The head teacher of a Deeside school has swapped the classroom for the office to take on a two-year secondment with BP’s North Sea business to help co-ordinate the oil major’s extensive links with over 200 primary and secondary schools across the UK.
Paul Wilson, head teacher at Drumoak Primary for the past 10 years, is based at BP’s North Sea HQ in Aberdeen. In his role as BP education co-ordinator he will work to support employees who are involved in the BP Link Schools Programme. Predominantly responsible for 75 schools in Scotland, he also has a wider UK role helping to support BP’s education programme throughout Britain.
BP’s close long-term links with the education of children and young people goes back for four decades. The secondment programme has been running more than 20 years and continues through the support of local authorities in the area who understand the benefits to thousands of pupils of their ongoing involvement with the company.
Each of the Link schools works with a BP employee ambassador who liaises with teachers to devise and support a year-long educational programme for pupils. Paul’s role as overall co-ordinator of the link programme will be to work with the ambassadors to deliver a programme of activities.
A teacher for more than 30 years, Paul believes that working for the next two years in a completely different environment will give him the chance to see how the private sector works. “I have always taught,” he said. “Drumoak is a 90-pupil school so even as head teacher I have always been a teaching head. When this opportunity with BP came up, I was really keen to get involved. I see this as a refresher, something which will give me a fresh approach to my work, which puts me in a new environment where I am learning just as much as the pupils I deal with. It’s an opportunity for career development which I just wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
Paul’s years of experience as a head teacher has given him a level of organisational and managerial experience which will prove invaluable in running the programme. But he is already finding that you while you can take the teacher out of the school you can’t take the teaching – or the love of it – out of the teacher.
“We run day-long visits just about every week for the link schools and I have to say that’s a part of the job I really enjoy and look forward to the the opportunity to work with the children.”