menu as I move about the building.
1200 – I invariably eat lunch for 15 minutes at 1200. After lunch there are sometimes lunchtime meetings with girls or staff who have queries or need help and guidance. One of the great benefits of my job is to be able to have the time to speak to parents directly, so I will make phone calls or meet with parents who need clarification on something which could be anything from the changes to A Levels to advice on option choices in Year 9.
1540 – This is the official end of the school day when the girls go home unless they are staying on for one of the huge range of co-curricular clubs on offer. I normally have more meetings to attend or, at this time of year, revision sessions to run followed by an evening event.
1800 – I normally leave school at this time unless there is a later evening event on such as a concert or drama production. When I get home it is to Mrs P-T (teacher at PHS) and to Eleanor, 8 and Isabella, 6, both of whom attend the Junior School. We are thinking of having family ‘I Love PHS’ t-shirts printed!