Meet James: Assistant Head Teacher
Our Assistant Head Teacher, James Fewtrell, has been at TRS for the past 3 years. Managing our Leybourne and Tonbridge Schools, we caught up with James to learn more about what he does!
Hi James! Please tell us a little about yourself and your role at TRS?
I’ve worked at TRS for three years now - my role is Assistant Head Teacher and I manage the Leybourne and Tonbridge Schools. I’m also looking to reopen the Gravesend School soon. I do various things in my role, including leading on the wider curriculum, reading, and teaching too. Prior to working here, I worked at SEND schools with a wide variety of young people, across all age ranges. I’ve taught many different subjects throughout my career.
You manage both Leybourne and Tonbridge Schools, can you tell us more about them?
We teach students from year 7 upwards, who may join us at any time during the academic year. We have pupils with mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, psychosis, personality disorders, and those who have faced trauma, to physical conditions, such as cancer, liver disease, those experiencing transplants, and pupils with broken bones or who have had operations. Our pupils learn the core subjects of the national curriculum to keep up and give them the confidence to return to their mainstream school. We have a really great team of staff in each school, all with their own unique skills.
We develop very good relationships with both students and families. We aim to support a good return to the pupil's home school when the time is right, usually no longer than 12 weeks.
With such a diverse role, what do you enjoy most about what you do?
The work can be quite challenging, but it is interesting and I’m always learning new things. I am fortunate that in my role I get to work with many different young people and professionals, and I have built a good understanding of education across the county.
I'm currently working at Leybourne with a small group of boys and girls. They have been so good to one another over this last term, there's a good sense of community, understanding and care amongst them.
What is your favourite thing about TRS and what has been your biggest highlight over the past three years?
My favourite thing is the young people I work with. They are a lovely group; I am constantly surprised by their sense of humour and resilience in what can be very challenging circumstances.
One young lady who I worked with hadn't attended school for many years due to anxiety. When she first attended, she couldn't get out the car, let alone step into the building. It took a long time, and a lot of input, but by the end of her time with us, she was attending every lesson, making friends, and laughing a lot. She has now gone on to college and got a job in retail, something we are all very proud of her for.
There are many more highlights, I treasure the thank you notes I receive from pupils the most. I have had several over the years and I keep them in my office drawer to look over sometimes. They mean a lot to me.
Is there any advice you’d give to a student joining TRS?
For pupils, my advice to everyone who joins is the same. You’re never the new person for long, everyone has been in your position, and we are all here for a reason. It is normal to be anxious starting somewhere new, but it will get better, usually pretty quickly!