School profile

Welcome to our School Profile.

This section aims to introduce you to our school through a selection of our staff, as below, and governors, via this link.

Staff

Name:  Mrs D Webb (Lord)

Current role:  Library Manager, Careers Co-Ordinator, Learning Supervisor

When did you join Vandyke?  September 2005

What were your previous roles/jobs?  Before joining Vandyke I was employed for 3 years at Oak Bank School in Leighton Buzzard and prior to this I ran a business in London as a timber merchant for 20 years with my husband and family.

Tell us something about your work at Vandyke that has been memorable:  There are seriously too many to name!  Shortly after I started at Vandyke, I organised work experience for year 11.  A student who was very disenchanted with education finished his placement on the Friday and got them to bring him straight to the school so that he could go and see Mr Carroll and tell him how much he had gained from the placement.  Seeing students who have left Vandyke out in the wider community and having them come up to speak to me always makes me feel very proud of the work Vandyke puts into our students.
What makes Vandyke special and a good place to work?  I firmly believe that the school’s ethos of 'Everyone Matters' is true.  Not all students are going to achieve top grades, but each and every student here does the very best that they can.  The extra time and effort put into our students by every member of the staff team is invaluable. Not only the students are valued - I firmly believe that there is no us and them at Vandyke, all staff are equally valued.  I know that my opinions matter and are heard by the leadership group.
What do you do outside of Vandyke?  Well I’ve never been very good at work-life balance so seem to work quite a lot outside of school.  I h,ave a large family and 3 wonderful grandchildren, who I see a lot of.  On a Tuesday I help at my granddaughter's Brownie pack - I believe that we need to put back into society rather than just take.

 

Name:  Mr B Chantrell

Current role:  Assistant Headteacher

When did you join Vandyke?  September 2017

What were your previous roles/jobs?   Before joining Vandyke, I worked in media on the picture desk for a national magazine, in a haematology lab and worked in the science departments in a couple of schools over the county border in Hertfordshire.

Tell us something about your work at Vandyke that has been memorable:  I would say the most memorable events for me so far have been during our potential new intake evenings in the Autumn term - such a high turnout both for entry into Year 9 and Year 12.  Both staff and students out in force to put across the best of what the school has to offer.
What makes Vandyke special and a good place to work?  It is really noticeable that there is a really strong team ethos between groups in different areas of the school.  Everyone is pulling in the same direction and looking out for each other.
What do you like to do outside of Vandyke?  First and foremost, spending time with my young family, as well as a spot of travelling where possible…..with or without the kids!  I am still keen on sport - particularly cycling and, until recently, I used to coach and play both rugby and basketball, but due to a lengthening injury list, my participation in both sports is now very much limited to that of “spectator”.

 

 

Name:  Mr S Cain

Current role:  Head of Media Studies and Teacher of English

When did you join Vandyke?  July 2013

What were your previous roles/jobs?  I’ve worked as a teaching assistant specialising in Behavioural Support, before that I worked for a charity run primary school in Guatemala.  I have also worked as a waiter/barman in Virginia, USA and as a bicycle mechanic at a local, independent bike shop.

                

                

Tell us something about your work at Vandyke that has been memorable:  Often, when I’m asked, “what do you do for a living?”, I answer with a comment about sharing my love of literature, film and writing with enthusiastic young people.  In essence, that is what my job entails and I remind myself never to take this for granted.  The most gratifying part of the job for me is listening to a student think about a new subject because you can never pre-empt the response you will receive.

What makes Vandyke special and a good place to work?  I have formed strong working relationships, not only within the English department but within the school as a whole and must say that everyone is dedicated to the outcomes of the students.  I feel that the students are aware of this dedication and, as a result, respond positively to members of staff and to their lessons. Although I am a relatively new member of staff at Vandyke - I can safely say that this has been the case for years. There was the same positive environment ten years ago when I was a student at the school.

