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Shiplake College News

A Conversation With... Mrs Sally Elliott

In today's 'A Conversation With...', we caught up with our Deputy Head (Pastoral), Mrs Sally Elliott, who recently joined the College! In this feature, we learn more about why she chose the pastoral route in teaching, what it is about Shiplake that appealed to her, and also her future London Marathon plans!

What is your role and how long have you been working at Shiplake? 

I am the Deputy Head (Pastoral) and I have been working here since September 2023! 

What were you doing before working at Shiplake? 

I was working at a  girls' school in Reading doing a similar role. I've been teaching for over 25 years now and have been focussing on the pastoral and safeguarding side for nearly all that time.  

What was the one thing that stood out to you about the College that made you want to work here? 

There are two things, if am I allowed two? One is the friendliness of the staff that work here as well as the pupils (and of course I can’t forget the dogs too!) which is always on display wherever you go.   

The other thing is something I cannot explain in that there is a special feel about this place.  I experienced it a year ago when I came for a tour with Mr Fuller, and I still get that feeling now. Every day when I get out of my car and walk around the site, I get that feeling. 

What is a day in the life like for you at Shiplake? 

Oh goodness, well it's never the same day twice and I love that. My role allows me to work with students and staff alike and indeed all staff. Last week, I had a meeting with our fabulous Year 13 prefects and that was followed by a conversation with the site team about buses and grass! There's something different all the time. 

All teachers naturally have pastoral and safeguarding responsibilities, but why did you want to take it further throughout your teaching career?  

It's the area in teaching, or working in education, that appealed to me early on. I was a Head of Italian many years ago and although I enjoyed the role, I am very much a people person and so working with parents, students, and other professionals felt like the right route for me. It can be both wonderful and heartbreaking, but I really enjoy it.  

Is it true that we can say that you have a passion for all things Italian?  

I do - well actually that's not true. I grew up in Milan and so must confess that I am very biased. However, I do not like wine or coffee, but I do love pasta, the city of Rome and skiing! 

What do you do outside of work?  

During term time, I love my 8.00pm walks (in the dark with my head torch much to my family's amusement!) with my black Labrador, Ernie, but I also love to run. I ran the London Marathon, but it was during that incredibly hot year, and so I am determined to do it again soon and beat my terrible time! I enjoy going to the theatre and heading to our relaxing happy place in Mallorca every summer! I have a 12-year-old daughter, so most of my weekend time is spent ferrying her to sports matches!

What does the future hold for Mrs Elliott? 

Continuing to get to know everyone here at Shiplake - not just in class but at all the wonderful activities and events that seem to happen on an almost weekly basis! And Christmas isn't that far away now, is it?!