By BHVISHYA PATEL FOR MAILONLINE
A line-up of 27 former pupils are back at their old high school for the new term – because they are now members of staff there.
Former school pupils of Ysgol Cwm Rhondda school, in Porth, Wales, who make up almost half of all the teaching staff in roles from deputy head to learning support, have celebrated their return to the school by posing for a reunion class photo.
Headteacher Rhian Morgan Ellis, 57, who grew up in the former mining community in Rhondda, South Wales, before going on to run her old school, has now hired the former pupils on her staff to teach the new generations of children at the 750-strong school.
Ms Ellis, who was named UK headteacher of the year at the Pearson National Teaching Awards, said: ‘It is the kind of place that once you’re here it grabs you, that’s because there are such positive relationships.’
Former school pupils of the welsh-speaking Ysgol Cwm Rhondda school, in Porth, Wales, were employed by headteacher Rhian Morgan Ellis (centre in red top and black cardigan), 57
The ex pupils make up almost half of all the teaching staff in roles from deputy head to learning support
Among the former pupils is Amy Morgan (left now and right as a pupil), 29, who started her career as a music teacher by returning to her old school
One of Ms Ellis’ latest recruits is learning support assistant Amelia Davies, 19, who only left Ysgol Cwm Rhondda two years ago after finishing her exams.
She said: ‘It’s a lovely place to work, it’s like we’re a big family.
‘Going from pupil to staff wasn’t hard. As a headteacher, Rhian was always approachable and easy to talk to, and as a member of staff this is still very true.’
‘Music was my favourite lesson and the lessons inspired me to become a music teacher.
‘I was welcomed back with open arms.’
Deputy headteacher Craig Spanswick, 37, (left now and right as a pupil) began his teacher training at the school in 2004
Finance officer Elen Perry (left now and right as a pupil), 34, was once a pupil at Ysgol Cwm Rhondda, but now works as a member of staff there
Meanwhile Amelia Davies, 19, who only left Ysgol Cwm Rhondda two years ago, has returned to become a member of staff
Elsewhere Craig Spanswick, 37, who taught six of his colleagues when they were pupils, began his teacher training at the school in 2004 and is now deputy head.
He said: ‘You can describe the school as a family. All the opportunities I was provided as a pupil I wanted to give back.’
‘Arriving as a newly qualified teacher in 2004, Craig said: ‘It never felt strange because no-one made it feel strange, it’s such an inclusive school.’
Welsh teacher Helen Griffiths, 46, said: ‘Returning to the school was very much like coming home,’ said Helen.
‘Rhian pushed me constantly as a pupil and then as a work colleague.
‘She is the reason I decided to become a teacher and why my children are now brought up through the medium of Welsh. I wanted to have that impact on the pupils I teach.’
Also among the former pupils is finance officer Elen Perry, 34, and music teacher Owain Harris, 39.