Cara Mclaughlin shares her thoughts of what it is like to study and teach at Windsor.What do you teach and what is your role in school?I teach Dance and Health and Social Care and am currently Faculty Director of Technology and Arts.How long have you worked at Windsor?I have worked at Windsor for 11 years: from September 2004 to present day.When were you a student at Windsor?I was a student at Windsor from 1985 to 1991.What is your most lasting memory of your time at Windsor as a student?I have a few – performing in Bugsy Malone (especially the shaving foam pies!), dancing in the Dance productions (especially the Edinburgh Fringe Festival) and activities week Canal Boat trip.What was your favourite subject at school and how did it impact upon you?Dance of course! It inspired me to go on to become a dancer and then to become a dance teacher.How did Windsor prepare you for the path you took after leaving?Having some fantastic teachers helped me get the grades to go on to college and university. I helped run the tuck shop which gave me responsibility and confidence in myself and also my role as a prefect helped to develop my interpersonal skills.Which of your teachers at Windsor was most influential for you and why?Cathy Holland was most influential as she too loved dance and inspired us in dance. She was also keen to help bring in Windsor’s first GCSE Dance course which we then did as an after school GCSE as it had never been done before. Due to our high results the next year it was put on normal timetable.Senior Dance Team 1991. Cathy Holland (back centre). Cara Webb (back right)What advice would you give your 18 year old self now?Perhaps it would be to knuckle down a little more than I did!What is your favourite quote?‘Hard work beats talent when talent isn’t prepared to work hard’Have you been on any school trips (as a student or teacher) that have special memories for you? As a student, the canal boat trip was good fun. We had a good group and the teachers were quite relaxed.
Since being a teacher I have taken 3 lots of students to America and had some fantastic experiences with them performing and teaching dance in Arts Magnet schools.
Another special memory is from 2012 when I travelled with Melissa Hill, a Windsor student, to Sadlers Wells Theatre in London to meet with Matthew Bourne. Melissa had won a competition to choreograph a curtain raiser for Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
One of my proudest moments was when 42 students performed at the National School Games opening ceremony in Manchester in September last year. They truly displayed that Windsor students are talented, committed and extremely hardworking.Have you run any clubs at school over the years?Yes when I started at Windsor I used to do 11 clubs a week by myself in a range of dance styles now I run 3 clubs a week.How has the school evolved over the years, what for you, has been the most significant change?The building has changed dramatically and I think the biggest change has been the introduction of the sixth form. The introduction of the sixth form is also the biggest change in my teaching role and is the best part of my job!
Also the fact we have a beautiful dance studio makes it feel like I am teaching in a different school to where I came as a student.Are you in touch with any Windsor alumni (students or staff)?Yes I am in touch with several students (friends) from my year at school and in fact the years above and below me at school. If you had to sum up Windsor in one word, what would it be?Inspiring!