Introducing Hannah and Kim: The new members of our PE team!
Dear PE teachers,
I’d like to use this week’s blog post to introduce you to Hannah Curtis and Kim Nkonde. Both Hannah and Kim joined The EverLearner Ltd as PE teachers on the 1st of January 2024.
I will hand this post over to Hannah and Kim in a few paragraphs’ time to introduce themselves but I also want to take the opportunity to share our broader PE strategy with you.
In case you don’t know, The EverLearner Ltd is a well-established business in the niche sector of qualification-based PE learning and teaching. We serve over 1,000 PE departments across the world, with our focus being on the English and Welsh curriculum. But we also provide courses for international qualifications, delivering world-class experiences through live teaching videos with note-taking, quizzing in practice, test and checkpoint mode and prose exam setting and answering.
As the business has grown, the challenge for me to be a PE content creator and also a business owner has also grown. Since 2017, we have hired individual PE teachers to support me but now, in 2024, with the business growing rapidly, we have taken a more structured approach to PE recruitment.
In October 2023, we went to market to acquire two PE teachers and had an overwhelming response from the PE teaching sector. After the application form stage and initial longlisting, we had over 50 PE teacher applicants who had the profile to achieve in our roles and we took them forward to our round 2 assessment. The assessment was a one hour task covering:
- PE subject knowledge
- IT competency
From there, we shortlisted 12 interviewees, all of whom performed brilliantly on the assessment and we then interviewed those colleagues over Zoom for 45 minutes each. In the end, Hannah and Kim shone through but, honestly, we could have hired tens of really, really high-quality PE colleagues.
As our PE team grows with the arrival of Hannah and Kim, we also have an eye on the future. The following things are occurring:
- We are building TheEverLearner.com 2.0 website (a level of provision that, we believe, has never even been attempted in education).
- We are building further international courses such as CIE AS PE and the new International Baccalaureate in Sports, Health and Exercise Sciences.
- We are preparing for the potential announcement of curriculum review for GCSEs and A levels.
Therefore, our PE recruitment will not end with Hannah and Kim. Rather, we intend to make a range of further PE-specific appointments throughout 2024.
So, with these factors in mind, I would like to hand over to Hannah and Kim. Enjoy getting to know them and look out for their work in the coming weeks and months.
Hi, I’m Hannah.
Leaving teaching, my school, pupils and colleagues was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. However, the role at The EverLearner came at just the right time in both my personal and professional life for me to take that risk and step away. I knew it was the right decision after the one-hour task in the interview process. I’m not one who enjoys interviews or tests (who does?!) but I loved every minute of the online assessment and came away from it buzzing. It combined so many aspects of things that I enjoy. I’ve always loved the theory side of teaching and I enjoyed the challenge of finding new ways to support my students and get the best out of them. There is no denying how different this job is to teaching and being in a school, but I am already loving the variety of skills I am learning and using, as well as how quickly my subject knowledge is expanding across the 29 different qualifications that The EverLearner offers.
The team are fantastic and the past month has flown by with the right amount of hard work, challenge, fun and entertaining gifs that are being thrown around. I am looking forward to meeting everyone in person next week to discover that the team are more than just the shoulders and heads that I see in our meetings.
As with all new starts, I like to make “resolutions”, although I don’t really like that word, but hopefully you know what I mean.
Travel more: Leaving teaching behind, I have lost the fantastic holidays. However, I am still very lucky to have considerably more annual leave than other people and I am planning on using that time wisely. I’ve been to 41 countries so far and I am really keen to round this up to 50 as soon as possible. I love exploring new places, especially if it involves me getting to watch some form of sport there as well.
Take more risks: I think I started big with a change of job but, since listening to a podcast about how perfectionism can be holding you back and how we need to take more risks, I have been trying to find the right balance. So far so good (although it has only been a month!). Taking this job has been a risk that has paid off and I am hoping that I will be brave enough to take more in the coming year.
To follow the advice of Mary Earps: "There's only one of you in the world, and that's more than good enough. Be unapologetically yourself." I have come into The EverLearner with ideas and interests that I want to share, areas that I feel as an experienced and recent head of PE I can help to shape the direction of The EverLearner to help even more PE departments and students. It has been great to throw ideas out there, bounce them around and work with James, Kim and the team to hopefully produce the best possible provision for PE.
I am so excited about what the next few years can bring. As The EverLearner grows, I’m looking forward to getting more involved in all the different areas and to getting out and about (both physically and online) and helping more schools, teachers and students with the platform and PE.
Hi, I’m Kim.
Hi! I have been teaching for the past 15 years at a school in Cheshire, having started there as an NQT and following a PGCE at the University of Chester (way back in 2008!). I have been involved in mentoring trainees (both within and outside my subject) and have also worked as a UCAS adviser before progressing to second in department in 2019 and then, more recently, to head of department. As well as being a keen hockey player and enjoying teaching most sports, I have always particularly loved teaching examination PE across both vocational and academic courses. Our school, alongside other schools in the area, had subscribed to The EverLearner for a number of years and I had always been intrigued by the platform and what it had to offer our students (as well as me!). This massively benefited my teaching, as well as helping my students when using the videos, quizzing and checkpoints. We particularly enjoyed the ‘freehand drawings’ that James does in his videos. I’m definitely no artist, so trying to recreate some of James’ drawings on the classroom whiteboard was always a good talking point with my students!
When I saw the role at TEL advertised, I decided to take a leap and just go for it. I’ve always wondered what else I would do if I wasn’t a teacher, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to try and challenge myself in a different environment, whilst still working within education and being (more indirectly) involved with teaching and learning. It’s a cliché but teaching has always been what I wanted to do. So, it was a tough decision to make – but one that I’m so glad I made! The role seemed to involve lots of elements I’ve always really enjoyed in my teaching job and I wanted to explore this further. I’m not a ‘born’ risk-taker, so for me this was a huge step!
Application process: like any application, time-consuming (combined with teaching, family life and researching the role!) but also unlike any other application I’ve done. Aside from the obvious (non-teaching role), the recruitment pack was really detailed and gave lots of information as well as reassurance about my consideration to leave teaching, coming from a team of people who have made that step themselves.
Assessment: via Zoom, and weirdly enjoyable! I did encounter a few technical issues (maybe this was part of the process?!) but doing the assessment tasks really confirmed my interest in the role and I loved getting an insight into what the day-to-day tasks may look like.
Interview process: was tough! I was encouraged to be myself and be honest, and I remember finishing my interview (while rushing off to try and ‘enjoy’ the rest of my half-term with my children, not knowing the outcome) and feeling like I really, really wanted to get the job.
The first month has been an absolute whirlwind of information, getting to know the team and becoming involved in content creation. I have LOVED every aspect of it, while adjusting to a new routine and figuring out school drop-offs/pick-ups! It’s been brilliant to start getting an insight into James’s vision for PE and to work alongside the ‘PE guru’ himself (sorry James - but you are!).
I hope to continue getting stuck into all aspects of the platform and being involved in PE content, alongside picking up on all the business aspects that are completely new to me, fresh out of teaching! I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome from the whole team and I can’t wait to start supporting PE teachers and students in using TEL alongside James and Hannah. I’m also really excited about the development of TEL 2.0 and how much more it will bring to supporting PE courses in the UK and beyond.