Catherine Claasen
Catherine Claasen
Director of Teaching & Learning, Bedales Pre-prep, Dunannie

BA (Hons) Winchester
MA Open University
Adv Dip Special Needs OU
PGCE Hertfordshire
RSA Dip Theatre Arts, West London

What makes a good teacher at Dunannie?

Listening to children. Taking time to allow them to express themselves. Creativity and openness to new ideas. Enthusiasm.

What are you trying to encourage and instil in the children?

Curiosity and a lasting love of learning. I want the children to be able to leave Dunannie feeling empowered and open to opportunities.

Apart from your teaching role, what else do you get involved with at the school?

I have a new role at Dunannie – Director of Teaching and Learning. I also represent the teaching staff at Dunannie within the Bedales Staff Liaison Group. Throughout most of my time at Dunannie I have led a range of after-school activities including Nature Explorers, Art Club, Reporters' Club and most recently Model-Makers. I am one of the teacher judges for Radio 2's 500 Words story writing competition. Begun eight years ago from relatively small beginnings, it is now a wonderful showcase of young writing talent. I was invited to the Final at Hampton Court Palace in 2018. Sometimes I work at Making Space, Arts Centre, supporting students with additional needs and I have also worked with the Education Department at Chichester Cathedral developing new learning workshops. I recently visited The Gambia to work in some very different schools, and took 8½ kg of Lego donated by Dunannie families with me!

In your opinion, what makes Dunannie special?

We know the children really well. We are committed and truly enthusiastic about learning. Dunannie is special because of the amazing group of people here. At Dunannie, at the sharp end of teaching, every moment of learning counts. With such supportive and talented colleagues it is a pleasure and a privilege to be teaching here.

Who or what inspires you?

My children, my parents, art and nature, and there’s always Nanny McPhee: “There is something you should understand about the way I work. When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go. It's rather sad, really, but there it is”. I’m always sad when my class leave and move on. But how great that they are ready.

Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.

I learnt to fly gliders.

Catherine Claasen
Catherine Claasen
Catherine Claasen
Catherine Claasen