Hear from our staff

We employ hundreds of staff at Ardingly College, they work in the various departments listed below. We asked a cross-section what it is like to work here. Please click on the profile picture to find out what they said.

  • Teaching Staff – Pre-Prep, Prep School, Senior School
  • Support Staff – Administration, Catering, Cleaning, Grounds, House Assistants, Laundry, Maintenance, Marketing and Admissions, Science Technicians
  • Ardingly Projects

When I joined the College in 2008, I had no idea where it would take me! I have made some of my best friends in my time here, got married, had my children and enjoyed career progression along the way.

I joined as a teacher of maths, became second in department, had a year as an assistant Housemistress, was appointed as the head of the Maths department, then moved into Senior Management with five years as Head of Middle School to then become Deputy Head (Staff & Operations). The saying goes, you only get out what you put in; I have given a lot to this school but have been richly rewarded, both personally and professionally, and now also have my three children being educated here which makes all of our lives better (and easier for busy working parents!). The staff, both teaching and non-teaching, are excellent colleagues and several are dear friends.

The school has changed so much over the years with the addition of many new facilities and opportunities but what hasn’t changed is the wonderfully vibrant and busy community you have at work… and also when it is time to ‘play’, which we also like to do.

What I love about Ardingly is that fact that we work in an absolutely beautiful, calm environment, with fresh air and space, yet the school is full of life and feels really vibrant.  The staff are always really keen to try new things and are happy to change – it would make my job so much more difficult if I didn’t work with such great people.  Also, the students appreciate your time and are fun to work with.  We’re all working to be the best school possible.

When I first applied, I worried that I didn’t have an independent boarding school background, but this hasn’t been an issue.  I feel fully a part of school life and yet I don’t live on site – when I joined I commuted happily from Brighton, and now drive even further, from Surrey.  This hasn’t held me back either, for many years I was Head of Department and then an Assistant Housemaster in a day house, which I loved, and then joined SMT in 2017.

Why do I love working at Ardingly College…

Simple really. It’s the people who keep me here. Everyone is so friendly. It’s also such a beautiful venue, there’s the best view looking across the valley to the viaduct. I know I can turn to anyone and they will help me professionally and emotionally. I’ve never known anywhere like it. As a member of staff, the College completely embraces you, as a person and helps bring out the best in you. Oh and of course… how can I forget the food – second to none!

I love working at Ardingly for many reasons. There is a sense of family and community throughout the staff. The food is brilliant, something I look forward to every day, but especially the Christmas meals when support staff are invited to attend the House Christmas dinners. The grounds are amazing, I still love driving in through those gates even after 8 years. The events that are put on such as the Fireworks Night and the Upper Sixth Leavers Ball are fantastic. If you want to progress you will receive the support. I’ve gone from the Billing Ledger Clerk to the Finance Manager in just a few years, getting the support and training needed to do my job to the best of my ability. I feel proud to say that I work at Ardingly College.

 

This is my twelfth year of working at Ardingly, and over my time here I have grown to love it more and more.  The atmosphere and intangible ‘feel’ of the school is hard to describe, but from my experience as an examiner visiting many varied schools and my previous working life, I have every intention of remaining at Ardingly for (probably) twelve further years.  I have been gifted the autonomy and trust from senior leadership to shape and develop the art department to my specifications and the drive and passion my staff possess is deeply ingrained and passed on to all of our students.  One of the most wonderful elements of Ardingly is its inclusivity – all types of individuals are embraced and very often celebrated, with the staff body recognising what each person has to offer and drawing it out of them to its fullest potential.  Creativity at Ardingly isn’t sneered at or taken up as a soft option, it is respected and thriving.  I live a full thirty-eight miles from Ardingly and the twice daily hour+ commute this entails has sometimes made me question my sanity – but once I came to Ardingly it had a grip of me and I can’t let go.  I have poured my heart and soul into the art department and students within it, and it is now an integral part of who I am.  It is not just students who respect each other, I feel genuinely respected too – and to work in an environment so visually beautiful alongside the job satisfaction of feeling what I do makes a difference is precious.  I know that I am very lucky to work here and plan to remain Head of Art at Ardingly for many years to come.

I have worked at Ardingly for over 40 years as Matron both in Prep and now Senior School ,  I quite simply love my job and the beautiful surroundings I work in.   A school is nothing without the students and its workforce and I am lucky enough to work within a supportive and strong  team of House Supervisors and  a wider community of staff who tirelessly support young people through their education here at Ardingly College.

When I joined Ardingly 12 years ago as a maternity cover teacher, the plan was to stay for a year and then go back to Australia where I had been working previously. Clearly that plan didn’t happen; my contract was extended and the last decade at Ardingly has flown by, full of happy memories and wonderful experiences. My favourite thing about Ardingly is the nature of the pupils. They are genuinely great fun to be with, kind and thoughtful. Another highlight of my time here are the close friends I have made. I was lucky to start with a great bunch of ‘young’ staff and even though now we are not so young and have very little time to socialise with each other, we are still all very good friends. All the staff in school from teachers to the stewards to maintenance are lovely and will do anything to help.

For many years I was Head of PE but more recently have moved to a pastoral role as a Housemistress of a day house and felt very supported in that change of role and am enjoying working closely with the girls in my House. The days are long and there are periods of high pressure but I believe that is the same in any independent school environment.

I never thought I would be ‘that teacher’ who has been at the same school for 30 odd years but if my two young girls come here, which I would love for them to, then I can see that will be the case and I am looking forward to it!

