BA (Hons) University of Swansea; PGCE Reading University
Mark Olejnik has been teaching history for more years than he cares to remember but still regards this as the best part of his job. After achieving a first in History and Ancient History from the University of Wales, he undertook 3 years doctoral research into late Roman Britain whilst teaching Ancient History to first year undergraduates. A PGCE at Reading followed with a first post in a state Sixth Form College in Harrow. Mark was then successively Head of History, Deputy Head and Principal of Bury Lawn School in Milton Keynes before landing his dream job at d’Overbroecks. His love of the ancient world is legendary and he may still sometimes be found engaging in experimental archaeology when he has the time.
What's the best thing about working at Leckford Place? Being part of a school whose students and staff are such a pleasure to be with that I enjoy every day of my working life.
What are the most important qualities for a teacher? Humour, patience, approachability. A passion for your subject and for the educational process. You need to be dedicated to the welfare and success of your students, and to want to make a difference to their lives.
What's special about Leckford Place? The fact that we're small, unstuffy, with a family feel and the ability genuinely to tailor education to the needs of each and every individual.
Any stories that sum up the spirit of Leckford Place? A Year 11 student told me that he knew Leckford Place was right for him because – within minutes of arriving on his first day – a student he didn't know walked up to him, shook his hand and said, 'Welcome to Leckford Place.' He told me this would never have happened at his previous school – and went on to say that, for the very first time in his life, he felt accepted as the person he was, and that this change 'benefitted him beyond belief'.
And what should a school be – in three words? Small. Coeducational. Individual.