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Josie Mardon (Education, 1972)

Thanks to the skilful interviewing of David King, who must have seen something worthwhile in me, I was allotted a place at St. Luke’s. The Art Department was a vibrant centre with brilliant Tutors lead by Derek Lawrence.

I started my teaching career at the Royal School for the Deaf in Exeter, where later, I completed my Teacher of the Deaf Diploma.  I taught Primary and Secondary Deaf and Deaf Blind pupils and some Further Education students. Eventually I became the Co-Ordinator for Art and Design.

My first classes included all subjects, including swimming, so it was just as well that Martin Underwood had taught me to swim during my first year at Luke’s.

After a few years, I was allowed to specialise and then taught Art, Design and Technology, with a little Geography and Religion when the timetable permitted.

From 1975 to 2006 all my pupils took Art exams, CSE or GCSE and I am proud to say that not one failed an exam. Over the years we achieved many successes including Artworks, met Nicholas Serota, who presented the prizes (several thousand pounds), a nomination for an Academy Award for making a film and then came second in an Art competition for schools all over Brittany.

I designed a Sensory Garden for the school, it was opened by Princess Anne. Another occasion was explaining the Art exhibition of exam works to the Duke and Duchess of Wessex.

After 36 years at the school, 34 of which were full time teaching I retired and my days are filled now with the Exeter Twinning Circle and our links with Rennes, Bad Homburg and Terracina.

My time in college was a joy, I was taught well, met very interesting people, including having Ruskin Spear R.A. as my External Examiner.

Graduation was not quite as I had imagined, my certificates were posted to me as was my later Deaf Teaching qualification, so no cap and flying gown or celebration. At the end of my last morning at St Luke’s, I went to a café with Joan Werrett, a fellow student, who became Head of Anstey Primary School.

Maybe the intake of fifty years ago did quite well. Teaching is the best career in the world.