Dianne Whippey

PA to the Principal, The Hathaway Academy

I have worked at Hathaway Academy 36 years this year! I have met so many inspirational people and learnt so much from many.  I have worked many roles and hope I have inspired other people/pupils.  I have been encouraged to lead assemblies, be a form tutor and mentor which has been amazing. 

I moved to Essex as a child and we stayed with my grandparents until we could get a house which meant I saw a lot of my Aunt Carole.  She was a secretary who worked in London. Every night I would take the hair pins out of her French pleat and I would listen to what she had done that day.  This inspired me to be a secretary. 

During my last year at school during a careers interview, I was told I would be ideal to work with the Ministry of Defence.  After three formal interviews I was offered a job.   But it wasn’t until my first day there during an induction session where an elderly gentleman was telling us about being in Colditz. I was told I had actually been recruited as a Crown Servant, would be working for MI5 and needed to sign the Official Secrets Act.  With all that he went through this gentleman inspired me to believe I could do the job. 

I have managed to raise two children whilst working and, although there have been struggles along the way, I have worked with so many inspirational people who have kept me going.  Recently my niece’s daughter started at another secondary school and met a new Science teacher who said she had previously worked at Hathaway.  She asked her if she knew me and the teacher said “yes, she is lovely”.  If that is how I will be remembered, I’m happy.