Island pupils thrive with PE classes on the beach

Imagine working as a teacher and being able to do physical education classes on an unspoilt beach instead of a school gym?

Well, for Jonathan Pye, the principal teacher at Small Isles Primary on Jura, this is a reality.

Jonathan started out his teaching career in Burnley, before moving to Jura in April this year to take up the principal teacher post.

“I love Scotland.” He said, “I’m not Scottish but, growing up, whenever I reached the border I always felt I was coming home.

“My parents have been bringing me to Scottish islands ever since I was born. When I saw the Jura vacancy advertised the prospect of teaching in a small island community, where the school is an integral part of life, was one that appealed to be greatly. As a teacher, you should feel like you’re serving your community. Jura is a beautiful island with stunning scenery and friendly people. I have been made to feel so welcome here and I consider myself very fortunate to be here.”

Jonathan’s interest in teaching started when he took part in a work experience programme at school. He said: “I loved it so much and from that moment on I knew that teaching was what I wanted to do.”

With 18 pupils on Jura’s school roll, including two pre-5s, island life is significantly different to that of more urban areas, but Jonathan believes this is one of the things that make his job so special. “Being all together in one classroom, the children care for each other and look after one another. They are very much a mini-community themselves,” he said.

“I passionately believe that teachers everywhere should have a good work/life balance and I definitely have that here on Jura. I love living here. I mean, where else would you see otters, dolphins or the occasional hen harrier on your morning commute?”

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