A Derry school teacher has taken up a new role at one of France’s most historic Catholic boarding schools.
Welsh native Gareth Usher - who taught at Strabane Convent grammar, Templemore Secondary School and Faughan Valley High School and who was a central figure in the specialised AESOP Project - takes up his new role as Head of Science at Chavagnes International College in September.
Gareth says the school’s ethos and its strong sense of history attracted him to his new position.
“There’s an amazing sense of family and of caring at the school,” he says.
“It is this sense of care and moral leadership that appeals to me. For too long education has become about numbers and grades.”
Located in the Vendee region of the Pays de Loire, the school has a long and proud tradition of Catholic education dating back to its foundation in 1802.
In 2002, the school was relaunched as an International College by Englishman Ferdi McDermott but the strong connection to traditional Christian values and to the history of the Vendee remain.
Each school house is named after a General of the Vendéen Catholic uprising at the end of the nineteenth century : Charette, Cathelineau, Rochejacquelein and Suzannet.
The 50 pupils - coming from the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, USA, Venezuela and Australia - who will start classes in September will study for GCSE’s and A Levels.
Gareth says the small student numbers are part of the appeal of Chavagnes.
“Each student is truly treated as an individual, and their needs are met as individual needs.
“Because we are small we can be very flexible, and this allows us to meet needs that other schools tend to ignore in this modern era.
“The school aims to produce young men who show leadership in all aspects of their life, and are gentlemen who display chivalry.”
Gareth, wife Christine, daughter in law Amanda and husband Michael, and granddaughter Tori will move to France from Cyprus where Gareth had been Head of Science at The American Private School of Paphos.