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Red Kite Learning Trust



Tim Milburn | Deputy Headteacher


"This is the fourth school I have worked in and is by far the best!" T.Milburn-2019


I am now in my 9thyear at HGS. This is the fourth school I have worked in and by far the best! I teach History but my main role is the pastoral care of students. 

Starting a new school can seem quite daunting but from the moment I was offered the job I was instantly welcomed into the team and felt a part of the HGS community. On my first day I was greeted by friendly faces and really looked after. This has been my experience in all the time I have worked here. The school is such a friendly, caring and people-centric place. The ethos of the community to help one another is unwavering and makes this an organisation I am very proud to belong to. 

Alongside this is the excitement and energy that comes from working here. We all challenge ourselves and the school to be the best it can be. This offers great opportunities to develop. I feel that I have grown more at HGS, as a person and professional, than in all the time I have been a teacher. The school has invested in me through National Professional Qualifications as well as funding my Masters degree, giving me opportunities to better myself, hopefully, adding greater value to the school. 

The Headteacher and Associate Headteacher approach the demands of working in a school by leading with humility, gratitude, and respect for all who work at HGS. They recognise staff’s efforts and achievements, provide opportunities to develop and, most importantly, make time to listen. This comes from a set of values that permeate the school, to which we hold ourselves and each other accountable. 

Working in a school is such a privilege, especially this one. Imparting knowledge, developing young people’s skills set and enabling them to achieve success makes all the hard work and effort so worthwhile.  Everyday at HGS you are supported, encouraged and motivated to be the best version of yourself, so that all our young people can be the best they can be. 

Alex Bennett | Faculty Leader for Performing Arts


"There is a real sense of support for busy teachers"


I have worked at HGS for a year, joining the school as Faculty Leader for Performing Arts. I had wanted to work at HGS for several years after working collaboratively with the Drama team as I built a department in my previous school, also in the Red Kite Alliance.  I knew the schools reputation for excellence and I wanted to work for leaders who respected and valued their staff, allowing students the best access to outstanding teaching and learning as well as wider curriculum opportunities. As a middle leader at HGS I feel valued by senior leaders and there is a real sense of support for busy teachers. Wellbeing is important at HGS and although standards and expectations are high I always feel supported. Staff morale at HGS is high and this not just because of the positive staff wellbeing. Student behaviour is excellent, allowing teachers to teach. There are high levels of respect from students across the school and I really do enjoy coming to work here. Having such supportive team members has been fantastic and it is the people that make HGS such a special place to work. 

Kate Hooper | Faculty Leader for Humanities, Programme Leader for History and Politics


"There is a special feel about HGS"


I moved to Harrogate Grammar School in September 2016 which was my second teaching post having previously been Second in History at a school in Kent. I actually took a step back in my career, applying for the role of Teacher of History, because I knew that a job at HGS wouldn’t come up very often and I wanted to work there. I was so lucky to come into a fantastic History department and Humanities faculty where I was supported both with teaching new exam boards, and with the HGS way. From the outset, my faculty were supportive, all taking time to answer questions that I had and spend time talking me through History teaching at the school. The kind and collaborative culture in Humanities was reinforced by the warm, collegiate atmosphere that I experienced more widely in the school. In my first term, there was opportunity to get to know other new starters and senior leaders through the new starters’ dinner. Immediately I felt valued; senior leaders had given up a Friday evening to spend time getting to know me. A follow up meeting with the Head, checking in to see how I had found my first term further demonstrated that I wasn’t ‘just another cog’.   

After my first year I was given the opportunity to lead the History department and then in 2020 I became Humanities Faculty Leader. Leading a fantastic faculty in teaching engaged and inquisitive students is the most rewarding part of my job. In my role I have been able to pursue curriculum redevelopment across the faculty. Senior leaders put their trust in the extensive subject expertise of our faculty and gave us professional autonomy to make decisions about what best suits our students. This freedom and value of Humanities subjects is not always the norm and I appreciate both the support and challenge that I receive from SLT as a middle leader. There is a special feel about HGS, cemented by the REACH values of the school and I am in no doubt, as I was at the end of my first year here, that I have found ‘my school’.   

