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Developing a career in education

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James Rouse, Head of School, St Anne's Catholic School

Developing my career in Southampton

James Rouse moved to Southampton in 1994 as an undergraduate student to study Oceanography with Physics at the University of Southampton. The reputation of the University as a whole, and the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences, in particular, were well-deserved. He notes, ‘I loved the mix of both pure physics and the opportunity to apply science to the context of the Earth’s oceans. There was a real sense of purpose in what we studied; that this was an area of scientific research that would contribute directly both to a better understanding of this vital environment, but also that we were creating solutions to some of the key issues facing our planet. The opportunity to study at the world-class facilities of the National Oceanography Centre, alongside other research organisations such as the Natural Environment Research Council allowed a clear transition for many into exciting careers beyond their studies.’

After graduation, James considered embarking on a PhD in the same area of science, but instead applied for a PGCE at the School of Education at the University of Southampton. As soon as he stepped into the classroom, he was hooked! The experience of continued immersion in science, together with leading the next generation of young people was very powerful. The School of Education was an inspirational place to learn the craft of teaching, being supportive and challenging in equal measure.

James took up his first teaching job as teacher of science in a secondary school in Southampton: Bellemoor School (now Upper Shirley High) in September 1998, where he received professional support from his mentors, colleagues and leaders, and eventually became second in Science, followed by a role as assistant data lead,

2003 saw James move to St Anne’s Catholic School to become the Community Outreach Manager for the school’s new Science Specialist status. This role provided the opportunity to work with local schools (both primary and secondary) and businesses, to enhance the quality of science education in the school and beyond. The strength in the networks between schools in the City was growing and the mutual support offered among schools was impressive. Since then, James has moved into an assistant headship, then deputy headship, before becoming the Head of School at St Anne’s Catholic School.

James notes, ‘At all levels of my career, I have been impressed by the common purpose shown across the schools in the City to support each other in ensuring that all pupils are given the chance to thrive and make a positive contribution to Southampton and the region. I have found Southampton to be a fantastic city in which to work and live, and the strong links between the schools, the local authority and the universities, have given me opportunities in my career that I would not have had elsewhere.’