Alexander Brett - Years 5 and 6 Phase Leader and English Lead at The Academy of Cuxton Schools
Years 5 and 6 Phase Leader and English Lead at The Academy of Cuxton Schools
Alexander Brett, based at The Academy of Cuxton Schools, is one of the Trust’s excellent Phase Leaders. Alex undertook his teacher training with us and is now five years qualified having worked at two of our schools.
Most recently, Alex won the Kent Teacher of the Year Award in 2022 after being nominated by a parent. We are incredibly proud of his success and caught up with him below to find out about his experiences of teaching and working in our Trust.
Why did you get into teaching?
“I grew up around children as my parents were foster carers, so I was always looking out for my siblings and teaching felt like a natural progression. I also competed in gymnastics from a young age and into adulthood and as part of this, I used to coach which gave me first-hand experience of nurturing talent and bringing out the best in my team.”
Can you tell us a little more about your current role?
“I am the Phase Leader for Upper Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6), Year 6 teacher and English Lead at The Academy of Cuxton Schools. I am also a staff governor. So I wear many hats and great communication and teamwork with my fantastic colleagues is what makes it possible for me to do so!”
What is your favourite part about your role?
“It is hard to pick just one, there are lots of things I love about my job! I think for me, it is the rewarding nature of the role- as much as you put into it, the job always gives back. With a new classroom of children each year, you experience new personalities, new challenges and of course new rewards as you see them progress, not just academically, but as young people. This also means that I continue to develop my skills and expertise as I refine and adapt my teaching methods to each child.”
What is the most challenging part of your role?
“Ensuring every child gets your best every day. As I say, tailoring your approach is key to realising the potential in every child. So whether it is a pupil with special educational needs (SEN), they have English as an additional language, or indeed simply have different ways of learning, we as teachers need to always remain agile and learn the most effective ways to reach every young person to give them the best start in life.”
What would be your top tips for newly qualified teachers?
“Firstly, I would say know and harness the power of teamwork. We all have imposter syndrome sometimes, but no one is an expert at everything so being part of a team that shares knowledge, experiences and lessons learnt is important and makes such a difference to your enjoyment at work as well as your ability to do the work itself.
“I would add, take risks! If something does not go right, it does not mean it is a failure, it is a learning experience. While we want to ensure we take safe risks, it is helpful to think about what could happen if your risk pays off and the positive benefits it could have – ideas and creativity are what ensure we continue to develop our practice.”
What are your experiences of working at the Trust?
“I have had the benefit of working for two Primary First Trust schools. I have found the Trust to be incredibly supportive and having undertaken my teacher training with them, I have seen first-hand how every school works together to benefit both pupils and staff.
“I enjoyed being part of the Trust’s network for new teachers and I now have meetings with other Year 6 leaders which is invaluable for strategy planning, learning about each other’s strengths and weaknesses and working together to share expertise. We also recently held a trust-wide governor conference with governors from each school which was very useful.
“Our CEO, Andy, Lorna our Education Director and John our Curriculum and Assessment Director, are regularly in school and really make sure we feel valued. They listen to our experiences and make adjustments where needed, plus they provide fantastic advice and support. It is brilliant to be part of a Trust that recognises your value and where you can have real impact.”
Congratulations on your Kent Teacher of the Year Award! How did this come about?
“A parent nominated me for the award, and I was so surprised in the best possible way! Year 6 can be a challenging year for pupils as they reach the top of the school, sit their exams and prepare to move on to secondary school, so to know I have been able to provide such valuable support, which is recognised by parents, has been humbling.”
So, what is next?
“My ultimate goal is to become a headteacher, but for now I really want to embed myself in my current role and help to make positive change for my pupils and our school community.”