Abbot’s Lea appoints a new deputy headteacher

Mrs Emily Tobin has joined Abbot’s Lea School, Woolton, as the new deputy headteacher.

Mrs Tobin started the position at the end of March – the most unusual time in the modern history of education! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the national schools’ closure, she has been working remotely from home and is yet to meet her team of staff in person and all the students and families.

Mrs Tobin joins Abbot’s Lea having taught for a number of years and having held leadership positions at Helsby High School in Cheshire. She has taught French and German before taking on a Head of Year role and then being promoted to the special educational needs and disabilities coordinator (SENDCO) and Y6-7 transition leader post.

Her varied background meant that she was responsible for leading on different school priorities, from developing Modern Foreign Languages schemes of work to organising the Year 7 transition programmes.

Additionally, Mrs Tobin worked with many other schools in Cheshire providing advice, guidance and training related to effective support for the students with a wide range of special educational needs.

Mrs Tobin said: “Having worked in a large and highly successful school and having been exposed to such varied priorities in my own and other local schools, gave me the insight into where my heart truly lies; special education. I began to see my other roles as taking me away from my SEND responsibilities. It became very clear that specialist education is my interest, my passion and where I want to have maximum impact. I therefore made the decision to progress my career in the special education sector.”

“When looking at deputy headship roles, I knew that I was looking for a school where I could work seamlessly with its headteacher. Having met Mrs Hildrey I knew straight away that her vision for education is totally compatible with my own and that our passion for excellence in special education points in the same direction. We just seem to get each other! We are open and honest with each other and I have no doubt that I will be able to support her fully in making her vision for centre of excellence a reality. Together, we are going to be able to do amazing things at Abbot’s Lea, surrounded by a fantastic and dedicated team of staff.”

Mrs Tobin is looking forward to getting to know the students and the families of Abbot’s Lea. She said: “Experience has taught me that when you support a child correctly, you support the whole family. Many parents share their inner feelings and thoughts with you and give you the biggest insight into their family life – such information is a privilege and it is crucial to acknowledge the complexities each family experiences in their daily life in order to truly offer a personalised educational package of holistic support.”

“As the deputy headteacher, I am value-led but also highly systemic. I have already started looking at the school’s teaching and learning systems and will implement positive changes to ensure that we continue to support as many children and families in the most effective way. Now, more than ever before, cohesive, systemic and yet flexible way of working is key. Some lessons learnt from the pandemic-related closure already inspired my thinking for reaching out to students who struggle to access the school building at a given time due to their mental health or other personal circumstances. Online learning, virtual classrooms and building relationships – even if virtual – might just be key for those not at school to continue to learn in the future.”

Mrs Tobin is excited to be working in Liverpool. She considers it her nearest city and has fond memories of visiting as a child.

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