Director of Operations – Christine Gavin
Christine read Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Exeter. Before joining MPW in 2001 she worked for a telecommunications firm and for the Office for National Statistics.
Role at MPW
I’ve held (and still hold) various positions at MPW, including Assistant Registrar, Registrar, Vice Principal, Head of Department for Computer Science and a Director of Studies. As Director of Operations, I lead MPW’s Registry team; analysing the data around teaching and learning at MPW, looking at trajectory motions and value-added for the college. So, looking at MPW students holistically, to help the departments understand how they are doing generally and try and help spot patterns or potential problems.
MPW is a crazy place to work, and I mean that in the nicest way – I wouldn’t have stayed for 20 years if I hadn’t enjoyed it. The staff make it an amazing place to work; there isn’t a single staff member out there who doesn’t really want the students to succeed and that’s one of the things I love about MPW. The banter in the staff room is often about what can we do to get a student to move forward: how can we inspire them, how are they doing in your subject, are they succeeding for you, is there something going wrong, what can we do to help them. It is all about supporting and nurturing and finding a different niche for a student and how you can make them tick and say ‘that subject, I suddenly get it’ so they can progress. I taught (ICT) for 17 years. I miss being in a classroom and teaching students about software and project management but also interacting with them and finding ways for them to progress.
Unique… we’re not like all our competitors, we don’t try and tell students that they can’t do things, we try and find ways for them to do it. It’s not what you can’t do, it is finding that niche for each student and how you can get them through the next steps. It’s finding that ‘in’ and that support. It’s also seeing the siblings coming back. As a DoS (Director of Studies) I’ve ended up supporting the next brother or sister that attends MPW.
MPW Beyond the Classroom
- The Head of GCSE (Maya) really knows all the students and as they mix for PSHE the Years 10 and 11 know each other too.
- We run ‘Next Steps’, where students have an hour each week to meet with a tutor and discuss careers, universities, internships, CVs, applications, lots of bits of research and stuff like that.
- The EPQ: a small niche of students do the extended project qualification, they get research topics and work through it almost like university-style research with a lecturer or a professor.
- We run a lot of PHSE (personal, social, and health education), for all year groups, to try and help support and motivate and pull beyond the specification and syllabus.
- We’ve got options like debating, sports clubs and Model United Nations.
- Our international students bring a very different input to the college and the lessons because suddenly you have various perspectives and cultures that add to the learning experience.
- The college has evolved in the years I have been here to have a student body and them having a voice and having a say.
- Everyone is on a first-name basis.
Christine Beyond MPW
I am a Mum of two children, I love computer games – I would spend many of my evenings playing computer games if I could. I enjoy reading, painting and baking. I bake bread every weekend if I can. I am part of the group of teachers who cycle in every day to school.
Any tips for our students?
Your time at any school, but particularly MPW, is what you make of it. Ultimately, we try and treat the students like adults, even our year 10s and 11s call their teachers by their first names. Realising that this is about stepping up a level of maturity, getting to have your own say and your own voice and taking responsibility for your actions, so if you want to do well – your teachers will push and motivate you – but the more you push and motivate yourself the easier it is for us to support you. Also, realising that if you make mistakes, if the subjects are wrong, if you need a change, then we will try and help you through that.