Life lessons: This much I know (CHS Staff)


Mrs Lisa Barfoot

Classics Teacher & Oxbridge Application Coordinator

lisa barfoot

I am an Old Waconian.

I left in 1988.  I came to CHS on an Assisted Place and had a great time here.   Mr Westbrook was one of my teachers!

I was a lawyer for ten years. 

I worked in Intellectual Property Law in London and Manchester.  It’s a complicated area of law but I found it to be the most interesting.

There’s nothing I really regret from my younger days. 

Apart from my haircut.  One of my Form photos was featured as a Throwback Thursday on the Old Waconian Facebook page.  I’ll never live it down.

lisa barfoot class of

I spent a year teaching in Paris.

That was my first taste of the job.  After that, teaching was always something which I thought I would go into at some stage.

A chance encounter with a former classmate inspired me to come back and work at CHS.

Our Swimming Coach, Mrs Sarah Davies was in my year.  I bumped in to her whilst on maternity leave and she suggested I should go for it.

I play netball once a week.

I also help coach the Year 7s.  I enjoying going for a run too.  That’s how I clear my head; any pent-up irritation disappears when I’m out on a run.

When I was very little I wanted to be a dancer. 

I wanted to be in Legs & Co. and appear on Top of the Pops!

I was once sacked from Top Shop. 

I wasn’t very good at disguising my boredom and was deemed ‘unsuited for shop work’.

A sense of humour is a very important thing.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Life’s too short.

I love time with my family. 

Having children is hard work but it completely changes the way you view the world.

I do cry in films.

I’m a sucker for a tear-jerker!

Mrs Debbie Woodcock

First Aid Manager


I’d describe myself as empathic, supportive, caring and approachable.  They are important qualities in my role.  It’s important to be able to remain calm too.

As soon as I walked through the doors at CHS, I knew I wanted to work here.  I immediately sensed the community feeling of the place.  This has never disappeared in the ten years I’ve been here.  I enjoy coming to work every day.

My time at CHS has made me confident and adaptable.  I am responsible for addressing the changing needs of the students and enhancing their experience.  I’m never failed to be amazed at their resilience and ability to overcome challenges.

Always strive to do your best.  If you are passionate about achieving your goal, never give up.  As my Dad always said, “There’s no such word as ‘can’t’.”  I like Richard Branson’s quote too: “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.”

I love a challenge.  In March 2015 I completed the Monaco Riviera Classic, a 15 mile run from Italy, through France and into Monaco, over two large hills.  Next on my tick-list is to take part in a triathlon.

I’m always moved to watch students’ progression through the School.  I work with students from Reception to the Upper Sixth and love to see how they develop and mature. It brings a smile to my face and a tear to my eye at graduation as I reflect on their individual journeys.

Public speaking makes me very nervous.  I can’t bear it!  I have had to do presentations for parents but I’d much rather be the one clicking the PowerPoint.

I really admire David Attenborough.  I love his ongoing drive and enthusiasm, his passion for engaging the younger generation about the preservation of wildlife, and that he’s still making documentaries at 89!

Live for the moment.  Appreciate your time as a teenager and don’t try to grow up too quickly.

Mr Ian Hardy

Junior School Teacher

JL picture 64

I was in the Civil Service before becoming a teacher.  I had several policy jobs and ran Ministerial Private Offices, working on a range of areas – from the Fire Service to community cohesion.  My last role also involved working with the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit.

I’ve had an array of other jobs in my life.  I’ve worked for Toys R Us, packaged airline meals, sold sunhats at an Ashes Test match and worked at Little Chef, where  I was promoted to ‘Chef’ after being such a bad waiter; I spent too much time chatting to the customers!

Having children has made me more responsible.  It changes everything about you – your outlook on life.  There’s someone else in the world you’re doing everything for.

I would love one day to have a lie-in.  It hardly ever happens now.  I enjoy playing football too and have just started running (although I find that more painful than relaxing)!

Do something you’re passionate about.  My friend threw his job in to go away and make a film about sharks.  I love seeing people happy and having a go at something they really want to do.

After ten years, I was ready to leave the Civil Service.  I had stopped enjoying it and wanted to move back up North.  After work experience in a primary school and a year as a Teaching Assistant, I did my teacher training and eventually came to CHS for my NQT year.

You are always surprised in this job.  You think you know someone and then you learn something new about them.  As a teacher, it’s important not to have preconceived ideas about the children or the people we work with.

What would I say to my 15 year-old self?  ‘The curtains hair-cut needs to go!’

There’s a big wide world out there.  It’s filled with many people of different views, opinions and beliefs.  We’re just a small part of it.