What do you like to do outside of Vandyke?   Mountain biking is my number one passion outside of school.  When I was a student at Vandyke during my sixth form years, I used to race at a National level but these days have become more of a weekend warrior.  On top of that, I love rock music and try to attend as many gigs as possible. I also enjoy travelling, whether within the country or abroad.

  

       

Name:  Miss L Cassettare

Current role:  Learning Mentor

When did you join Vandyke?  September 2010

What were your previous roles/jobs?  Both a Teaching Assistant and Inclusion Support Officer

Tell us something about your work at Vandyke that has been memorable:  I love  the end of year assembly where students can reflect on their achievements and how far they have come as individuals.

What makes Vandyke special and a good place to work?  I never cease to be amazed by how friendly and polite the students and staff here, they can really brighten up my day when I might be feeling a little down.

What do you like to do outside of Vandyke?  I love photography, and have built up a few muscles carrying my camera round.  I feel sad if I miss an opportunity to capture a perfect image. The school supported me in formalising my hobby and I now have an A-level in Photography to add to my qualifications.

 

Name:  Mr C Gilmour

Current role:  Systems Manager

When did you join Vandyke?  December 2009

What were your previous roles/jobs?  Before working at Vandyke, I worked extensively in the software industry in a wide variety of roles ranging from networks to software implementation.  I promise I am not a computer geek!  I joined Vandyke as a Data Manager and have very recently started my new role, so watch this space.

                 

Tell us something about your work at Vandyke that has been memorable:  It’s great to see the emotion involved on exams results day, so many students finding out the results of such hard work and hearing about what their future holds as a consequence.

What makes Vandyke special and a good place to work?  Working in a busy office is always interesting.  The school is a very friendly inclusive place where every type of achievement is valued.

What do you like to do outside of Vandyke?  I play out my passion for music as a member of 4 different bands, both on the keys and the saxophone.  When I find the time, I get out on my bike as much as I can and head for the hills, Ivinghoe is a particular favourite, although I prefer the downs to the ups! 

 

   

     

 

Name:  Kerry Quinn

Current Role:  Head of History

When did you join Vandyke?   July 2009

What were your previous roles/jobs?    Before I trained as a teacher, I worked in the recruitment industry for 10 years, most recently in the charity sector where I recruited senior personnel for clients such as the NSPCC and Help the Aged. The role was fulfilling and exciting, however I decided to teach as I craved a new challenge.  I wanted to work with young people and persue my love of history.  Since joining the Vandyke history department, I have also been the Head of Careers & Life Skills and subsequently became the Head of History.

Tell us something about your work at Vandyke that has been memorable:  There are so many to talk about………!   As a team we are always proud of our annual Holocaust Memorial Event. The work the team does to raise awareness of the atrocities committed by the Nazi party is hugely rewarding as it generates important questions. The performance itself is time consuming to create and rehearse, and terrifying to perform! However it is always worthwhile particularly when it stimulates discussion and debates with students about important issues such as racism, persecution and responsibility.  It reminds me why I came into teaching and how valuable the study of history is.

What makes Vandyke special and a good place to work?  A real strength of the school is the positive working relationships between staff and students. We have a fantastic group of students and the overwhelming majority are committed to working with their teachers in partnership to achieve their best over time. This makes coming to work really fulfilling and enjoyable. I also love working as part of the history team ansam continually inspired by working with such an experienced and talented team who prize student engagement and achievement above all else. Vandyke itself is a place where people matter, whether it is students or staff – the focus here is about working as a team to create an environment where everyone is happy, safe and able to flourish.

What do you like to do outside of Vandyke?  I have a young family and really enjoy spending time with them; weekends are often spent travelling from sports clubs to drama schools! I spent a year backpacking around Australia and South East Asia after university and still love travelling, with trips planned this year. I spend a lot of time reading, partly for work but also for pleasure.  I am also an interiors geek and am currently planning my next project - what I don’t know about styles of taps and extractors isn’t worth knowing!