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In the second “In the Staffroom” podcast, we sit down with Hannah Whittenham who is the Operations Director of Reach Academy, a publicly funded, independently governed outstanding all-through school started by a team of Teach First Ambassadors. Hannah sits on the SLT and oversees all the non-teaching functions of the school. Hannah tells us about the greatest issue the school is facing today, which is recruitment, and the challenges they face in attracting teaching talent. She also delves deeper into some of the innovative ways they increase retention such as a coaching model, where teachers get weekly feedback and have the chance to practice new teaching techniques, Friday staff breakfasts with value awards, additional annual leave during term time and even weekly staff yoga sessions on Thursdays to give teachers some space from the classroom.
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Hannah graduated from the University of Warwick in 2011. She completed a Masters in Educational Leadership (evaluating the effectiveness and impact of Pupil Premium funding expenditure) during her first year of teaching at Reach Academy. Hannah was part of the West Midlands Teach First 2011 cohort and taught maths at a large comprehensive school in Walsall for two years. She has experience as Head of Maths and Assistant Headteacher overseeing year 7 and 8 at Reach and now leads on the non-teaching functions of the school.
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