60 seconds with....Rianne Dickens

Wellie boots, a Jedi dressing gown and why Roald Dahl didn't give two hoots about his fronted adverbials!


How long have you been working in education and what’s your current role? 

Twelve years. I am a phase manager, literacy leader and intervention group teacher. 

What do you like most about being a teacher? 

It's an absolute privilege to teach and develop young minds. No day is ever the same and I don't believe there's another job on Earth where you laugh so much. 

Tell us about the most exciting lesson you've ever taught.

Anything a bit out of the ordinary goes down well - making fake crime scenes, dressing-up, getting outside and using props. I once dressed up as Mrs Potent the Potion Seller and the children truly believed I was a school visitor. It's amazing what a Jedi dressing gown, pair of wellies and sunglasses can do! 

Who is your education idol and what three qualities do you think you share with them?

The recently retired and hugely inspiring Isabel Ramsey. She was an excellent head teacher and a National Leader of Education. I hope I share her passion for striving to make things better for children but I've got a long way to go before I can claim to share any other traits!

What is your ethos and vision for education? 

My vision is simply to ensure that all children can make the best progress – and above all to ensure that the children come first. It sounds simple but I'm surprised at how often it can be overlooked! And finally, to always have a sense of fun and enjoyment while I'm at it.

How do you think education will change in the future? 

I'm not sure but I desperately hope it does! This current 'regime' of rigorous testing and heavy emphasis on rote learning and recall does not sit well with me. I see too many children suffering as a result. I'd like to move towards a well-rounded, balanced, investigative curriculum that really celebrates the progress of individuals in all curriculum areas.

If you were education secretary what would be the first thing on your to do list?

I'd overhaul the literacy curriculum and scrap the SPAG tests. Language is most effective in writing when played with, explored and manipulated. Not added into writing in a bizarre tick-box fashion. I don't imagine Roald Dahl sat down to write his amazing novels whilst agonising over his use of fronted adverbials and passive voice!

What is your proudest accomplishment as a teacher?

It’s when I've managed to make a significant, positive and enduring change in the life of a child. These moments are indescribable and ultimately, what it's all about.

How would your pupils describe you? 

The mind boggles. I'm sure the word mad would feature heavily and something about my terrible singing! 

What is the best piece of advice you would share with new teachers?

Anyone who says they're on top of it all is lying. Prioritise workload so that the things which directly impact the children are done first and always ask for help and advice!

And finally, just for fun….

Lie in or up with the lark?

Lie in. 

Decaf or Full caff?

I’m not a big hot drink drinker- I’d probably go with an orange juice. 

City or seascape?

Definitely sea. 

Dine in or dine out?

If it's good food and company - I'm not fussed by the setting. 

Book or Box-set?

Book...if I have the time! 

I couldn't get through the weekend without….

Time to catch up on work and Dexter the dog cuddles.


By Jennie Adams on 21st September 2017


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