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Our latest team member loves teaching, cooking chutney and hunting dragons

Posted on October 20th, 2016

Mum-of-two, Claire Anjos, has joined Flying Start Tuition as Director of Teaching and Learning – a role that will entail a mix of tutoring, management and public relations.

Having worked as a retail manager and corporate trainer for international companies, Claire has always been involved in education in one way or the other. She has also been a class teacher, supply teacher and private tutor for children from pre-school to Year11.

Her new role will entail teaching the Year5 11+ and Year4 Get Ready for 11+ courses, as well as writing and teaching the course for the Year5/Year6 Enrichment programme which is curriculum focused. On the management side, she’s responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the Flying Start centres, particularly Chesham, and supporting all the staff across all sites.

“Fortunately there’s a really strong team of experienced people at Flying Start,” says Claire.

Claire’s take on the world:

What is your take on the latest grammar school debate?

I have one child in Year8 at a grammar school and the highly academic environment really suits him and he’s flourishing. I have another child in Year6 who sat his 11+ the other week and it was painful for me as a mum to see him worry so much and not sleep well. We’ve been discussing whether a grammar school is the right type of school for him if he does pass and a main concern is that he doesn’t think of himself as a failure if he doesn’t pass. The schools in Buckinghamshire are fantastic and for both of my boys it will come down to the effort they put in and the support they get on the way regardless of which school they attend.

What do you think are the major challenges for education in UK at the moment?

Funding is a major challenge everywhere at the moment but especially so for Buckinghamshire schools that are amongst the worst funded schools in the country. Schools here have to juggle what curriculum they cover and enrichment opportunities they can offer against cost. On top of that, high living costs make it difficult for the schools to recruit all the teaching staff they need.
Schools are becoming more and more reliant on the support of parents and having an excellent PTA fund raising for them.

Why do we need tutors?

With the best will in the world, teachers cannot address the individual needs of all the pupils in their class. Some children respond better to learning in smaller groups, some children need that extra support to reinforce learning or catch up in certain areas and some children have needs that our current education system cannot always provide for in the best way.
As a private tutor I came across children who responded really well to more individualised tuition as well as parents who, though more than capable of supporting their child’s education, didn’t want the battle of wills every time homework was mentioned. 

Why did you choose Flying Start Tuition?

I decided to accept the position partly based on Flying Start Tuition’s philosophy. We take a holistic approach to children’s education by not only teaching them what they need to know, but also other techniques they can use in any area of their lives. I started using Neuro Linguistic Programming personally some years ago and it’s great to see some of these techniques being used to enhance the lives of our pupils.
I was also impressed that only qualified professional teachers are employed as tutors and the team as a whole have a wealth of teaching experience.
Flying Start also gives back to the community with their ongoing sponsorship of The Theatre Shed and events like Christmas in Chesham.
Finally, I became aware of a parent tactfully being advised their child was having too much tuition and would benefit from a break. The interests of the child were put before the business and that too made me feel that Flying Start would be the place for me.

What do you do when you’re not working?

My pupils at Flying Start are already aware of my passion for food and I enjoy cooking, creating new dishes, making jams and chutneys as well as dining out. I grow some of my own food and am planning a new herb bed in my garden, having moved back to Chesham a year ago.
I’m a complete bibliophile and read every day. My book collection is very eclectic and I am proud to have some first editions of H.G.Wells’ novels as well as a complete set of the books of the bible and Talmud that are over 150 years old.
I love to spend time with my family whether that is sat at home on a Sunday afternoon with a bowl of popcorn and a movie or being out and about exploring nature, museums and leisure activities near and afar.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you 

I’m open to a challenge and usually looking for new experiences. I recently joined my boys in gaining our Grade 1 ice-skating certificate. Most people don’t know I used to suffer badly with claustrophobia and was more concerned at being squashed in the plane when I did my parachute jumps than doing the jumps themselves. Everyone else was delighted when I volunteered to jump first!
I also like to hunt dragons and have quite a collection of artefacts and photographs of dragons from my worldly travels.