School of the Month for March is Carville Primary School

Each month we feature one of our fantastic schools, this month we take a look at Carville Primary School.

Carville Primary School is a small primary school in Wallsend, located next to the north bank of the Tyne. Children join nursery when they are three years old and leave for secondary education at the end of Year 6, when they are 11 years old.

Let’s get to know the boss. Rob Harker is the Head Teacher.

When did you get your first headship and where was it?
The current headship here at Carville is my first headship. I took over as Headteacher on the 1st September 2019. Little did I know at the time that the world was going to change 6 months later!

Did you always know that you wanted to become a teacher?
No, I never had any ambitions to be a teacher. When I was young I wanted to be Michael Knight (ask someone older). Nobody in my family had ever gone to university, but the support of my parents got me there. An interest in psychology led me to a degree and a possible future career as an Educational Psychologist. At the time you had to spend two years teaching before applying to be an Ed Psych and I guess it just stuck!
Have you done any other jobs?
I worked at Walter Wilsons (again, ask someone older) and ASDA from the age of 15, right through college and university. A stint of bar work and some silver service topped up the spending money until I started a PGCE to become a qualified teacher.

Have you always lived in the North East?
The North East has always been my home – born and bred in Hartlepool – no monkey jokes please! I lived in Leicester during my time at university and then moved to Newcastle and later North Shields as schools became my bread and butter.

How many staff are you responsible for?
Carville employs 22 members of staff.

What’s the most challenging thing about being a head teacher?
The most challenging thing is also one of the best things…every day is different. There is a real trick to managing the day-to-day life of school alongside the long term vision of what we want the school to be.
Could you guess how many students you have taught?
21 years of teaching puts the number of children I have taught, coached and supported into the thousands.

What was your favourite subject to teach?
I always loved teaching PE and still enjoy teaching cycling in school. Maths was my subject specialism though and I will always be a mathematician at heart.
What makes a good teacher?
The ability and desire to build positive relationships and the determination to support EVERY child to reach their potential. The rest you can teach somebody.

Did you enjoy school?
Yes, I always used to love school

Do you have a favourite take away meal?
My go to take-away meal is haggis and chips with chip-shop curry sauce. A proper guilty pleasure. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth deep-frying!

Do you have any pets?
Max the springer spaniel is my dog, who also loves coming into school to work with our children.

What really makes you scared?
5p coins. They are so fiddly. How do you keep track of them?

What really makes you happy?
Spending time with my family, preferably riding our bikes together. Heaven.

At school do you have a reserved parking space?
Yes. Head teacher painted in HUGE letters. Not my idea, it was there when I arrived, but great for celebratory Facebook posts.

Whilst you have undoubtedly inspired many children, who inspires you?
A young man I taught about 15 years ago and am still in contact with. Despite having significant health issues (meaning he was wheelchair bound from the age of 9) he never fails to meet every challenge head-on and has an unfailing positive attitude. Despite his own difficulties, he always finds time for other people and is an ardent campaigner to help others in many walks of life. How can that fail to inspire you?

For any young people reading this, why should they consider a career in teaching?
Teaching is a difficult, demanding job. No bones about it. However, it is also one of the most rewarding jobs out there as it allows you to make a real difference to people’s lives. Hearing from ex-pupils and their families how you made a difference to them makes the hard work worthwhile.

Anything else that you would like our visitors to know?
The real name for a hashtag is an octothorpe.