Spotlight On: Mathew Irving

Posted August 4, 2020 in Interviews & Spotlights, Opinion, Parenting Tips & Advice, Teacher Spotlights By Lachlan Fitzgerald

Mr Mathew Irving is the Deputy Head (Academics and Strategy) at Wesley College. A keen traveller by nature, Mathew has worked in schools both within Australia and globally.


What do you do for your own mental health?

‘Hugs-and-Kisses’ with my children are absolutely critical for my mental health. We’re only just coming to get to know WA, and we have taken the camper-van to Emu Point in Albany a few times. I grew up fishing rivers and freshwater lakes in the Snowy Mountains, so fishing (particularly kayak-fishing), is something I get to do down there to relax.


What is one piece of advice you would give to your past ‘Year 12’ self?

Being involved in the mentor system at Wesley has proven to me how important mentors are to young people, so I’d definitely find-a-mentor. Someone who you can bounce ideas off, and help you to find your passion would’ve been invaluable.


Tell us about some of your career highlights prior to starting at Wesley?

One of my favourite moments was teaching in my first role in a small government primary school. My passion is music, and I learned a lot from teaching music across a spectrum of developmental stages. I still think that working in a primary school setting is the best learning environment for a new teacher. More recently, I’ve worked in roles as Director of Studies, and Director of Music in Australian and UK schools. I’ve set-up professional networking associations for teachers, and also worked for the Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority to help develop the Australian Curriculum.


At Wesley, my role continues to be an evolving one; from developing strategy, projects, coaching, and improving the quality of the learning experience for students. It’ll be interesting to see what it’ll look like in 12 months time…


From a strategy perspective, what is one characteristic of a Wesley education that makes it unique?

At Wesley, it’s in our DNA to be different, innovative, and inclusive. Our Katitjin, Long-Term Athletic Development (LTAD), Moorditj Mob, and academic support programs distinguish Wesley as a unique school with clear points of difference. Putting academic aside, foundational to a Wesley education is the development of meaningful relationships between teachers and students, while also celebrating the diversity of our community. I’m proud to work at Wesley College; a place focused on continuous improvement, and collegial relationships with the people that I work with.


What are two aspect of leadership which you try to teach to students and teachers?


1. Knowing your why

On a personal level, if the task has a level of challenge, and allows me to work collaboratively and creatively with others. I’m there. ‘Knowing your why’ is crucial in understanding your purpose, ambition, and career pathway.


2. Having a desire to grow

The best synergy of ideas and solutions only happen when we work with a diverse range of people. Looking to learn from others around you, and reflect on feedback is critical to leadership success.





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