Long-standing Daventry District secondary school teacher celebrates milestone anniversary

John Ditchburn, 58, arrived at Guilsborough Academy as a newly qualified teacher 35 years ago.
John Ditchburn, 58, arrived at Guilsborough Academy as a newly qualified teacher 35 years ago.

A Geography teacher at a secondary school in the Daventry District is celebrating 35 years of teaching at the school.

John Ditchburn arrived at Guilsborough Academy as a newly qualified teacher at the age of 23. Although he started as a Geography teacher and still teaches that subject today, he also taught PE and Religious Studies and has been head of Geography and head of Sixth Form during his time at Guilsborough.

As well as teaching different subjects over the years, John has also seen some major changes to the teaching profession in his career.

“Teaching is in a constant state of change,” said John. “When I started at Guilsborough, the cane was just being phased out and every classroom had rotational blackboards we wrote on in chalk. Overhead projectors using acetates and coloured pens were the main way to get ideas across to the class. Printed materials were reproduced in the printing room using a Banda machine that produced poor quality, carbon-like copies.

“It wasn’t until eight years after I started teaching that computers appeared in school and not until the mid 1990s that teachers began to have laptops. Information had to be accessed through libraries. Google didn’t exist and mobile phones were not invented.

"Overall, I believe the quality of teaching and learning has improved over the years. The multimedia, audio-visual approach we use now provides the kind of stimulating environment for learning that we could only have dreamed of 35 years ago.”

John also met his wife Lucy, a Spanish teacher, at Guilsborough Academy in 1990 and the couple went on to have two children together – Marcos and Christina.

Out of school John involves himself in youth work, is a chair of trustees for Samuels Nursery in Northampton and is an active a member of Broadmead Baptist Church.

Julie Swales, principal at Guilsborough Academy, said of John’s milestone: “John has been - and continues to be - an integral part of the team. We are so pleased that he has chosen to devote his career to Guilsborough and has shaped many young lives in his time here at the school.”

John added: “I have worked with some wonderful colleagues over the years and leading the Sixth Form for nine years was a real privilege.

"Workplace relationships are very important to me and Guilsborough students are clever, engaging and great fun to work with.

"I have learned a lot along the way but I have always strived to be better both as a person and a teacher. Guilsborough has been a wonderful place to teach and I hope I have been able to inspire one or two students along the way.”

Guilsborough Academy is situated in the village of Guilsborough, Northamptonshire.