Inspiration for Innovation: Meet the Teacher – Iain Massey, Headteacher, Sponne School, Towcester

Time to meet Iain Massey, Headteacher at Sponne School, Towcester as part of our Meet the Teacher series.

On his first day as a teacher, Iain was told that ‘sixth formers are not allowed in the staff room’! Clearly, that didn’t put him off as he has been a teacher now for 25 years. Not something that his parents condoned, both being teachers themselves, they didn’t want him to enter the profession. Iain, however, had other ideas and following three years spent doing research work in a lab after graduating he became a Science Teacher and then a KS4 coordinator. He has also been Head of Sixth Form and a faculty leader in Science before moving into the role of Deputy Headteacher, and the rest is history.

It seems that motivation is not an issue for Iain, he is fired up by the difference that he can make to children’s lives and says this is because he is valued in his role and he loves knowing that he makes a difference. Along with this and his goal to maintain the fantastic reputation of Sponne School in the community getting up on a typical day at 06:30 is no problem. A quick commute has Iain at his desk by 07:15 where he is able to crack on with an hour of work until it’s time to greet his students at the gate.

Iain’s role as Headteacher is multifaceted but put simply it’s to ensure that the students who attend achieve the best results possible in their exams and springboard from Spnne School onto the next stage of their lives from the best starting point. He spends the majority of the school day teaching, and still teaches Physics 3-4 hours a week; there’s also learning walks, school admin, meeting staff and being on duty and on call to keep him busy. After the students have gone Iain catches up on all of the things he hasn’t managed to get done during the day, including responding to a multitude of emails. Evenings may include parents evening, events or governors meetings.

Iain describes himself as determined and competitive, perhaps this is borne of the fact that he grew up in tough times during the 1980’s miner’s strike which was so difficult and devastating for many communities. This has enabled him to value what he has and to recognise that you can achieve despite the hurdles you may face along the way. It was Iain’s education that ultimately put him on the road to university and his choice to become a teacher was very much based on being able to put something back into society, something that makes him really happy in what he does. So, although the job can be intense Iain really believes that it is one of the most important jobs in the world, being able to make an immense and worthwhile difference to young people’s lives.

It will be a proud year for Iain too as his children go off to university having been students at Sponne School, both achieving 3A*s at A-Level, so a real personal and professional win. There have been many successes at work, the main result is to watch his students achieve highly and be able to fulfil their dreams, seeing their elation and knowing that you have played a small part in their success.

Iain’s parents and also his wife have been his role models, along with upholding his Christian values to direct the way he thinks and acts Iain indicates that these have been significant and positive influences on his life. This has helped him to overcome barriers by tackling them head-on and looking for solutions rather than focusing on the problem. Iain sees role models as vitally important for everyone and especially for students to be able to engage at an early age with role models is vital to open up their minds and aspirations.

There’s still time in his schedule to squeeze in some relaxation if that’s what you call playing squash and 5-a-side football on a Friday after school! But Iain says that his advice to his 16 year old self would be to work hard and to play hard, certainly something he does to the max. Having fun and being able to switch off helps keep you healthy both physically and mentally.

On that note, we thank Iain for sharing these insights to his life with us.