Gareth Jones, Head of St John’s Primary C of E School in Wellington, paid tribute to the work and contribution of the team of teachers and teaching assistants he leaves at the end of the school year before moving to take up the post of Head of Parkfield Primary School in Taunton in September.
Reflecting on the way the school has progressed since he was appointed as Acting Head in 2013, he said, “We’ve been on a journey and we’re happy where we are at the moment.” In the last two Ofsted Inspections the school was rated as ‘Good’ in all categories and given an ‘Outstanding’ rating after the recent Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools.
Of his staff he said, “A school needs a strong leader but you also need a good team that will come with you and that will support you – and that’s what we’ve got here. Over the past 4 years we’ve made improvements with the same team – and that’s my biggest achievement. It’s a matter of putting key support and key strategies in the right places to help the children move forward; the children are at the heart of all our decisions.”
As Head of Parkfield Primary School he is taking over a much larger school with over 400 pupils, one which is “a completely different context” and which provides him with “professional development as a leader”. He said, “I regret leaving the children here; I regret leaving the community. It’s my first Headship, my first school in Wellington and my first church school. It was a challenge but the community has been superb, staff have been hard-working and supportive, the governing body has been supportive and the support of other local schools has been very strong. We meet as Heads on a regular basis and share a vision for the education for all children in and around the town and how it is our moral responsibility as leaders to support each other to the benefit of the wider community.”
Mrs Mary Clothier, currently Acting Head of Hatch Beauchamp Primary School, has been appointed as Acting Head of St John’s from September 2017. On the appointment of an Acting Head, Mr Jones said, “I came to St John’s as an Acting Head. It’s a good way of putting something in place for both sides to see how things are, how the leadership is progressing. It allows the Acting Head to acclimatise, to see if it’s right for them as well. It could lead – as it did with me – to a permanent Headship.”
He added, “The success of St John’s is about the here and now but it’s also about how it continues next year and the year after. The building blocks we’ve put in place over the last 4 years allow that success to continue – and senior leaders will drive the learning process. That will be my legacy if it continues to happen.”