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Tracey Plane – Head of Learning, FE Department

posted 22 May 2017, 04:16 by James Dorey


When I started my teacher training at the University of Bath, I always remember being asked the question ‘where do you want to be in 3 years’ time’? Most people would answer with ‘a head of department’, ‘head of year’, etc., but I answered with ‘being a PE teacher in a special needs school.’ My college tutor said that this wasn’t a job and people just don’t become PE teachers in special schools.

In my third year of teaching I became a PE teacher at Columbus School and College in 2009. I am sure you will agree I would love to meet my tutor now and tell her the job is possible!

I have always enjoyed sports and taking part in many clubs in my personal time. However, Judo was always the sport that was my favourite. I have done it since I was four years old and have travelled to many places representing my country. My proudest moment had to be in 2015 when I took part in the World Championships and took a Bronze and in the Europeans taking Silver. The school supported me in my dream and even made me a Judo themed Christopher Carrot!

I started my teaching career in a mainstream school and taught PE and Science until I saw a position at Columbus. I applied for the job and was lucky enough to be offered the role. Since working at Columbus I have had many wonderful experiences working with the students and watching them grow into strong minded and independent young people. I have supported 15 educational visits in my time to a number of destinations - Sailing, Wales, Mersea, Bradwell, Southampton, Tenerife, and Portugal. I think these are an excellent way for students to gain confidence, build independence and prepare for the next stages of their life and I always enjoy supporting the students on these visits.

I was a member of the Physical Development team from 2009 - 2015 and in this time I was also the Head of Learning for two years. In 2012 we were lucky enough to take a group of students to the London 2012 Games and watched football, athletics and basketball. It really was lovely to give the students this opportunity. In 2014 the PD Department was nominated for the Active Essex School of the Year award and we were extremely proud to have won this and be the first ever Special School to win too! Everyone involved found the awards ceremony very rewarding.

In my spare time and during school holidays I was an active member of the Discovery Club and ran the scheme as a play worker until 2014.

Then in 2015 I moved across to the FE Department where I am now a Head of Learning. I really enjoy this role and have already learnt so many more things since taking on this role. I have lots of new ideas that I look forward to building into the College curriculum for the students and have a real passion for ensuring the students have the best future possible for them, leading a life as independently as they can.

Over my time at Columbus I have taken part in a number of events to raise money for the school; the Nike London Half Marathon in 2010, the Southend Half Marathon in 2015 and a 10km Nuclear Muddy Races event in 2016. I enjoy a challenge and trying new things - in July I am taking part in a 5km inflatable race along with 12 other staff from Columbus and in May I have entered a 12km Nuclear Muddy Race again.

I would like to thank the students and staff at Columbus for giving me the opportunities I have had and providing me with the skills, knowledge and expertise to fulfil my initial dream back in college to be a PE teacher for special needs students and to progress into my current role.

Tracey Plane

Head of Learning FE
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