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Former Theale Green School pupil returns as learning mentor and gym manager

A former pupil is realising her childhood dream to teach – at the same school she studied at.

Twenty-year-old Crystal Campbell left Theale Green School as a pupil in June 2022.

But she returned eight months later in February to help pupils in need of extra support – and is on her way to becoming a fully-qualified teacher.

Crystal Campbell, 20, has returned to help pupils at her former school
Crystal Campbell, 20, has returned to help pupils at her former school

Miss Campbell has recently been appointed manager of the school’s new gym, the Fitness Zone, which opened to students this September.

She works in the afternoons as a fitness instructor and is also supporting pupils undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh programme.

“I always wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “But never thought I could do it.

“It’s only because I was encouraged to apply by Charlotte Badarello [head] and Jo Halliday [former head] when I went back to collect my exam results.

“I wasn’t sure I’d have the skills to support the students but they saw something in me I maybe didn’t see in myself.”

And discussing making the transition from pupil to staff, she added: “Yes, it’s been a very strange transition because there wasn’t much of a gap between being a student to staff, which meant that quite a lot of the students in the older years knew me as a student.

“There’s a professional barrier now so we can’t be having a chit chat about what they did on the weekend.

“But because I’m so young I feel like it’s a bit easier for them to talk to me as I can relate to them, and of course when I’m in lessons with them it wasn’t so long ago I was doing it myself, so that really helps with the support I can give them.

Theale Green School
Theale Green School

“The teachers have been very supportive, especially if any issues come up, like if you haven’t been able to get through to a student.”

Miss Campbell was told about the role last year and given the opportunity to do a PT and fitness instructor course, funded by the Opening Schools Facilities Fund.

She is well-suited to the role, having played every sport and fixture while a pupil.

“I’m loving it here and at the moment I don’t think I’d ever want to teach in another school,” she added.

Head Charlotte Badarello said: “I, and the entire community at Theale Green, am enormously proud of Crystal and all she has achieved, and is achieving.

“She is someone who has embraced opportunities and strived to be the best version of herself and will be a critical component in the future success of the school.”

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