St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School in St Helens has been on quite the journey. With the school celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, headteacher Catherine Twist tells Educate about its diamond successes and bright future ahead.
She was interviewed by Hannah Fowler for Educate Magazine, the magazine for schools, parents and pupils across Merseyside
Success for all
Like many students when they leave school at 18, Catherine Twist didn’t quite know what she wanted to do as a future career. Not wanting to go to University, she got on the job ladder and took a role as a school lab technician at St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic High School in St Helens.
But a few years down the line, Catherine got the teaching bug, “I decided I wanted to go in to teaching because it’s about being with children and working with kids. So that’s what I did,” she explains.
Catherine gained her degree from Manchester Polytechnic (now known as Manchester Metropolitan University) and entered the world of teaching. Luckily, her first foray as a teacher was somewhat familiar, as she landed a job at St Augustine’s, where she was the lab technician only a few years earlier.
“I stayed there for 16 years and was a science teacher; head of year; exams officer; Key Stage 3 manager; all of those different kind of jobs that you pick up when you’re trying to build your portfolio,” she said.
With her teaching career taking off, Catherine was, and still is, unwavering on what community she wants to serve – her native St Helens. “I’m St Helens born and bred,” she says. “I haven’t been very far, apart from holidays. It’s about wanting the best for our children and our area.”
The only role Catherine hadn’t gone for was head of department, and when an advert came up at St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School (known as St Cuthbert’s Catholic Community College for Business and Enterprise at the time) she jumped at the chance and landed the job.
As head of science, Catherine was soon asked to take on the maths department too and after that (“very suddenly,” says Catherine) she became assistant headteacher for teaching and learning in September 2013.
But sadly that same year, Monica Gallimore, St Cuthbert’s headteacher since 2008 passed away. Described as a ‘wonderful leader and teacher’ who changed lives for the better, the impact on the school was great. “That left a big hole in the school, a massive hole in the school,” explains Catherine.
The School Leadership Team rallied together and after temporary replacements stepped up and took the lead, Catherine became the permanent headteacher of school in September 2015.
“So it’s been quite a rapid journey up this corridor,” said Catherine. Rapid it might be but she has wasted no time getting to grips with her new role.
In 2015, the school embarked on a new identity which included changing the name to its current form and creating a fresh new brand to be rolled out across the uniform, prospectus, signage and website.
“We are competing with schools that are quite big schools and quite new – shiny buildings we call them,” Catherine explains. “We did use the phrase we might not have a shiny building but we’ve got shiny staff, shiny students and shiny curriculum!”
With a new modern image, the next milestone for Catherine to achieve was receiving a Good Ofsted inspection. “We knew we were a Good school, the results might not have shown that, but we knew we were a Good school and that the children were getting the best possible day to day education that they could,” she said.
Read the rest of the article here http://www.educatemagazine.com/catherine-twist-headteacher-st-cuthberts-catholic-high-school/
This article, along with other great stories, also appears in the September issue of Educate Magazine, view it below or at https://issuu.com/educatemagazine/docs/educate_september_2017