Rachel Bishop shares her experience of 30 years at St Clement's
Congratulations to Rachel Bishop who has has been at St Clement’s CofE Primary School for over 30 years.
In the beginning
Starting as a lunchtime supervisor, in the late ’80s, Rachel then went on to volunteer in the nursery for several years providing 1 to 1 support to a young child with a brain disorder during their time at the nursery.
Following this voluntary role, in September 1991, Rachel was appointed as a Teaching Assistant for children with a hearing impairment who were based in the nursery. For this role, Rachel gained British Sign Language levels 1 and 2.
Rachel’s specialist care of children with additional needs in the nursery prompted many of the families she supported to decide to keep their children at the school. In these times it was commonplace for children with a hearing impairment to transition to a specialist unit for Reception year and onwards, rather than stay in mainstream school.
Rachel sometimes got to support children with a hearing impairment as they progressed through the year groups, getting to experience learning across all key stages.
One of Rachel’s memorable moments was attending a hospital visit in Nottingham with a 6-year-old pupil who had her cochlear implant turned on for the first time. Being part of her journey to hearing was an incredible moment.
Move from the classroom to the school office
Due to the increase of cochlear implants, fewer children with a hearing impairment needed signing support, therefore Rachel began to pick up work elsewhere in the school alongside her TA role. This included looking after the school IT “I looked after the school ICT until it all got a bit more technical, this included networking and setting up new computers (nothing like it is now).”
By 2001, Rachel was helping out in the school office before and after her TA work and had taught herself how to use School Information Management System (SIMS) so she could provide further assistance.
This experience became very useful when in Jan 2008, Rachel began a full-time role as Office Manager.
Role of an office manager
The office manager role covers finance, pupil admissions, contracts, HR, and line management of the site manager, lunchtime supervisors and cleaners.
“Every day is different, I don’t define my role to just office manager, I’ve unblocked toilets and cleaned, I do whatever needs to be done”.
What has kept Rachel in the role?
Rachel often supports and comforts anxious children or utilises her years of experience to help children with behaviour issues.
“I say to children, they know where my office is if they need me and I’m available anytime to talk to”
“Working with children is a fulfilling job. I may not be directly involved with children anymore but I’m still part of their experience”
Witnessing children with additional needs achieve certain milestones has been the most rewarding part of Rachel’s career at the school.
“I’ve worked with a child who couldn’t sit still in class, who would be under the table kicking and shouting and who risked exclusion, transform into a child who took part in his first school play and waited patiently during rehearsal. I always had faith that his behaviour would improve”
“I enjoy working here with the different people and the different roles I’ve had. I’ve spent the majority of my working life here and I can’t imagine not working here”