Spotlight on Simon Bedford, Assistant Head
Meet Mr Bedford, our newly appointed Assistant Head (Teaching & Learning and Curriculum Development).
1 August 2023
When are you joining Hallfield?
What are you looking forward to most about coming to Hallfield?
Hallfield has such a depth as far as its pupils, the teachers and staff, activities, facilities and overall amazing opportunities it provides. I can’t wait to start and to what my adventure at Hallfield holds.
What Year group will you be teaching and what subjects?
I will be responsible for the Seniors (Years 7 & 8), teaching and learning across the whole school and teaching some maths in Year 6 and the Seniors, as well as some enrichment and some sports.
What is your favourite topic(s) to teach and why?
As a former prep school teacher, primary teacher and maths specialist teacher, to say I had one favourite topic would be very hard! I love to see children develop their creative writing and math problem-solving skills and pursue their interests and passions. I ran a philosophy club for a few years and love the depth of conversations and thinking that takes place. Any topic that challenges thinking, creates amazement for the world or empowers a child is great!
How does your subject enhance a child’s curriculum / development?
Teaching and learning is about more than just developing knowledge in children. It is about developing skill sets and behaviours that children can apply to their lives to help them devote themselves to the range of possibilities that their futures may hold. Education should have a holistic approach, and my role will be to develop added depth, challenge and opportunities for the children through their experiences in the classroom, the curriculum, ways of learning and life skills. Education is ever-shifting, and an appreciation that knowledge fuels curiosity and teaching engages students with core skills like innovation, creativity, problem-solving, flexibility, communication, collaboration and leadership skills.
What careers would your subject be useful for?
Mathematics is a versatile subject that applies to a wide range of careers, such as science and research, engineering: which can include mechanical, electrical, aerospace and architectural engineering. Engineers use math to solve complex problems, design structures, optimise systems, and analyse data. Maths is also essential for working in finance and banking, computer science and information technology and statistics. If you think about being a pilot, building a ship or sailing a ship having the ability to think logically, analyse problems, and work with complex data sets makes math an invaluable asset in many careers.
Where were you before you joined Hallfield?
I have worked in a variety of different schools including internationals schools, prep schools, and state schools. My last school, Abberley Hall, was a wonderful experience. Set in the hills of Worcestershire, I was Head of Maths and had an active role in sports and academic development. Before Abberley, I worked at two other prep schools and primary schools and a British international school in the Middle East. I’ve had many hats, from Head of Key Stage 2, Head of Maths, Deputy Head, form tutor and class teacher.
What made you want to become a teacher?
I previously worked in marketing and wasn’t as fulfilled as I would have liked. A good friend used to speak of his life as a primary school teacher, and I decided to retrain and pursue a career in teaching. The sheer variety of a teacher’s day and the fun and pleasure of working with children drew me to teaching. I was right in recognising the sense of fulfilment that comes from supporting, guiding and seeing pupils grow and become empowered by their experiences at school. Spending my day working with young people is the best thing I can do!
What would we be surprised to know about you?
I grew up in five countries before returning to England when I was 15. I’ve seen a volcano erupt, experienced many earthquakes, and have swum with sharks. I was born in New Zealand and spent most of my childhood in Hong Kong. I once had dinner with Jackie Chan. There’s much more to tell, but I’ll save that for the classroom.
What hobbies/interests do you have outside of school?
I have two amazing children who are 2 and 6, and I spend my time with them. I like to go to the gym and go out for long walks. When the opportunity arises, I like to pursue my other passion, scuba diving. I’ve spent over 120 hours beneath the sea, which is my favourite place to be. I love to cook and have the occasional kayak down a river. Being outdoors and active and preferably around water is where I like to be.
If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would that be?
‘Being a little weird is just a natural side-effect of being awesome’ (quote from Snoopy).
‘Keep your chin up. No one expected you to save the world; otherwise, you would have been born wearing a cape and tights’.
Finally, ‘Dare greatly’.