Richard Sykes | Faculty Leader for Science


"Leaders at the school take an interest in me as a person"


I’ve worked at HGS since September 2020 and found it very easy to settle into life at the school. Joining a new school during the COVID pandemic was a little daunting but the friendly staff went out of their way to make me feel welcome and valued.  

The school is an extremely supportive community. The Science faculty, where I spend most of my time, is made up of a wonderful group of people. I have never had a negative interaction with any member of staff at HGS. Everyone that I have spoken to or worked with has always behaved in a friendly, supportive, and professional manner, reflecting the positive ethos in the school.  

I feel very valued at HGS because Senior leaders in the school go out of their way to thank you and praise you. I have never walked past a member of the senior leadership team without them saying ‘hello’. Leaders at the school take an interest in me as a person and have provided me with opportunities to develop both professionally and personally.  

I really enjoy my role because it gives me the opportunity to inspire a future generation of Scientists. I am very fortunate to work with passionate and enthusiastic Science teachers who all love Science. The students at HGS are fantastic; they ask brilliant questions and enjoy participating in lessons and extracurricular Science activities. At the end of lessons, students will thank you for teaching them which I really like. I find my job very rewarding. At HGS, staff morale is high, and camaraderie is excellent.  

Roo Ivatts | Teacher of Performing Arts and English, Diversity Coordinator


"The staff and leaders are exceptional" 


I am a teacher of Drama and English at Harrogate Grammar School. I have worked here since 2013 and have thrived during my time at the school. I’ve had many different roles and responsibilities during my time here: teaching Drama, English, Dance and Performing Arts as well as being a House Leader and the Diversity Co-ordinator. The school have been great at supporting my continued professional development and giving me opportunities to expand and develop my skills and interests – like giving me the chance to complete the National Professional Qualification in Leading Behaviour and Culture. I love working at Harrogate Grammar School. I feel valued and cared for. The staff and leaders are exceptional; there is a genuine community spirit and they make it a truly lovely place to come to work. The values and culture of the school are meaningful and embedded into the heart of the school, where respect and honesty come first.   

Emily Finan | Geography teacher


"I love my job"


I have been a teacher of Geography for four years at HGS. I had my second placement during my training year at HGS which meant it was easy to settle in at the start of my NQT year, but I still felt as welcomed as new members of staff. There was a new staff welcome evening where we could get to know SLT and the school, which made me feel confident to be part of the team.  

My faculty could not be more supportive and happy to help whenever I need.  Staff members from other faculties are helpful and collaborative with cross-curricular links and teaching strategies. The atmosphere at the school is vibrant! I feel SLT really value me as a member of staff and that they pay attention to what’s happening in and out of school, offering support when needed. 

I really enjoy teaching with iPads, they open up endless opportunities with teaching and make learning much more streamlined and up to date. I love my job, but the rewards make it so worth it. Seeing young people learn and grow into young adults is always lovely, and rarely a day goes by when the pupils don’t make me smile. 

Lucy Vincent | Teacher of Drama, Instructional Coach


"The staff at HGS are really special, and I feel extremely privileged"


I started teaching English and Drama at HGS in September 2000 and throughout my time here, have embraced the opportunity to carry out a variety of teaching and leadership roles. I’ve taken students to the theatres locally and regionally, as well as on trips to London, Greece and South Africa. I have also had the honour of directing many school productions, performed in different areas within our school, at Harrogate Theatre, the Royal Hall, Leeds Playhouse and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Working with the young people of Harrogate Grammar School is always a really special experience. The support they show each other is phenomenal as they live and breathe the school values, in both curricular and extra-curricular activities. 

