A day in the life of Henshaws Specialist College Receptionist

Meet Craig. In this blog he gives the inside scoop on a day in the life of a busy College receptionist. Read more to find out what it's like to be right at the heart of Henshaws Specialist College and why he enjoys his job

Craig college receptionist


Hello everyone, I’m Craig, and if you have called Henshaws in the past year there is every chance you will have spoken to me on the main College Reception desk. I have been with Henshaws since last May. I offer support to a wide variety of individuals, both on the College campus and externally. Previously I’ve worked in boarding schools, supporting students in the houses. I’ve also worked in school as a teaching assistant, exam invigilator, cover teacher, minibus driver, you name it! The Henshaws environment is vastly different again, and one that I find fascinating to work in.

The Face of Henshaws Specialist College

There are two phrases that are applied to me with regularity as I go about my work on the front desk. The first, and most important one in terms of my role, is ‘The Face of Henshaws’. Everyone that comes through the front doors of the College will see me first, whether they are staff, students, parents, interviewees, external contractors, healthcare professionals, and the list goes on! Therefore even before I do anything that’s in my job description, I need to make sure I have that pleasant, professional manner that is so vital to giving off a good first impression.

The second phrase is ‘The Oracle’. While I’m not a fan of the term, it is true that the Receptionist needs to know as much as possible about all aspects of Henshaws, and not just the College.

Welcoming staff, students and visitors

I really do enjoy the job for its variety, and I can think of no better example than to describe one morning back in December. When 9 o’clock hits,  taxi after taxi arrives bringing our wonderful students to the College. I need to register as many as I see as present for the College day on the system. All the while taking  phone calls from transport running late, or parents saying they have arrived and their son or daughter is ready to be collected by our support staff.

By 9.30 our students should have arrived, but next are five family groups who are here for an Open Day. I get them all signed in, and as they wait to be collected, a lady buzzes the front door who has arrived for an interview. I will get all of her identification sent off to our HR department, but while that is happening the front door buzzes again as some deliveries arrive to be signed for. Nothing too strenuous but your multitasking skills need to be on form and ready for it all to happen at once!

First aid kits, taxis and chocolate tasting

Usually things are a little bit more sedate than that, which allows me to keep on top of the usual admin tasks that need to be done each day. Signing out equipment and keys, giving out first aid kits to off campus groups, franking the days post to go out, as well as being able to assist with any staff that come to the desk asking for help. This could involve anything from purchasing a lunch from our canteen, to asking if I could book a taxi for a student to go off site.

That is one of many ways I indirectly support our students. The enablers and teaching staff that work with the students do a fabulous job to help the students go beyond expectations. I will always try to support them to do that in any way I can. A lot of the students will come to the front desk and be encouraged to ask me for help, as a way of developing their independence (these requests are always better if they need a taste tester for chocolate covered items they have been baking in cooking sessions!).

A day in the life of our college receptionist

It’s all about the people

I have already said that I love working as the Receptionist at Henshaws Specialist College for the variety in the job role, and you do have to be ready for anything to come your way. However it isn’t the number one reason why I love the job, and in particular Henshaws. That is quite simply, the people. The staff here make Henshaws what it is, and I like to think I get on well with every single one of them!

Working together

The college facilities, services and provision are brilliant. But in the end, the main thing that makes Henshaws College great is that all the staff are pulling in the same direction for the benefit of the students. If they get the best outcomes from our students, they go home happy and ready to do it all again the following day. Yes it isn’t always easy. The challenges our staff face can be huge, but they are always overcome to ensure students’ needs are met.

That is the honest opinion of someone who is witnessing it all happen first hand from the front desk. I hope you have enjoyed reading something that is not related to the current Coronavirus pandemic, (I have immediately undone all my good work by promising to myself that I wouldn’t mention it in this blog!) and I look forward to answering your calls and queries in the near future!

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