Brooke Weston’s food technology teacher Mrs Wendy Wykes is retiring after working at the school for four years.
Wendy originally joined Brooke Weston as a supply teacher for four months before applying for a full time position. She said, ‘I was working in adult further education at Warwickshire College until I got made redundant and began working as a supply teacher. I worked at a number of schools and what I wasn’t prepared for when I started at Brooke Weston was how much I would love it. The school was like a breath of fresh air compared to other schools that I had taught in. I remember asking what the schools’ behaviour policy was only to be told that they didn’t need one. I was baffled as to how that would work, but it just does, the expectation is that students behave and generally speaking they just do.
‘I love it here. I love the way it is organised, the way the lessons run, the five terms and the staff who are all so dedicated. I’ve learnt so much since I’ve been here about professionalism and how things work in schools. I love all of the students and will miss them so much.’
Wendy has had a varied career working mainly in the catering industry, including managing her own pub with her husband for over ten years. The opportunity arose to gain a teaching qualification while she was working in a nursing home, which she took and has never looked back.
‘I started off training chefs and moved on to become a curriculum leader, finally finishing here as a food technician. Brooke Weston has taught me so much and what I have given to this school has been given back to me a hundred times over as I feel I have benefitted so much from working here. The Teaching School put me through their ‘Improving Teacher Programme’ which helped to convert my skills from adult teaching to children, as I did struggle with that at first but you soon adapt and with so many brilliant teachers here to learn from you can’t not learn.
‘My fondest memory of working at Brooke Weston has to be the sense of achievement you feel when students receive their exam results; it is such a proud moment, especially this year as they all did so fantastically well. I have seen students start in Year 7 all the way through to Year 11. They bring me photographs of them cooking at home with their parents or a meal they have prepared for their family and it makes me realise how amazing it is to have helped them achieve that and taught them a life skill. Sometimes students have never cooked before so to be able to pass on knowledge and to know that maybe because of what you have taught them they will be able to cook themselves a meal or cook their family a meal, it’s a nice feeling. All my students love the practical lessons and I get a real sense of achievement from that.’
Wendy is looking forward to her retirement and enjoying some of her many hobbies. ‘When I first started working here I was 56 years old, at that age most people would start thinking about slowing down, but I was excited about my role and I couldn’t get over how much I enjoyed working here and still do. It is intense though and I can find it quite exhausting at times, especially as I live in Rugby so have a long commute everyday, so as much as I will miss the students and staff terribly I am looking forward to taking things a bit easier. I plan on learning how to paint as I’ve always had an interest in art, baking and spending time with my husband enjoying country walks together.’