I joined Ardingly College in January 2019 after a professional and welcoming interview process. I was slightly nervous about joining a term late into the academic year, however, the carefully designed induction programme made me feel at home very quickly. My initial impression of the College community was that it was very open, friendly and approachable, all of which contributed to making the ‘settling in’ process easier. So much so, in September 2020 I decided to apply for the position of Assistant Housemaster in a boarding house and after a successful interview, I was offered the job and moved on-site! I have personally found there to be a lovely social energy that comes with living on site and working in a place like Ardingly; a growing community of like-minded and down-to-earth individuals who strike the perfect balance between socialisation and professionalism. The college has provided me with excellent CPD opportunities in both an academic and pastoral sense, broadening my professional skillset as well as my future career opportunities. I feel very fortunate to be working for such a professional and yet wonderfully approachable management team, who listen attentively and respond swiftly to the needs of the teaching community. There is a sense of real compassion, desire to learn and commitment to success amongst the pupils and staff.

Having been at Ardingly as a student at one point, it’s been an absolute pleasure for me to return this year as a teacher. My colleagues have been friendly, supportive, and welcoming from day one, and there is a real sense of community within the staff body. The students themselves are vibrant and principled, from the lower years right the way up to the Sixth Form, and it is a joy to teach them. Alongside the people, the facilities at Ardingly are also excellent; three lovely meals a day, a fully equipped gym, and a stunning campus in the Sussex countryside mean that I’m in no rush to leave come the evening! I love it here, and I’d encourage anyone thinking of working at Ardingly to go for it; I’m certain you’ll love it here, too.

What has always stood out to me and what I consider to be the most valuable and unique aspect of working at Ardingly College is the strong sense of community that exists. The success of the students is the result of the interdependence between support staff, parents and teachers. As a teacher and houseparent, the genuinely supportive relationships that I have formed with staff and parents from across the college make it a pleasure to work here each day. On top of this, the beautiful setting, the lovely grounds, the amazing food and the fantastic care and education that my children receive mean that it is a job well worth holding on to.

I love working at Ardingly College. The Prep School is a busy, bubbly, caring and exciting environment. The staff across the College are amazing to work with and I have built very strong friendships in my time here. The children are fun and show an eagerness to learn which makes the job very rewarding. There are many extra-curricular activities to get involved with and I have been able to help with Drama productionsset up and run the Prep School News programme and help out with the Jazz band.  

Ardingly has supported my continual professional development (CPD) and this has led me to start an MA in Education. There have been many opportunities for me to develop my teaching. I started at the school as a Year 4 Form Tutor and classroom teacher. Over the years at the school I have also had the chance to teach KS3 Science and also Computer Science in the Senior School alongside my KS2 role. It is a very exciting time for technology in the school with the introduction of Microsoft Surfaces and Virtual Reality and I have enjoyed leading a department throughout this process. 

The grounds and buildings are beautifulNo matter how much time has passed, walking through the archway every morning and seeing the view from the Terrace makes me feel very lucky and grateful to work in such a wonderful place. 

I love working in the Pre-Prep for many reasons.  I especially love the freedom of our Creative Curriculum; it engages the children and inspires their natural curiosity right from the start.  Getting it right at this age is key to their future learning journey and I feel very privileged to be part of that.

I have been in my role at the college for approaching one year. I love working here as I work with a great team, who are very professional and I feel we make a positive contribution to all areas of the college, which is recognised by the people we help. My role challenges me and no two days are the same. The success of the Stewards department contributes to the success of all the activities of the college; academic, sporting, dramatic, and business and marketing etc. In setting up shows, concerts, open days and Summer School to name a few.

There is an extremely friendly and supportive atmosphere around the college and the physical surrounding are beautiful. Even on the darkest, rainiest of days there is something inspiring to see. Be it the views of the surrounding countryside, the buildings or the sight of a lovely cooked breakfast.

Why work at Ardingly Pre-Prep?

 

Well our Farmhouse, Cowshed and Pigsty are quite unique and I was wowed by the school long before I started working here. I remember being blown away by the creative nature of the school and the emphasis placed on the children choosing their own topics; making their learning and experiences both exciting and exclusive. I have continued to be excited by the constantly evolving curriculum in the Pre-Prep since I began working here in 2016 and I love coming to work every day! I also enjoy spending some of my holidays here through the Ardingly Holiday Club; it is so lovely to be able to spend time with a wide variety of pupils and see them playing as a big, happy family.

 

During term time I love walking up the hill to the Prep School to see some of my previous classes running around and always running up to say “hello” and tell me about something they have done in the big school. It’s important to be able to see past pupils as they have continued to blossom at Ardingly. So much changes in the year you have them in your class, let alone their immense growth as they move through the school.

 

I was also lucky enough to travel to China to support the development of a Kindergarten that wished to model their curriculum on the Ardingly way; highlighting the high regard for our school and the way we teach and inspire children. I genuinely believe our children will change the world and it is our privilege to help them realise their dreams. Our children are Discovering their World and we’re supporting and encouraging them every day.

Some of my favourite quotes:

 

We have wonderful children and I am so lucky to work with such inspiring colleagues who really care for our pupils. We believe in, support and challenge each child.

Ardingly has supported me throughout my professional qualifications with the University of Buckingham and I believe that I would not have had better teacher training anywhere else. The range of experiences that have been offered to me over my four years here have been fantastic. I have been a boarding assistant in Woodard, organised an Astronomy day full of speakers and workshops and run trips for multiple year groups locally and abroad. Most significantly for me has been my involvement in organising and running the Kenya service trip since my NQT year. Each experience has been a pleasure due to supportive colleagues, many of whom I can call friends, and lovely pupils across all year groups.