School's out for Neville Sevicke-Jones

By Ilona Hanne

It's more than the end of a school year for Neville Sevicke-Jones, it's the end of an era.

After 25 years as a teacher at Inglewood Primary School, Neville has decided to move on and will, among other things, explore opportunities in China or Japan.

Principal Karen Patterson describes Neville as an appreciated and respected member of staff, known for "his long pants and his ties for every occasion". This penchant for ties led to other staff wearing specially made ties last Friday for the school's Service Award ceremony where Neville's many years of service were formally recognised. Several students shared their memories of their teacher. "If it wasn't for Mr Jones teaching me maths, I wouldn't be so good at it today," said Monique Smith, while Charlotte Angus-Gott remembered his "great sense of humour", adding that "he jokes around".

Karen also spoke of Neville's talents in linguistics. Neville has a degree in Russian and can also "converse comfortably" in German and French, and make himself understood in Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish and Mandarin. His daughter Heather, who works in Japan, has banned him from learning Japanese, claiming it as "her language".

Neville has seen many changes in his 25 years at Inglewood Primary School - in the building, which he has seen grow, and in education. Now teaching the children of children he previously taught, he has seen changes for both better and worse. Among the positive changes, Neville cites a greater emphasis on giving students the tools to find out what they need to know and thereby creating independent learners. Adding there are "some terrific kids in intermediate right now", he recognises students are becoming better at monitoring and motivating themselves. Other areas of positive growth, says Neville, are pastoral care, better communication with families, behaviour management and an overall unified approach.

On the negative side, however, he says there has been a sharp increase in the degree to which schools have to take on roles that really belong to parents.

Asked if he will miss the daily routine of the classroom, Neville says there is "only so much gardening you can do" and admits he will miss the "sheer busyness and pace" of what he describes as a very demanding job, physically and mentally because "you are on the go all the time".

- Stratford Press

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