Hello Mrs Miles, can you describe your role at Sompting Abbotts?

Yes, since September 2017, I've been Head of Keystage 1 in the Pre-Prep department, Previously I was a PP4 and PP3 teacher.

Have you worked at the school for long?

I've taught at Sompting Abbotts since 2006, teaching mainly in PP4, but also in PP3 too. I worked initially in a job share with the former Head of Pre-Prep Kate O'Neill.  

What made you aspire to becoming a teacher?

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I've always wanted to be a teacher, always, since being a little girl and playing at schools. My parents were both teachers so it must be in the blood! After A-levels, I went to the University of Worcester where I studied mathematics alongside a teaching degree. From there I went on to teach at a local state primary school, which happened to be my childhood primary school. It felt odd becoming colleagues with the teachers who taught me, and, even became senior to some of them!  I taught there for nine very happy years before joining Sompting Abbotts.

What do you do when you're not in the classroom?

Out of school, I so enjoy travelling. I've visited many countries around the world including America, Australia, Bali, Japan and Thailand and have also spent lots of holidays in Europe with my family. At school that's why I love running the Round The World Discovery Pre-Prep extra-curricular club. My favourite place to visit in England would have to be Cornwall. It reminds me of wonderful childhood holidays. I also enjoy reading and seeing new films. But probably I enjoy nothing more than a walk around this beautiful county we live in. I love a good walk at Cuckmere Haven, along the River Adur or over the South Downs. I am also football fan. I've watched and supported Brighton and Hove Albion for many years. My two sons also keep me busy at the weekends with football too. I'm a mum who spends a lot of time on the touchline, (often amidst rain and mud!) watching them kick the football too.

Having taught in a state school for ten years before joining Sompting Abbotts, I had become somewhat disillusioned with the system and how it was about league tables and performance rather than meeting individual children’s needs. Sompting Abbotts has allowed me to fall back in love with teaching, letting me consider all the pupils in my class and tailor lessons to their needs rather than ploughing through regardless of understanding to make sure we covered everything in an overcrowded curriculum.

What makes Sompting Abbotts a good school to work in for you?

Oh so much! I really enjoy teaching at Sompting Abbotts, I love the grounds and quite honestly I feel lucky every time I look out of my classroom and see the stunning view of the grounds and beyond. One of my favourite times is the winter as the sun rises and the sky looks absolutely beautiful. I genuinely feel lucky to have found such a wonderful school to work in. 

I have taught the most lovely children and here the ethos means they're eager to learn and have delightful manners. I do feel privileged to spend my time with them. 

kirsty miles sompting abbotts prep school keystage 1

Having taught in a state school for ten years before joining Sompting Abbotts I had become somewhat disillusioned with the system and how it was about league tables and performance rather than meeting individual children's needs. Sompting Abbotts has allowed me to fall back in love with teaching, letting me consider all the pupils in my class and tailor lessons to their needs rather than ploughing through regardless of understanding to make sure we covered everything in an overcrowded curriculum.

I feel I have been able to breathe and enjoy my class, see their minds working and their curiosities being explored, the face of a child who has just worked something out for the first time is to be treasured and I am privileged to see this everyday, something that is often missed in a bigger state school classroom.

The freedom given to private school teachers is also an honour. To be able to take my class outside to marvel at a bee swarm or frogspawn or take them on a seasonal walk through the woods within the grounds is a resource that cannot be matched by a textbook or Youtube clip.

Being able to revisit lessons is something state school teachers are unable to do due to time restraints and this puts a huge pressure on any child who has not met the learning intentions of the lesson, learning is a process and an understanding is essential before children can move onto the next step in their learning. 

I ensure my lessons are fun, informative and focussed on the children rather than the pressures of what needs to be covered. Having said that we do follow the curriculum (and the new curriculum has made it more chil- based) and do cover all that is required: the difference being we are able to bring in real life awe and wonder experiences which go a long way in the learning for a child. Lessons they will always remember.

I have taught the most lovely children and here the ethos means they’re eager to learn and have delightful manners. I do feel privileged to spend my time with them.

A really good education at SA means ...

... a child will have the moral, solid, firm foundations to have the confidence to become whatever they want to be. They will have an education at a school that promotes and encourages freedom; celebrates uniqueness whilst nurturing, teaching and developing caring attitudes and ideals.

Is there anything we don't know about you?

At home I have two very inappropriately named pet tortoises called Flash and Dash!