The staff at HGS are really special. To be a part of this team is a privilege, as is the opportunity to work with colleagues across the school through our current coaching programme. Visiting lessons is a real privilege and enables me to see how lucky our students are, being taught by such experts.  

Connecting with colleagues through cross-curricular working parties, tutor teams, and curriculum teams, as well as at the cake table on a Friday, is supportive and helpful. During my time here, many colleagues have become dear friends. The fact that my children now attend this school, I think, speaks volumes.  

Lizzie Palfreman | Assistant Sendco - Learning Support


"It is more than just a workplace"


I’ve worked for HGS for 9 years and started part-time due to family commitments. As I had been out of the workplace while raising my family, I was apprehensive about this return but it was a wonderful, supportive, environment with a strong team bond. Our outstanding provision for working with vulnerable students is underpinned by the support I have received from the Senior Leadership Team. Throughout my time here, I have felt valued by members of the Senior Leadership Team who have supported me to pursue my professional journey.  Even through the pandemic, with all the demands placed on schools, I was encouraged to apply for a new role within our faculty.  

The supportive ethos in the school contributes to the sense of camaraderie and friendship. We have a saying ‘no one left behind’. I enjoy the sense of a community working together and how our connections are strengthened through social meets, for example, Birthday celebrations. 

Having worked every day throughout the pandemic running the mini school for our Learning Support students, I have felt privileged to work with young people and their families. The insight into the challenges experienced by families, and the impact my interactions can have on outcomes for a child, to change the landscape for them, makes my work fulfilling. In addition to student outcomes, it gives me great satisfaction to see staff that I line-manage and support, succeed in their own professional goals. 

HGS is a friendly place where life-long connections are made; it is more than just a workplace. I would say that the values upheld by the HGS community are mirrored by our faculty and the school as a whole.  

Hannah Russell | Programme Leader for Geography 


"There is a real and constant atmosphere of collaboration at HGS"


I was fortunate enough to train on the Red Kite SCITT programme in 2018/2019 and I got a job at HGS part way through my second placement here. All of the staff made me feel welcome from the moment I started at HGS, and offered support and guidance when needed.  

There is a real and constant atmosphere of collaboration at HGS, both within and outside of departments. The learning team offers teachers an opportunity to share best practice and provide new ideas. The Senior Leadership Team and Middle Leaders within the school are approachable and strive to respond to feedback to streamline policies and initiatives to improve staff workload.  

I have taken-up many professional development opportunities, such as the NPQLT. The support I have received from HGS has allowed me to develop the skills necessary to become a Programme Leader at an early stage in my career. Guidance from more experienced colleagues has been invaluable for my development. I have been praised regularly for my contribution to the HGS community, which makes me feel appreciated and valued.   

I love working with likeminded individuals who have a passion for teaching and are always willing to offer support and guidance. This ethos creates a positive working environment.  

Tom Inglis | Teaching & Learning Assistant


"We all help and encourage each other"



I love working at HGS because of the variety of the work that we do. Every day is different which makes things interesting. 

I applied for the role of TLA because I wanted to pursue a career that was not only rewarding but also challenging. Working with SEN students and seeing how I can help them achieve, empowers me and fills me with pride. 

What I value most in my job are the relationships I’ve developed with both students and colleagues. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to get to know, understand, and support the students I work with. Also, the Learning Support team is really friendly and we all help and encourage each other. This creates a special working environment.

In short, my role offers me flexibility, variety, and rewarding experiences, alongside a friendly and supportive team. 

Nicola Carter | Learning Manager


"I am challenged, supported, and valued"


I started working at HGS in January 2016 as a Teaching Assistant in Learning Support. I had an induction, shadowing other TAs which was incredibly useful. It enabled me to meet the staff and students, navigate the building, and prepare myself for work in the classroom. Staff were incredibly friendly and supportive, with both students and staff showing me patience while I was learning to use an iPad.

As a TA, the work can present interesting challenges, but it is incredibly rewarding to facilitate students’ success and make a difference to their school experience.

