SPOTLIGHT – MATTHEW FOTHERGILL
The Spotlight shines on our gadget-loving likeable Yorkshireman and Head of Key Stage 2, Matthew Fothergill (AKA 'Fothers').
Matthew was born in Sheffield and began his working life as an apprentice engineer for a refrigeration company. At 19 he moved to Gibraltar to work with one of his brothers and met his wife, Julie. They settled in Wiltshire and continued for ten years in the same industry until a chance meeting with a ‘mature’ trainee teacher at a friend’s barbecue led to an “I could do that” moment for Matthew and a five-year period of retraining. He began his teaching career at Warminster Prep twelve years ago, teaching a wonderful Year 1 class (who are now in Year 13 and will leave Warminster next year). His two daughters, Ashleigh and Beth, were already Prep School pupils for several years before he started working at Warminster, so he knew the school and staff well. Nevertheless, he found it quite daunting and enlightening seeing both sides of the desk. Matthew supports Sheffield Wednesday and can even remember when they were good! Fishing is a hobby that he keeps returning to and in recent years he has been known to dress in lycra in an effort to keep fit on the roads of the South West.
How long have you worked at Warminster?
This is my thirteenth year.
What’s the best thing about your role?
The fact that I love my job and no two days are the same. I never take that for granted, having had some very dull jobs before becoming a teacher.
Describe a typical day?
Arrive at school at around 7:50. Unlock a few doors. Check that the staff noticeboard is up-to-date with the notes and timings of the day. Registration with my tutor group followed by assembly. Teach some English. Look for ways to shoehorn the latest piece of tech or gadget into my teaching. Teach some Computing. Answer a few emails. Do sign-out duty as the children leave school. Go home. Eat dinner, loving prepared by my wife. Check lesson planning for tomorrow. Research the latest tech or gadget that I’ll try to shoehorn into my teaching tomorrow. Fall asleep watching a box-set on Netflix. (The parts between unlocking doors and watching Netflix are subject to change at any time).
What do you think makes Warminster a special place to live and learn?
The children and the colleagues. We teach the most amazing children who love coming to school and go home happy at the end of the day. They are a constant source of entertainment and surprise. My colleagues are equally amazing. We laugh, we cry, we support one another and make working here a pleasure. I am amazed at the lengths that the staff will go to provide opportunities for the children to learn.
We asked Head Boy, Joshua Haines, one of your original Year 1 class pupils about the real Mr Fothergill in class all those years ago. This is what he had to say…
Mr Fothergill was a fantastic Prep teacher. He taught me ICT which was an area I was interested in and he made my curiosity flourish more. His passion was obvious. Any question, he had an answer – and mostly an amusing one! I remember that my Rubik's Cube was sometimes the centre of attention and he allowed me to continue solving it once during a fire alarm. Mr Fothergill definitely helped push me in the right direction. There needs to be more teachers like him in the world.
Are Rubik's Cubes still used to engage pupils in your lessons?
Rubik's Cubes have fallen out of favour in recent years. I see no reason why they shouldn't make a return! Analogue problem solving at its best.
What would surprise us about you?
I left school at 16 with only one GCSE (in DT). I really wasn’t the best student and realise now, that I was completely disengaged with learning. I was a massive underachiever and must have been incredibly frustrating to teach; I didn’t think school was relevant and my attitude to learning reflected it. For me, school was an unnecessary interruption to my social life. At the age of 27 I had to do it all again.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
A Fireman. I attended the initial interviews and aptitude tests but around a thousand school leavers in Sheffield applied for 25 positions. The odds (and my height) were against me.
What did your school reports say about you?
Popular with peers… and staff… not so much with textbooks.
Your note/advice to teenage self?
If you put the effort in now, you won’t have to do this again. Oh, and buy some shares in Apple.
Your mantra/motto or favourite quote?
Get a grip!
Most treasured possession?
My dog, Isla.
Can I list two? People who use bad language and chocolate orange – of any kind!
Stormzy, Kano, Skepta or JME at the moment (I asked my daughter who I should put for this).
Gin, though I am partial to a Walnut Whip on special occasions.
Signature dish if you were on MasterChef?
Filet steak, oven chips and a bag of salad.
Last book you read?
The Stranger by Harlan Coben
Last movie watched?
The latest Jason Bourne movie – a huge disappointment. That’s a review, by the way, not the title of the film.
Which actor would play you in a movie about your life?
Favorite place/city in the world and why?
New York City. Visited a few years ago and met with some friends from Brooklyn who gave us a tour better than any guidebook.
Twitter or Facebook?
Twitter – every good idea I’ve ever had has come from Twitter.
You can follow Twitter's popular @MattFothergill for all the latest tech/gadget updates and news from the Prep.