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About Me

Hi, I’m Toby!  Welcome to my website.  I am a Trainee Dispensing Optician with Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care, and a graduate of the University of St Mark and St John in Plymouth.  In my spare time, I enjoy playing the viola as a member of the Westbourne Orchestral Society and helping out at the 28th Bournemouth Scout Group.

Work Experience


Since August 2020, I have been a Trainee Dispensing Optician at Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care.  I work between Leightons' practices in Poole and Southampton, and thoroughly enjoy what I do.  When I'm not helping a patient choose some wonderful new glasses, I will be building or repairing glasses – often bemused at how mangled they are – or persistently reorganising the frames on display!  When not in practice, I will most likely be pouring over books, working hard to learn all the complex theory of optics and dispensing so that I can qualify as the best Dispensing Optician I can be in 2023.


I joined Leightons & Tempany Opticians in Poole as an Optical and Hearing Assistant in October 2019. This was a varied role: from booking appointments, processing orders and repairing glasses; to performing OCT scans, writing invoices and any other number of things.  I started this role brand new into the world of optics, but it very much lead to the career path I am now on.

I also do some ad-hoc work for Eagle International School, an English language school in Poole. This role involves leading groups of foreign exchange students – mainly from Germany – on educational and cultural excursions that support their learning and application of the English language.  I am highly passionate about the work of the school, and as someone who trained as a teacher, but decided on a different path, it’s a great way for me to keep my hand in the education industry.

My diverse spread of preceding work history includes nearly four years working at McDonald’s as a Customer Care Assistant; representing the University of St Mark & St John as a Student Ambassador; an Advertiser paper round; and voluntary work in a local community cafe.

Leightons Staff Pitcure.jpeg


PGCE with QTS (2018-2019)


I trained as a primary teacher with the Plymouth Teaching School Alliance (PTSA), gaining my Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in July 2019.  I gained invaluable insight into the challenging yet essential role of a primary teacher by being in the classroom for the duration of the school year.  During this time, I also completed a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) at the University of St Mark & St John.

However, I decided to move away from teaching and pursue a different career – being a primary school teacher is a noble and challenging occupation (to say the least!) but it just wasn’t my fit.  Despite this, I still have a busy academic mind with a passion for education and am confident that I will be able to put my pedagogical skills to good use within a different industry.

BA (Hons) Primary Education (2015-2018)

I studied a BA (Hons) degree in Primary Education at the University of St Mark & St John (Plymouth Marjon), graduating with a First Class with Honours.  This degree explored a diverse range of educational matters, including the sociology of education; teaching and learning; children’s cognitive and learning development; performativity and assessment; and educational management and leadership.

My undergraduate dissertation was titled: “Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and the Physical School Environment: An Overview of the Literature”.  My research explored the potential impacts of the physical school environment for those with Autism, from noise, lighting and classroom design, to the layout and architecture of the school site.


During my final undergraduate year at Plymouth Marjon, I was nominated for the ‘Inspiring Student Award for Leadership, 2018’ by my course leader:

“Toby has been student rep on SSLC since he joined Marjon. He has always shown good leadership skills but in year 2 and 3 he has developed as a very rounded leader who is respected by staff and students. He is measured, sensible and forthright but has understood that leadership is often about softer skills and has developed a mature and values based leadership style. Other students look to him for support and he guides and inspires others. He informally mediates programme issues and truly fulfils the role of SSLC rep. clearly presenting issues and giving rounded analysis of situations. He will be sorely missed next year.”

My nomination certificate was presented to me at the Marjon Inspiring Student Awards Ceremony on the 30th May 2018 by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rob Warner.


School (2009–2015)

I attended Poole Grammar School (PGS) for both main school secondary and VI Form.  I gained A-Levels in English Language, Geography and Religious Studies (Religious Ethics and Buddhism), with an AS-Level in Music and an EPQ, as well as 11 GCSEs A*-C.

While I was in VI form, I was made a Subject Ambassador for both the Music and Geography departments.  Throughout my time at PGS, I was a member of the ‘voices’ group and the string ensemble, playing both violin and viola.


Hobbies & Interests

I am a keen amateur viola player and a proud member of the superb Westbourne Orchestral Society in Bournemouth, with whom I am also a trustee and committee member.  During my time in Plymouth, I enjoyed playing in the Plymouth University Orchestra.  When I was younger, I was a member of the local music service, but back then I played the violin.  I have played for around 10 years and enjoy it very much – this is a hobby that I will stick with forever!

I have also been in Scouting my whole life and am a leader, having gained my Wood Badge in 2016. As a leader, I proudly volunteer with the 28th Bournemouth Scout Group.  Through Scouting, I also completed my DofE Gold Award.

If curry can be classed a hobby, I will also claim that!


Last Updated 15 Oct 2020

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