Penny Tattershaw, Head of Boys’ School
I’m a Gore girl, born and bred, but of English heritage, so between family in the UK, and my swimming and hockey, I was lucky to have a well-travelled childhood. Thus, when given the chance to spend my 7th form at my father’s old school in Worcestershire – a GAP year before they were fashionable – I jumped.
I had a
ball but must have done some
work as I was offered a place to read law at St Hugh’s
College, Oxford, in 1985.
The law and I were ill-suited but those three years
amid Oxford’s dreaming spies were an extraordinary
experience and a privilege. A passion for Roman law (my
happy triune of Latin, history and politics), endless hours
of sport (nine blues!) and a healthy fear of letting down
my parents saved my degree. My degree certificate and
the Blues photo the year I captained Oxford hockey still
have equal pride of place on their wall.
After Oxford, I headed north – a Kiwi teaching English
to the Scots at Drumley House, a wee prep school nestled
amongst the famous west coast golf links near Ayr. The
following year, it was south, to Exeter University in Devon,
to complete my Postgraduate Certificate in Education, in
the unlikely combination of history and outdoor ed.
early 1990s took me back to the middle, and Bromsgrove
School. British boarding schools are a lifestyle rather
than a job, so it was four happy years of work-hard, playhard:
seven-day weeks, late night training and plenty of
international water polo and travel.
Before I noticed, one year became eleven, and it was
time to come home, to find out where home was.
out it’s wherever I lay my hat. After five years of fun at Cathedral Grammar (1995-2000) as the Year 8 boys’ teacher, and
a significant personal hockey commitment, it was back to
the UK to Repton Prep, before stepping out of the formal
classroom. Chance landed me a fabulous opportunity
promoting the Sail Training Association (UK equivalent
of Spirit of NZ), living aboard a 60m tall ship and working
with underprivileged youth. My sailing knowledge proved
annoyingly woeful, so I headed to Gibraltar for fourth
months to gain my Yachtmaster Offshore skipper’s ticket.
New Zealand beckoned again, and in 2003 I returned
to set up ReadySetGoLearn.com, a company which
produces educational craft activities for 3-6 year olds. In
addition there’s been book editing and proof reading, ad
copywriting, running the CanSail Charitable Trust (a mini
Spirit on Lyttelton Harbour), writing a (yet to be published!)
children’s novel, hockey coaching, (Harewood, Christ’s
College and Grammar) and relief teaching.
And now it’s great to be back. Grammar is a team:
of pupils, staff and parents; passionate, diverse and
challenging at every turn. I’ve missed that.