Nigel Kain is the teacher you wish your own kids had.
Experienced from a career built in seven schools, articulate and able to teach across PE, outdoor ed, IT and science, Nigel is brim full of passion about ways to give students a better educational experience.
He was looking to move to the country in 2017, and after missing out on a job in Queensland he and his wife started looking closer to Melbourne. Around 18 months later, when the role of lead teacher and head of curriculum came up at Mansfield Secondary College, Nigel was ready to go – and the school was delighted to snag his services.
“In towns like Mansfield, schools are at the centre of creating community,” Nigel says.
“Mansfield Secondary has really strong values of respect, which you will see when you come into the school, but they are also adopted down at the pool and in other places in town. Schools play a really important role in knitting together a network of students and parents with teachers and together with team sports, are the lifeblood of the town.”
Nigel moved to Mansfield in 2019, choosing to rent a small farm 12 kilometres out of town. The drive to work takes less than 15 minutes, giving the family more time to spend together – and the wide open spaces have opened up a host of play options for their three children.
As a passionate educator, Nigel clearly wanted the best educational options for his kids; and had no hesitation in moving his own kids from Melbourne to the country.
“The teachers here are well-travelled, experienced and right on the ball. I can say after seven schools in the ACT, Victoria and the UK, education in country schools like Mansfield is every bit as good as you would get in a school anywhere else,” Nigel says.
“I talk to the teachers about specific students and their progress and straight away they can tell me how they are going in class, but also how they are going at home and what they do in their spare time. The teachers really take time to know the kids, and that’s what teenage kids really crave – they want a connection with their teachers and to know the teachers really care.
“High ATARs are important to get into university and that’s as important here as anywhere else, but we also have a really strong emphasis on a comprehensive approach to providing a positive education experience for students.
“I’m also struck by how respectful the kids are to each other and to me. They are pretty much always happy to talk and with the size of the grounds we have at the school, there’s always plenty of space for them at lunchtimes.”
“It’s hard to imagine us leaving Mansfield, it’s a beautiful place to be.”