Students to Teachers: Clare Dunstall

Clare Dunstall Then

Clare Dunstall

House: Charleston

Dates at Bedes: 2002 - 2007

Key teachers at the time:

I had a great selection of teachers during my time at Bede's. One of my main inspirations was Mr Tuson who taught me English for the end of GCSE and A Level. He was Head of Department at the time and practically lived in Room 05, with a particularly comfortable sofa underneath the window and gallons of tea in a metal flask. During my first years at school, Mr Tuson used to terrify me with his barking commands, often crashing open his door mid-afternoon, shouting out my name across the road, and frightening me into thinking I was in deep trouble, only to ask what was for lunch - what a jokester! Mr Tuson was a brilliant teacher and now a fantastic colleague in the English Department.

Mr Frame was another highlight of my education, where his creative lessons and in-depth knowledge about EVERYTHING to do with the First World War and Roaring Twenties helped me to achieve an A* in History. Also, I'm delighted the entire Spanish 'crew' still remain from my day, with Mr Walker doing a fantastic job as Head of Department, helping both Hannah Rimmington and I to organise a three week expedition to Valencia, Ms McKenna refusing to allow us to revert to English when in the classroom and Ms Fernandez teaching us (upstairs in the now-MFL rooms) during lunch times and after school for Speaking and Listening, trying to remain patient despite our moans and whinges about the difficulty of the topic. Without them, I wouldn't have been able to reach GCSE and A Level standard of an A* and A respectively.

Dr Carroll saved my Maths education! Ever since Prep School at Skippers Hill, I had felt doomed in Maths and accepted with resignation that I would never be able to achieve within the subject. Along came the Doc! Thanks to him and his ever-lasting patience (and Sudokus!), I attained a grade A- yes, a grade A within the subject. Results Day was especially emotional as a result of that great man.

Finally, a quick mention of those teachers who have sadly left Bede's before I could return. In Geography (one of my favourite subjects), Mr Whittle and Mrs Quinn were outstanding. Even though I found the subject more challenging than the rest, receiving a B grade in GCSE, both teachers worked tirelessly to support and inspire me within the subject. One of my best memories of Bede's was Results Day for A Level. I hadn't performed particularly well in the AS Geography, just scraping a B grade (which left me in tears for weeks - I loved Geography and just couldn't understand what I was doing wrong), and I was terrified that once again I had not reached that Grade A standard. Mrs Quinn was waiting for me by the time I arrived with my father and even queued with me to collect my brown envelope. With shaking hands and tears brewing in my eyes, I hurriedly ripped open the tab, praying inside that I had at last scored by A. Disaster. I opened the envelope to reveal 'Geography - B' in bold, terrible letters. I was devastated and started to cry. It hadn't worked once again. Maybe I wouldn't now be accepted for my English course in Exeter. My dreams were over. Until… Mrs Quinn, with a large grin on her face, gently explained that what I was looking at was just my AS part of the grade. My overall A Level grade in Geography was overleaf. It was an A.

What did you enjoy about being a student at Bede's?

I just loved every single aspect. Every lesson felt outstanding and I was never bored. I had insane revision sessions with Mr Tuson where he would type out quotes and we had to try and match them to the book - which I (and my dumbfounded peers) could never remember. Mr Tuson never played those games with us again after that. Playing Hockey, Netball and Rounders in activities and representing the First teams in these sports was a fantastic achievement and I still think back to the 'good old days' with the First Netball team training in all weathers with Miss Wall (now Marchant) in the Netball courts (which funnily enough have now been transformed into Stud House). Even though art was not my forte, my best friend Joanna Boyle was a great artist and I used to spend much of my time with her whilst she worked on her paintings, many of which are still on display around the school today. But one of my absolute favourite memories, which I'm sure all current students may understand, was visiting to the Village Shop. I remember seeing a counter full of chocolate (nothing so fancy as the Village Shop is today!), where I used to buy my 50p Yorkie and eat it on the way back to school. At the end of every day at Bede's we were exhausted, but in a really positive way. 

What has changed since you have been at Bede's?

No MPH - we had to play Table Tennis in what we affectionately called 'the chicken shed.' It was pretty dire. Charleston House used to be a games cupboard (barely fitting us all in - I believe our First Year common room, which housed nearly 30 girls, is now being utilised as an office for one) and Camberlot and Dorter used to be tennis courts. All of my old teachers are now part of the SMT (Senior Management Team), which shows the calibre of people that taught me. 

Tell me what you now do at Bede's?

I am the Deputy Head of English and resident house tutor in Camberlot. I have just started working at Bede's this term (Sept 2014) and I love getting to know the Camberlot boys and have the best classes with great students.

Clare Dunstall Now