The Spotlight shines on Catherine Wilson, our forward thinking 'expert improver', Head of Professional Development and Teacher of Physics

Before training as a teacher, Catherine joined the family commercial art studio in St. Ives, Cornwall, eventually becoming a company director in the Leisure and Tourism industry.  Returning to her love of teaching, she studied for her BSc.(Hons) in Physics, followed by a PGCE, and was appointed Head of Science at Grateley House School where she taught for four years.  Following a move to Kingdown School, she completed her MA in Special Education, before joining Warminster School four years later.  She has worked as a tutor in all year groups, run Astronomy and Robotics Clubs and held the post of IB Coordinator for 5 years before taking a leadership qualification with the National College.  Her current role as Head of Professional Development includes academic and pastoral training for staff, overseeing the PGCE, IPGCE and NQT programmes and a range of ‘training for leadership’ courses including the BSA Advanced Certificate, HMC ISQAM and our own Preparing for Senior and Middle Leadership Programmes.  Two years ago Catherine became a Physics author for Pearson and recently completed the current 12-book series of AQA and Edexcel Physics and Combined Science GCSE Revision workbooks.  Catherine is married to Marcus, an RAF Navigator, and has three children, Suzanne, Sarah and Sam.

How long have you worked at Warminster?

This is my thirteenth year – time flies when you are enjoying your job!

What’s the best thing about your role?

Our wonderful pupils and staff! Being in the Physics classroom is always enjoyable and very little comes close to witnessing that 'light bulb moment' when a pupil overcomes a challenge! I am privileged in that my secondary role, as HoPD, also gives me an opportunity to promote the development of lifelong learning.

Describe a typical day?

Knowing that today won't be typical!

What do you think makes Warminster a special place to live and learn?

A real sense of community – knowing that whatever your hopes and dreams are, there is someone at Warminster who can help to make them happen. Alongside the ethos of striving for excellence, there is the demonstration of kindness and respect that makes it a special place to live and learn.

What would surprise us about you?

I am an offshore yacht skipper and powerboat qualified.  I have competed in a range of sailing events including sailing with the RAF team several times at Cowes weeks and completing 'Round the Island' races – including one on my birthday! I also learnt to crew Dart 18 catamarans, which I raced for 15 years with my husband, in Scotland and on the South Coast, including the Dart Nationals on the Solent.

What other Warminster role would you like to try for a day and why?

I have worked as a commercial artist so I would love a day in the Art Department!

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

Believe it or not I wanted to be a teacher! I remember being given a blackboard, chalk and easel and used to set up a classroom with my dolls and teddies!  In the Sixth Form, I returned to my Primary School to complete my work experience.  It was very strange working alongside my former classroom teacher! Both my parents were commercial artists so I worked in their business for a while after my A levels, before taking my Physics degree.  At one point during my studies thought I might become an architect but it had to be teaching in the end!

What did your school reports say about you?

Good at English. Very quiet and conscientious.

Your note/advice to teenage self?

Take opportunities to grow and develop when they come along – some chances don't come round again! 

Your mantra/motto or favourite quote?

A lady in her 90s was asked how she had kept so positive through her long life and she said, 'getting through the good times is easy, getting through the bad is harder – just remember to tell yourself “this time will pass”'.

Hidden ambitions still to achieve?

Passing my next drum exam – Grade 6!

A favourite possession you would save from a fire?

My father's illustrated World War II diaries that he kept whilst serving with the Royal Artillery as an official war artist in India.

Biggest bugbear?

People who prioritise reading about other people's achievements over achieving something themselves.

Favourite musician/group?

It depends on what mood I'm in but there is always room for Fleetwood Mac!

Guilty pleasure?

I miss Marmite on crusty toast since I stopped eating bread but rhubarb-anything comes a close second!

MasterChef signature dish?

My husband would laugh because he nearly always does the cooking but my speciality is the Christmas dinner!

Favourite TV programme?

'Gardeners World' with Monty Don for relaxing; 'Strictly' for a touch of glitter!

Last book you read?

The David Eddings series of The Mallorean

Last movie watched?

Top Gun – again!

Which actor would play you in a movie about your life?

Dame Maggie Smith – I love her sense of humour and touch of irony!

Favourite tipple?

Cold prosecco with a frozen berry! Did you know you can watch it go up and down? That's Physics!

Favourite place/city in the world and why?

I love visiting family in Jersey – it's a beautiful place to relax but it's always nice to come home!

Twitter or Facebook?

I have accounts for both but would much rather have my friends round for tea!

You can follow Catherine on Twitter