In September 2019, an opportunity arose to take a two-term secondment in Science, as a Learning Manager, and I was ready for a new challenge. Once again, my new department welcomed me as a member of their team and the staff appreciated me filling the gap. There was always someone who would listen or offer advice.

In September 2022, I returned to Science as a Learning Manager with a small teaching role. I love all aspects of the job: admin, cover, teaching, display work and the variety that the job brings. I am challenged, supported, and valued for my contribution to the smooth running of the Department. 

The standards are high across the board and it’s good that at HGS we all strive towards a common goal, pulling together, constantly learning and being the best that we can be.

Sam Crawshaw | PE


"We are highly motivated"


I have been a PE teacher at Harrogate Grammar for the last 3 years and I love it, I love working in a fantastic PE department. From the very beginning I’ve always felt welcomed and supported, not only by other members of the PE team, but also by other colleagues around school. The atmosphere is always so strong and has a real buzz. I am proud to work for HGS, with its history and the latest success from Ofsted, it is very special to be a part of a valued, hardworking and fantastic organisation. 

The P.E faculty is fast paced but everyone is so encouraging and kind. We are highly motivated and always looking to improve, to be the best we can be. The best thing about my job is seeing these wonderful young people challenge themselves in various sporting scenarios and settings, to reach their full potential. 

Melissa Watson | Assistant Programme Leader for English


"HGS is a very special place that supports both staff and students to achieve and progress"


After a brilliant training experience with Red Kite Teacher Training, I easily settled into Harrogate Grammar School. I’m now in my fourth year but found the culture here warm, professional, and supportive, right from the beginning. The Senior Leadership Team are inspiring, and I feel proud to be a part of this school. Everything that happens at HGS fits into the school values of respect, excellence, adventure, commitment, and honesty which are values I live by. Everyone works as a team and when we were recently awarded an Outstanding judgement from OFSTED, the atmosphere was electric. The collective achievement was evident on everyone’s faces.  

I trained to teach as a mature student and was initially concerned about going back to the starting line. However, from the moment I arrived, I felt warmly welcomed and respected. HGS has given me opportunities to grow and to support my faculty. I am grateful for that and I’m establishing long-term work relationships here. I’ve nearly completed an NPQLT—a qualification in leading teaching—which the school were happy to put me through. I’m excited to have this opportunity to continue my learning about pedagogy, alongside the day-to-day job.  

I cannot imagine being in a position where I wouldn’t be involved in how the faculty is run. I’m able to adapt curriculum, assessment, and teaching and learning practice, and to share best practices with other teachers. We strive to reflect and improve on how we deliver our subject. I obtain a lot of meaning from this and the new challenges that I face each term. Having a job with real purpose, that impacts the lives of young people, is unparalleled to any other position I have held.  

HGS is a very special place that supports both staff and students to achieve and progress. One of the most compelling aspects of working at HGS is teaching; being able to share my passion and enthusiasm for my subject, is a hugely rewarding experience. In the four years that I have worked here, I think I have higher expectations of myself now than I ever have before. You do not find that in many careers.   

Carly Jackson | Assistant Director of Sixth Form & DSL


"The atmosphere here is fantastic"


I settled into the Harrogate Grammar School community really well when I started in May 2015. I found staff supportive of each other and always willing to talk something through if needed. The atmosphere here is fantastic.  

I feel really valued by the Senior Leadership Team who were keen to offer me opportunities to learn new things and develop my role. This makes me feel Incredibly empowered to make a real difference to the lives of young people. My role is really rewarding, especially when I see young people flourish and go on the achieve great things. 

HGS is a special place where staff work with positivity to support young people and each other, fostering a true sense of community. I’m grateful for the relationships that I’ve built at HGS and for the development opportunities I’ve been offered. 

Harrogate Grammar School is part of Red Kite Learning Trust, a charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 7523507, registered office address: Red Kite Office, Pannal Ash Road, Harrogate, HG2 9PH

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