6th October 20
This term we’ve welcomed two new members of teaching staff to the Upper School. Lauren Weston joins us as Director of Sport (with some big Edo-shaped shoes to fill!) and Eileen McDonagh is taking over from Rita, another KAS legend, by stepping into the Geography Department. We caught up with them for a chat:
Interested in sport from a young age, Lauren joined all the sports teams going, but developed a particular passion for swimming. When her swimming club asked her, age 15, to help out teaching the younger members, she discovered a love for teaching too.
After studying Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham she honed her teaching skills at nearby UCS before heading off to Harrow Beijing as Head of PE. “I was curious about China as a country but also really interested in the way students learn out there, it was a great experience.”
While teaching in China she also competed in Triathlons and was sponsored to take part in Solomon trail running events to promote the sport and raise the profile of women’s racing.
“Having taught in North London I knew the area and I’d been aware of King Alfred and it’s ethos, so when the job came up I was excited to apply.”
Lauren’s personal passion for sport drives her vision for the Department: “I want us to offer a truly exciting programme of sport for those students who want to compete, but also for those who just want to take part whether it’s yoga, hiking, bouldering or football. I want to give the students some autonomy to decide which sports they like, and to focus on those, so everyone can develop a love of being active. The team have been very welcoming and despite the lack of fixtures so far, the PE department is a full-on and fabulous place to work.”
Fifteen years ago Eileen came to KAS on a placement as part of her teacher training and she says, “I loved it so much I’ve been trying to come back ever since!”
In addition to teaching Geography to Upper School students, Eileen is also helping to train the next generation of teachers as part of the TES learning platform.
She’s passionate about the benefits her subject brings, especially the human side to the subject, “Geography gives you statistical skills, you learn about human rights, geopolitics, it touches on economics and biology, it’s a multidisciplinary subject with so many applications. The students here are really switched on so I’m enjoying the teaching experience and once we can do them again, I’m really looking forward to all the outdoor camps and activities which this school delivers.”