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News > School News > Reigniting hobbies top of bucket list for Head of Biology as she retires from teaching

Reigniting hobbies top of bucket list for Head of Biology as she retires from teaching

30 Jun 2022
Written by Jennifer Law
School News

Head of Biology and Policy Co-ordinator on the SMT, Beth Wheeler is retiring from teaching and looking forward to reigniting her passion for diverse hobbies that have been neglected throughout her teaching years.

Beth graduated from Stirling University in December 1984, having studied Biology with Education, leaving with a Biology degree and a teaching qualification. Her teaching career started in January 1985 at Knights Templar School in Baldock (KTS) in Jan 1985. Where she was promoted to Head of Biology, Second in Science, Head of PSHE and Pastoral Head for Senior School Girls.

Following 20 years at KTS she started at the College in September 2005 becoming Head of Biology.

One of Beth’s strongest memories is the first House music she attended. ‘It was a mind-blowing experience. The event was totally pupil lead. You could hear a pin drop as the first part song took position on the stage in the Memorial Hall. The standard of music was absolutely unbelievable with four U6th students from Sutton House, singing a 4-part arrangement of a Beach Boys song. The whole evening was a musical masterclass. House music has remained my favourite school evening of the year. To see students outside of the classroom environment, demonstrating talents you would otherwise never see. This competition demonstrates the values of the House System and the house competitions. It raises awareness of individual students’ talents, increase confidence, teamwork and in the older student’s leadership.’

A further highlight was in 2010 when Beth was awarded the “Excellent Teacher Award.” especially as it was selected by the students. This was completely out of the blue, unexpected, yet meant so much to her.

Beth is very grateful to John Trotman who gave her the opportunity to be on the SMT, in the role of Policy co-ordinator. This has given her a very different perspective on the management of an independent school.

One lasting memory for Beth is having dinner with Sir John Gurdon along with Jeremy Gladwin, Gill Allcock and Stuart Mcpeake.  It was an educational experience in many ways, discussing cloning with a Nobel prize winner. Taking place in the same year Sir Robert Winston, now Baron Winston came to the school to talk at the festival of literature, a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear first-hand from two inspirational scientists!

Other lasting memories are those outside the classroom, the theatre trips to the Lion King, Mama Mia, Kinky boots, Wicked, Stomp, War Horse, Legally Blonde the list goes on…. House events: especially House Music and the Pearl and Yeo cup….The Leavers Balls…Field trips to Pembrokeshire, Flat Holm, Yorkshire, Shropshire and of course Hatfield Forest. The zoo trips and especially D of E. The list really is endless but so positive!

As she enters a new chapter in life, Beth will miss the support of amazing colleagues and support staff. She enthuses that the professionalism of the Staff at the college is absolutely outstanding, and she would like to thank all colleagues both past and present for their contribution to what has always been a team effort.

Secondly she will miss the amazing students, who have been an absolute  pleasure and a privilege to teach.

As for the future, Beth is retiring from teaching, no supply, no tutoring just concentrating on all the things that she has not been able to do during her teaching career. She is clearly planning to keep busy with her to-do list extending to coveted activities such as:

  • Going to the Chelsea flower show & attending Wimbledon
  • Having holidays during term time- on her list so far is the Caledonian canal and the Scottish isles, back to Norway, Austria and Switzerland plus Hungry and then Rome.
  • Attending the gym during the day rather than 7.30 at night!
  • Walking on dry/sunny days rather than just Sundays
  • Numerous coffee & lunch dates with friends & lots of weekends away visiting family and friends - not just on leave weekend
  • Using her National Trust & RHS memberships
  • Joining a rambling group
  • Learning how to play “Crown green bowls”
  • Complete her family tree- and see if we are related to anyone famous!!!

In fact, her bucket list just keeps growing!!!!

Beth is keen to extend warmest thanks to everyone who has made her time at the College so positive and the College Community in turn, thanks Beth for her unwavering dedication to her Department, Students, Colleagues and for her key part in the management of the College itself. She will be so greatly missed by all who have had the privilege to study in her care and work alongside her in many varied capacities but all wish her the happiest of retirements and hope that she will pop back in the not too distant future to update us on the ticks on her bucket list!

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