When Tom Priddle was appointed head of history at Nelson Thomlinson School, Chair of Governors Sue Temple thought she recognised him but couldn’t quite place him. A few weeks later, Sue, who lectures in early years and primary initial professional studies at the University of Cumbria, was looking through some photographs of the first class she taught as a newly qualified primary teacher thirty years ago, and there he was – a ‘cheeky’, six-year-old, Year 1 pupil!
Sue recalls “Tom was a very enthusiastic and lively boy, sometimes a tiny bit cheeky, but lots of fun! Years later, I taught him again while he was undergoing his Postgraduate Certificate in Education Secondary History with us at the University of Cumbria. I used to offer a day in which I explained to secondary students what happens at primary level in history education, and Tom was part of the group.”
Earlier this year, the two met up when Tom brought his history pupils from Nelson Thomlinson to visit the university’s Fusehill Street campus to find out more about its former role as the workhouse. As an expert on the history of the campus, Sue was their host and guide.
“It is amazing that our paths have crossed so many times. I remember Sue well from my time as a trainee teacher, but I have to admit that Year 1 is a bit too distant for firm memories. Perhaps it says more about the standard of my behaviour that she definitely remembers me, and my partner in crime Ben! When I told my mum about Sue, she remembered her instantly and fondly, commenting that she was a really good teacher who had me well under control! As a governor, Sue has been so supportive of my career, we always have a good chat and I always feel that I have learnt something from her. Clearly, 30 years on, she is still inspiring me to do better. Luckily though, I am much better behaved now.”
As for Sue, how does it feel when, as with Tom, she sees one of her former pupils now in a position of senior responsibility in schools?
“I love it - it gives you such satisfaction to know you may have contributed to what they are doing now.”