Teachers are keeping it in the family

Certain traits run in the family, and that’s certainly true of the Thompsons in Aberdeenshire.

Westhill Academy head teacher Derek Thompson is proud of his two daughters, who have followed in their parents’ footsteps in training to be teachers. Mum, Margaret, is a maths teacher.

Derek, 58, has been a head teacher at Westhill Academy since 1999, and his wife, and principal teacher of mathematics, Margaret, 57, has taught at the school since 1988.

Recently, daughter Shona Thompson, 21, has been on a placement at The Gordon Schools, Huntly, and younger sister Lisa, 19, has been developing her teaching skills on placement at Dunecht Primary School, which both she and Shona attended as a pupils.

The Thompsons

Derek said: “All four Thompsons will be in Aberdeenshire schools teaching at the same time and so we are definitely doing our bit for increasing teacher numbers.

“I am really proud that my daughters have followed their mother and I into a very rewarding teaching profession and I know they will enjoy working with young people and supporting their learning.”

In January, the family will all be in the same schools again as Shona and Lisa continue with their placement programme through Aberdeen University at The Gordon Schools and Dunecht.

Shona is a graduate of Edinburgh University in physical geography and geology and is studying for a post-graduate teaching qualification at Aberdeen University, while Lisa is
in third year at Aberdeen University doing MA
honours education. Both hope to complete their teacher education in Aberdeenshire through the one-year teacher probation scheme.

Shona, who is aiming to be a secondary geography teacher, said: “I really enjoyed my first placement at The Gordon Schools. Staff made me feel so welcome from the moment I arrived. The experience has confirmed that teaching really is the career for me.”

Lisa, who is training to be a primary school teacher, added: “It has been fantastic to return to the school were I was a pupil over eight years ago. The staff have all changed, but the school brings back many happy memories. I have always wanted to work with younger children.”

As well as taking to teaching together, the family have followed in each other’s educational footsteps to an extent too as the girls are former pupils of Westhill Academy, where their parents teach, and Derek and Margaret also attended Aberdeen University, where their children now study.

Chairwoman of Aberdeenshire Council’s education, learning and leisure committee Councillor Isobel Davidson said: “This is really inspirational; to hear of four members of the same family teaching is very unusual and it is fantastic to see them all doing such a great job nurturing future generations.”

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