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Celebrating 10 Years at R.E.A.L.

We’re celebrating those staff members who have worked at R.E.A.L. for 10 years or more. This month we’re focussing on Head Teacher, Nikki Purcell. Nikki has worked at R.E.A.L. for ten and a half years and is Head Teacher of the four R.E.A.L. Independent Schools. 

We asked Nikki to tell us what her typical day might look like: “I don’t think there is a typical day at the moment. Covid-19 has taken over. This means that I attend lots of meetings about Covid-19, ensuring the learners are safe and as happy as possible. I also try to do the same for staff and keep staff morale up at a tough time. 

“Much of my working day outside of this is taken up by working alongside the Heads of Area, our senior leaders, to continually improve our school and ensure that our learners are making the progress that is appropriate for their level and needs at that point in time. 

“I also try to get out to the different R.E.A.L. sites as often as I can, getting to know our learners and the tutors, as well as liaising with other school leaders.”

Nikki trained at Manchester Metropolitan University School of Education. After qualifying, Nikki spent three years teaching in inner-city mainstream schools and four years working in a residential special school for children with speech and communication difficulties, as an ICT and Key Stage 3 Coordinator. 

Prior to joining R.E.A.L., Nikki worked as a behaviour support advisory teacher within mainstream schools, as well as teaching KS3 maths or primary curriculum to the learners who were out of school in what was then Oakdale PRU, before later becoming Deputy Head of Centre at Oakdale PRU. 

Nikki joined R.E.A.L. in 2010 as a teacher and a learning manager. She progressed to become Head Teacher of R.E.A.L. Independent Schools, leading the team through two successful Ofsted inspections. In September 2020, Nikki gained the role of head teacher of the four R.E.A.L. Independent Schools.

Talking about what she enjoys most about working at R.E.A.L., Nikki said: “Every day is different.  It is never boring and our learners are amazing. Seeing them achieve new things and gain confidence is great and makes the job rewarding.  

“The curriculum offer at R.E.A.L. is outstanding and the way we support learners in their journey through education fits perfectly with my own personal morals and beliefs. It is the longest I have worked anywhere, which perhaps shows my commitment and dedication to the ethos R.E.A.L. stands for.”

R.E.A.L. offers a wide range of benefits for staff and is an amazing place to work. If you’d like to find out more about the work of our Independent Schools or are interested in joining our supportive and dynamic team, please contact us on 01158 220400 or email