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New head at Dean Hole Church of England Primary School, Caunton, travelled through Africa

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A teacher who lived and travelled through Africa is to bring a wealth of culture and knowledge to his new role as head at a village school.

Andy Liles is the new head at Dean Hole Church of England Primary School in Caunton — a major scenery and role change to his job at a school in Malawi, East Africa.

Mr Liles, who was abroard for five years, said he wanted to bring a different outlook to UK teaching having worked in an international school with very different values.

“I first worked with with children in the States when I was 18, working with children with ADHD and other needs,” said Mr Liles. “Now I’m in my 16th or 17th year of teaching, at my fourth school.

“Dean Hole is a lovely school and the staff are really committed to the children.

“I’m just getting settled in but it’s a big move as I’ve been in Malawi with my wife, where I worked at a school and alongside others in the area that were less fortunate.

DEAN HOLE head Mr Andy Liles. (51455079)
DEAN HOLE head Mr Andy Liles. (51455079)

“In the future, I would like to develop links with those schools — as well as have a big focus on music and art based on what I have experienced.”

Not just a head, Mr Liles will be doing his fair share of teaching.

“I’m going to be a teaching head, so I’ll be teaching key stage two for part of the week — that’s a big part of my job,” he said.

“Still teaching means you remain very in touch with what teachers are doing and the relationships with the children.

“Covid has made learning very difficult for some children, with many having anxiety about seeing others or being in the classroom again, so I want to bring fun and enthusiasm into my teaching — while still expecting the very best from pupils.

“Every group of children represents new challenges, so it’s important to adapt to them and not hold on to what you think works.

“I also want to further develop our links with parents and get out into the community after covid as mixing with other villages and schools is really important.”

Mr Liles added working at such a small school was actually beneficial.

He said: “Small schools have got to find their way, but to do so in a nurturing environment is a real asset. We are in such a beautiful setting and getting outdoors with outdoor play is vital.

“We have a member of staff who is going through forest school training at the moment.

“Sitting children in a class from dawn to dusk is not healthy, I don’t know who ever came up with it.

“The teachers work so incredibly hard, and we will always consider their well-being as well.”

Mr Liles recently decided to relocate to Nottingham, his wife’s hometown, having missed family and friends during the covid-19 pandemic.

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