New headteacher at John Kyrle High School (JKHS), Julian Morgan, has set out his priorities for the school, as well as telling the Gazette his stance on a number of school policies.
This is Mr Morgan’s third headship, bringing with him the experience of 25 years in education.
Mr Morgan was selected for the role back in April, but officially started at the beginning of this new school term (September 1).
He told the Gazette: “I live in Monmouth, so I’m really local to the school, for me it’s really important to serve my community. I’m really keen to come back to my own community.”
He added: “The purpose of a school is to prepare young people for life after school, and we can do that in isolation from the community, so I’m going to spend a lot of time over the next months and years working closely with the town, businesses, and people in the town.”
Mr Morgan set out his key priorities for how he’ll approach his role.
His first priority is making sure that teaching and learning are at the forefront of the school. He wants to focus relentlessly on what happens in the classroom; he wants an approach that celebrates and rewards students for doing the right thing.
His second priority is attendance. He believes it’s key for the school to engage with young people and their families, attendance is a number one priority, if children aren’t in the school, they can’t learn. He wants young people to make memories at John Kyrle, he said that when children come home, that they should have something exciting to say about their day.
“I have three daughters and I think about the day when my middle daughter started school; she was so excited and bouncing to the door. What we need to make sure, is that when young people enter their teenage years, and when they move beyond that into the sixth form, they are just as excited about education; that’s fundamentally what we need to do, so we need to engage them.”
Whilst the achievement and attainment of academic credentials are important, Mr Morgan adds that to do that, he has to make sure the curriculum is “fit for purpose”, he added that what’s taught at JKHS prepares children for the future, and the world of vocational work, he plans to work closely with the community to achieve that; he aims to use the skills of people in the school to build the strength of Ross-on-Wye as a town. He wants students to be respectful and proud of where they live.
Mr Morgan’s third priority for the school is developing high quality leadership. He wants to make the school as outwardly facing as possible, develop the leadership of his staff and students alike.
A key leg on his road to success will be to re-introduce John Kyrle High School as a key pillar of the community. This will involve building better links with organisations and businesses in the town, as well as developing communication with parents and students.
He said: “The work that we do goes out and into the community, this school isn’t an island, it’s not behind a perimeter fence, it’s got to be part of our wider community.” He added: “I want us to be as outwardly facing as we possibly can be, I want to develop our leaders, I want to make sure they understand our core purpose and work strategically. I also want to develop student leadership, so they’re prepared.”
Mr Morgan as identified the most immediate challenges as to make sure he understands the school, working closely with the community to try and get feedback as to what people’s views are. His general perception is that those living in Ross are affected by the policies and conduct of the school regardless of whether they have children attending.
“It might be a bit twee to say, but it really is the professional privilege of my life to do this. I’ve been in education for 25 years. When I formally get staff together and speak with them, I’ll share that very clearly with them and the fact that I will work tirelessly and openly with people. I want to bring that 25 years of experience, be clear about what I want and what our young people deserve and be quite bold in that and champion our kids.”
Communication both within the school and externally have been identified as a key area for how Mr Morgan can improve people’s confidence in the school. Part of this will include speaking regularly with staff about the school’s goals and achievements and tracking the progress towards them; as well as external communication and engagement.
“We should, every week, be able to celebrate something fantastic that’s been happening in this place.”
Celebrating the achievements of students and the school are going to be a facet of positive reinforcement which can be used to bring out the best in those under his stewardship.
Anthea McIntyre chair of trustees told the Gazette: “It’s really good news and I’m looking forward to what he’s going to do with the school.”