Hello Miss Gates, what's your role at Sompting Abbotts?

I teach across the Pre-Prep.

Please tell us about your training?

I did a BSc Hons in Biological Sciences at Edinburgh University and then completed my PGCE at Roehampton Institute. I started my career teaching Year 1 in a primary school in Richmond and moved down to Brighton three years later. I then taught Reception up to Year 2 across 15 years in a primary school in Burgess Hill and was Assistant Deputy, Head of Infants and Mathematics. I left when my head retired and worked as Year 1 leader in a school in Hove for the next four years. After losing both parents in a short space of time it brought home how short life is and I decided to make a few changes in my working life. Hence my decision to work part time and to leave the state sector.

How long have you've been at Sompting Abbotts?

This is my second year at Sompting Abbotts. I wanted to move from the state school system but didn't want to leave teaching altogether as I love working with young children and wanted a school that took a different approach. The small class sizes make a huge difference here and there is a greater sense of freedom in terms of the curriculum and the physical space available. It's great to have time to plan and prepare lessons during daylight hours rather than attend endless meetings after school every day and then trying to find time in the evenings to prepare for the main part of the job. It has made a big difference to my work life balance and my teaching.

Why did you choose go into teaching?

My mother was a teacher and I used to go into her school to help. I really enjoyed working with young children right from the get go. I love their curiosity, the endless opportunities for humour and their boundless enthusiasm! It has always felt like the right vocation for me.

Tell us about anything you do that's extra-curricular at Sompting Abbotts?

I run an after school Art and Craft club as I am quite a creative person.

What you enjoy most about teaching at Sompting Abbotts?

It's a fantastic environment to work in. I have never enjoyed playground duties so much! I have also found my colleagues to be so warm and welcoming and having the time to get to know the uniqueness of each of the children I teach is a privilege. I can't fault it!

What do you love doing outside school?

I am a keen sewer and dressmaker and I attend evening classes to improve. I love cycling, walking and swimming in the sea. I read avidly and play the piano too.

Tell us something we don't know about you!

Well through ancestry research I have recently found out that a direct ancestor of mine, Sir John Gates, was a close courtier of Henry VIII until he fell out of favour and had his head chopped off! His remains lie in the grounds of the Tower of London.