"Progress in teaching is simply limited by you"

Untitled-design Lloyd O'Neil, head of science at Admiral Lord Nelson School

Teachers don't stop learning when they qualify - there are opportunities for teachers to continue their professional development from trainees through to senior leadership roles.  

The Department for Education has recently published their Early Career Framework which sets out professional development training and support for early career teachers.

In light of this, we spoke with Portsmouth teacher, Lloyd O'Neil, who told us about his progression from qualifying to taking on the role of head of science at Admiral Lord Nelson School. 

Where did you start your teaching career?

I started my teaching career at Portchester School as a learning support assistant for less than a year to get some experience. It was interesting to see different levels of school life.

Could you talk about career progression?

When you come into the profession, the school will prepare a plan for you, your targets and give you a mentor for the year ahead. They will support you through that. As you progress through teaching, you'll be able to choose what route you want, whether academic or pastoral. Progress in teaching is simply limited by you.  

What opportunities are there for personal development? 

There are huge opportunities for personal development in teaching - it broadens your horizons; especially on foreign trips. I went to Tanzania with colleagues and students, we climbed Kilimanjaro, we camped, we slept with Masai, and I've been to Gambia and other places and seen the world thanks to teaching.  

How did you progress to head of department? 

When I got the role of second in science, I was told by my previous head of science that she was going on maternity leave. I've had to increase my skills by learning quickly. I've really had to draw on the experience of my colleagues and massive thanks to them for that. Without it, I don't think I would have been able to do it.  

What made you decide to become a head of department?

I suppose it should be why I stayed head of department. I had an epiphany. I wanted to help humans and I wanted to help kids. That's what I'm all about. Being head of department enables me to do that and more.  

What's it like living and working in Portsmouth? 

Having grown up in Portsmouth, I'm familiar with the area. I run a lot and love spending time near the sea. I go down to the beach for a BBQ on Fridays in the summer. I don't think there are many places like Portsmouth.

And finally, would you mind summarising why teaching is so rewarding?

By becoming a teacher, you are helping everyone not just the kids. You are helping their parents and the entire community.  

Inspired by Lloyd's story?

If you are interested in finding out more about career progression in teaching, visit the continuing career progression section. You can learn about development programmes in Portsmouth for all staff at all stages of their career.  

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