Teacher Profile: Robert Bradley
Robert joined UTC Reading in January 2018 as Teacher of Maths and Computing, and has since also taken on the role of Professional Qualifications Coordinator.
Before joining the UTC, Robert worked for a traditional secondary school, as well as crime reduction charity, Nacro, educating disadvantaged young people.
Robert’s route into education came about following a period of volunteering. Robert says: “My dad forced me to help out and volunteer with a local play scheme. I found that not only did I really enjoy it, but that I was also really good at it. I started out on a teaching degree but then dropped out because I wanted to be a firefighter so instead joined the fire service! I later became injured and then went back into teaching. I’ve now been teaching for over twenty years.”
Robert first came to UTC Reading in a previous job as an Edexcel centre quality reviewer. Robert says, “After the tour of the UTC, my first question was, how do I get my son in here! He joined last September and then the teaching role came up and I thought yes, I have to do this. I loved the whole industry involvement and real-world work problems that we get to deal with here. It is almost as if now I have found my place. It really is.”
In September this year, after two terms at UTC Reading, Robert gained the Professional Qualifications Coordinator role, alongside teaching.
“I encourage my own son to do as many professional qualifications as he can. I figured it is what differentiates him from other candidates with GCSEs and A-levels. I assumed everyone did them because they are so freely available, and when I started, I got my own string of them and have been encouraging others to do the same”.
“There are so many qualifications on offer; there are the Microsoft Office specialist courses such as Word/Excel/PowerPoint, then within computing, there’s the Microsoft Technology Associate qualifications, which allow you to study cloud computing, security or programming in various languages, for example. On top of that, there are Adobe qualifications, such as Photoshop, In Design and Dreamweaver as well as Autodesk, CAD courses”.
“We are seeing more and more students taking these courses. Last week we got our 205th qualification since September! The previous record for the school in an academic year was 204, so it is incredible. We want to reach 1,000 qualifications taken for the year.”
“Quite honestly, students from traditional secondaries just don’t have a chance when it comes to competing with our students.”
Talking about his proudest moments at UTC Reading so far, Robert said, “I have so many, already. Sitting in on a conference call between my Year 12 students and the Salesforce Accessibility team who skyped in from California to speak to them about how they created their app…that made me realise what amazing things we can offer to these students.”
“Also, going to Microsoft and watching our students being given qualifications and hearing the Microsoft team say ‘wow, you’ve got all of these qualifications, and you’re how old?’ Your proudest moments are when you see your students achieve. Even on GCSE results day, witnessing students achieve more than they ever thought they could. It’s really special.”
Summing up his time at the UTC, Robert said, “It’s just incredible. Teaching is the same everywhere you go; every day is something different, but here every day is something amazing. The staff here are truly passionate about their subject area and that rubs off on our students.”