ONCE a week during term-time the Principal of Kingsbridge College Tina Graham is joined at work by her four- year-old black labrador called Rocket.

When he was younger a friend used to look after him once a week.

She had a nephew with significant needs and when he spent time with Rocket the dog was particularly calming.

After consultation with students and parents this led to him becoming the college’s wellbeing dog.

He is based in Tina’s office one day a week.

Tina was born in north Devon and studied development studies with a heavy geography theme at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

She told us: ‘’I’ve always been interested in inequality and why some countries are rich and some countries are poor. How politics and international relations influence that globally.

‘’That enabled me to do a geography post graduate certificate in education and become a teacher.

‘’I qualified in Exeter because at that time I was able to do a second subject that was PE.

‘’I always thought I’d become a PE teacher and I have taught PE, particularly in the early part of my career, but actually I really loved geography so that’s the route I ended up going down.’’

Tina went on to explain her trajectory: ‘’I qualified as a teacher in 1996, worked in East Anglia for the first couple of years.

‘’In 1999 I came here as the assistant head of geography and over the last 24 have essentially done lots of different jobs including head of geography and then head of sixth form in 2006 and in 2015 the opportunity of a headship came up at a partner school, Dartmouth Academy.

‘’Three weeks in and Ofsted put the school into ‘special measures’ but everyone worked tremendously hard and two years later we received a ‘good’ rating and the college is flying.’’

Tina then returned to become Principal of KCC.

Tina’s three children, one in Year nine and twins in Year 8, all go to KCC and Tina explained how it is for them: ‘’Actually it’s just what happens and therefore it’s their normal.

‘’I’m sure that there are days when it’s more challenging.

‘’I’m sure when it’s my turn to do the assembly and they’re in the audience that might feel a bit awkward but they’re absolutely brilliant and seem to be unaffected.”

So what of the college’s values?: ‘’They are hung on the word SCHOLAR – s=successful, c=considerate, h=hard working, o=our best selves, l=leaders, a=aspirational and r=resilient.’’

‘’Every single member of the community can achieve these values.

Tina used to play the piano, got a black belt in kick boxing back in the day, played a lot of rugby and hopes to join the Kingsbridge women’s team.

What are the big challenges?

‘’Education is significantly underfunded and the challenge for us is to continue to raise standards and strive for excellence in everything that we do, against the backdrop of ever decreasing resources.

“We have to do our best with the resource that we have.’’