Single mum goes from dinner lady to headteacher in nine years

A single mum-of-three who worked as a dinner lady at a primary school to make ends meet is celebrating after being promoted – to headteacher.

Rosalind Brotherton took a job serving food to youngsters following the break-down of her marriage – but just nine years later she was running a school of her own.

While working as a dinner lady at Swan Lane Frist School, she also studied for an Open University degree in History.

After graduating in 2005, Mrs Brotherton studied for her PGCE teaching qualification before re-joining the school in Evesham, Worcs., as a trainee teacher.

She moved to another school where she became deputy head in 2009.

Incredibly, she clinched a top job when she was appointed as headteacher at nearby Flyford Flavell First School, near Worcester, last September.

Mrs Brotherton, 49, said: “My marriage broke down when I was 30 and I wanted to help provide for my children and to do something for myself.

“I started doing my degree at the Open University.

“I was juggling jobs working as a dinner lady and a learning assistant at a school, so I was working with children and that inspired me to become a teacher.”

It took Mrs Brotherton five years to get a degree and by the following year she was training to be a teacher at Swan Lane First School with the University of Worcester.

After qualifying, she took a job at Thomas Jolysse School in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warks., where she rose through the ranks to deputy head.

Mrs Brotherton, who has three sons Alexander, 28, George, 25, and Sebastian, 21, added: “It really surprised me because, when I started the journey, I was never career-minded.

“But I was working in school and I wanted to be able to affect change.

“The higher I went the more I felt I could make things better for children, sort things out or influence more.

“I didn’t have a very good education. I didn’t enjoy school.

“I came from a single-parent family and all this came together and there weren’t many opportunities for me when I left school at 16 with a few CSEs.

“I think that has helped me to make sure children love learning and enjoy learning.

“I understand the stresses and strains of each particular role.

“When you are a dinner lady you are seeing the children at a social time when they need to let off steam.

“There are mores stresses and strains as a headteacher but it’s just as enjoyable.

“As a dinner lady you can form strong relationships.

“As a head I still have that but I have to work hard to make sure that I don’t shut myself in the office and don’t engage with the children.

“You have to walk around the playground and be available to them.”

Since joining Flyford Flavell, an Ofsted inspection rated the school, which caters for 79 pupils aged 5-9, as “good”, compared to “Needs Improvement” two years ago.

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