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Nik Noton Interview


Nik Noton our Fantastic Teacher of the Month

Nik, the head of SEND students and a dedicated science teacher at Chiswick School, is not your ordinary educator. His passion for both teaching and environmental stewardship has made him a standout figure in our community. With a background in human anatomy and forensic sciences, Nik brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to his role, and his impact extends far beyond the classroom. 

From nurturing bountiful allotments to helping us collaborate with the charity Wild Chiswick, Nik's dedication to sustainability and hands-on learning experiences has left an indelible mark on both students and colleagues. We were fortunate enough to conduct an interview with Nik about the past year working with us at TimeGivers and what that has given to the children.

Interview with Nik Noton 

Kate Deighton: Nick, it's lovely to see you. It's lovely to speak to you. It's so lovely. What do you think about what TimeGivers has put on in the school? Like, what kind of things come up to you when you think TimeGivers? 

Nik Noton: Yeah, honestly, like, your involvement, with the allotment has been astounding.

It's taken so much work out of my hands and it's just given us, like, that little bit extra. To, like, give the kids more as well from the allotment. Because we were struggling for a while to kind of keep it going. And then, you know, you guys came along and it was just so nice to have extra hands, extra ideas coming in and just extra people on the ground to help the kids get out of it what they wanted to get out of it.


Kate Deighton: Amazing. And what do you think they have got out of it?

Nik Noton: I think that they've got, like, a lot of social, like, emotional, like, communication. I think they've definitely, like, got better, like, gross and fine motor skills out of it, and they've learned things as well. And they've developed long lasting friendships. You can see some of the kids now, they'll hang around on the playground with each other, whereas they might not have. form those friendships before and there's like inter kind of year friendships for those year nines who were, you know, kind of supporting the new year seven kids now and then the year eights who have returned then supporting them as well.

So this is just generational kind of friendships going throughout the school and it kind of gives them that sense of oneness as well where they have peers who may be dealing with the same kind of stresses that they're dealing with in life. So it gives them a place to feel validated and feel like open. They can just be themselves without kind of conform to what somebody expects in the classroom. 

Kate Deighton: And what kind of activities have you done with TimeGivers? 

Nik Noton: So we're revamping the allotment. So we've stripped it all back and we've planted things in. With your help, we've organized with another charity, Wild Chiswick as well to get involved in the photography competition at Chiswick House and Gardens.

The children were able to submit their photographs for that. They didn't win anything, but there was that fantastic opportunity for them to have their work displayed. As a, you know, out on Chiswick High Road and for, like, the general public to see. And we're getting those back as well to display in schools so they'll have a sense of pride there as well.

Kate Deighton: Why do you think volunteering is important for these kids to do other things apart from in school? Like, out in the community, why do you think it's important? 

Nik Noton: I think it just shows them that there's more to life than just being in a classroom and learning. Oh, I have to do science, I have to do maths, I have to do English, and they feel forced into doing things that they may not really kind of want to do or really enjoy and it just gives them an alternative space to just blow off steam and then give it back to the community as well.

So the flowers that we can grow in spring we can give them to their parents, we can give them to Mrs. Eleanor, the headteacher, you know, as a token of appreciation. So there's that giving back. 

Kate Deighton: Or even into the community. Into the people's home.

Nik Noton: Absolutely. Yeah. Into the community as well. And it just gives them a sense, I think, of belonging to a community as well.

Kate Deighton: Does it make you feel like you belong? 

Nik Noton: Absolutely. I'm really proud of what I've done. Yeah. Like, taking it on four years ago, and building it up to where it is now, it's definitely been really, really tough, but it's so rewarding to see the progress that the kids make. Amazing. As well, like, throughout the years that they're there.

Kate Deighton: Amazing, Nick. How do you think these skills will impact them in their future? 

Nik Noton: I think that it will give them a wider understanding of how the world works. it Will definitely help them develop some social communication skills when they're out of school as well.

You know, saying yes, saying no to things, being able to communicate their needs and their wants more clearly. Rather than feeling like they're not listened to. 

Kate Deighton: Thank you.

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