Katherine grew up in Oxfordshire, where she attended Gosford Hill School. Upon completion of her O Levels, Katherine moved to the Oxford College of Further Education and subsequently to Exeter College of Further Education to study for her A Levels in Dance, Human Biology and Sociology.
Katherine was a keen and talented gymnast, undergoing high-level training throughout her studies. It was at the end of her A Level examinations that Katherine made the decision to leave the world of gymnastics and focus on her ambition to become a teacher of Physical Education. Katherine travelled to Eastbourne Campus of Brighton University where she spent four years completing a Bachelor of Education in Physical Education with Science as a second subject.
After successfully completing her degree, Katherine travelled abroad for a short time before returning to Devon to start her career. Her first position was as a supply teacher at the then Knowles Hill School, before being appointed as Teacher of Physical Education in 1994.
Throughout her career at Knowles Hill School (subsequently known as Newton Abbot College), Katherine has undertaken myriad roles. Her previous incarnations have included Vocational Coordinator for Sixth Form, teacher of Leisure and Tourism and Deputy Head of Sixth Form. It was, however, her appointment as Head of Physical Education that she apportions the most pride; a position in which she flourished and enjoyed for six years. Katherine quickly made positive and effective change to the College during her post; her Healthy Schools Drive campaign and equipment installation was accredited and award-winning and she subsequently undertook active measures with staff to improve teaching and learning College-wide.
It was during this time as Head of Physical Education that Katherine was approached to take a sabbatical on the College’s Leadership Team; an offer that Katherine couldn’t refuse. After a three year sabbatical, Katherine was permanently appointment as a member of the College’s Leadership Team, assuming the position of Learning Director, line managing middle leadership and overseeing data and teaching and learning. Katherine’s consistent and persistent approach to affecting real change within the College saw the creation and implementation of teaching tools still seen today, including Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time (DIRT) that allows students to revisit their work and make genuine and thoughtful improvements.
After the appointment of Principal Paul Cornish and a restructure of the College’s Leadership Team, Katherine became an Assistant Principal responsible for raising standards and data; a position she holds today.
“I wake up every day and am happy to come to my place of work and I have never found anywhere I would want to be more than at Newton Abbot College. I have put my trust in the fantastic educative opportunities offered by sending my son here; I don’t believe someone can advocate for somewhere more than that!
I want the future for the College to be one of recognition for the excellent place we already are and persistently strive to be. The Leadership Team and staff will continue both to drive the College forward and make improvements. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of such a reflective establishment; if we identify something that we don’t like or isn’t working, we are not afraid to change it and that is incredibly inspiring.”
I wake up every day and am happy to come to my place of work and I have never found anywhere I would want to be more than at Newton Abbot College. I have put my trust in the fantastic educative opportunities offered by sending my son here; I don’t believe someone can advocate for somewhere more than that!Katherine West