Interview with Bridget Hutchings
Bridget joined MPW in September 2012 as our Director of Teaching and Learning and has already become a firm favourite with students and staff alike. I managed to get hold of Bridget for five minutes just before the end of term to find out a little more about her and how her first year at the college had gone......
Where did you work before you came to MPW Birmingham?
My last job was as Director of Sixth Form at St Margaret’s School in Exeter. I started as Head of English and gradually took on more responsibilities! I also work for OCR and have been a Principal Examiner and am now Principal Moderator so frequently travel to Cambridge and London.
What do you think of Birmingham?
Birmingham is great! I lived for two years in Hall Green when I was young and spent a lot of time here when the exam board held meetings at Mill Wharf. I love the canal and Brindley Place – great restaurants and a real buzz to it. I’m looking forward to going to Gardeners’ World Live at the NEC (seeing Monty Don!) and to the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Birmingham is a wonderfully eclectic mix with really friendly people. I’m now in the process of buying a house by the canal in Tamworth, close to the long suffering friends who have not only lodged me but also my dog for the last nine months (I think we talked about me being there for a few weeks...)
How have you found your first year here?
Exciting, busy, stimulating – the adjectives are many and varied! MPW is a very vibrant and exciting place to work in compared to my last school.
What is your role at MPW?
My official title is Director of Teaching and Learning which encompasses not only being a Personal Tutor, teaching English to GCSE and A level, but developing the teaching and learning which is central to MPW. Providing education which is tailored to individual needs is what drives me in my job and the feedback provided by students makes it clear that this is what brings them to the college. I’ve also been involved in the continuing development of the Enrichment project, bringing Devon cream teas to celebrations as well as magical elves!
What are your favourite things about your job?
I love meeting students, whether it is as a teacher of English or as a Personal Tutor. To me, the most important thing I can give students is their self belief coupled with skills to develop their academic and personal skills. To see a student achieve – whether that is a long held career ambition or to pass an examination they thought beyond them – makes the job really satisfying. I thrive on the sheer variety of opportunities at MPW; taking the team to MUN at Haileybury was a first for me and I’m looking forward to writing the “Getting into Pharmacy” book. For staff, as for students, you can achieve here what you set out to do.
What are your interests and hobbies?
As an English teacher, it is only right that I love reading and the theatre, but I also enjoy walking my dog, exploring in my campervan and visiting National Trust properties. Given time and the space, I’m a keen gardener (hence Gardeners’ World Live) and like to experiment with cooking.
If you had to give two pieces of advice to prospective GCSE or A level students, what would they be?
Be really honest with yourself about how you work and what you do – you do need to know yourself well and be ready to seek help, which can be from students, staff and the huge variety of resources that are available. Enjoy what you do and challenge yourself to find out more – ask questions and be tenacious in finding the answers.
What are your thoughts about the changes being made to A levels?
Changes are in their early stages and the current specifications are geared to a modular approach so I’m interested to see how they develop. Having been involved with GCSE changes for OCR, I’m aware of just how much work goes into new specifications and how time consuming it is for teachers and students to adapt. The exams being at the very end of the course will give more time for developing knowledge and understanding, but it will be challenging in terms of revising everything for one set of exams.