I don’t wish to waste your time. My Linkedin profile provides a professional overview: experience, qualifications, honours, awards and endorsements. Furthermore, this blog provides a record of my teaching and education leadership thinking since 2007 and more recently, an exploration of nutrition, wellness and habits.
Steps into teaching
After studying Physical Education and Sport Science degree at Loughborough University, I completed my PGCE and then NQT at West Bridgford School, Nottingham. From Nottingham to SIU Edwardsville, Illinois, USA, where I completed a Masters Degree in Kinesiology,Exercise and Sport Psychology and coached for the Cougars Soccer programme. I returned to Southampton, England in 2000 joining Richard Tauntons College as a teacher of Physical Education and Sport whilst coaching with Southampton FC Academy.
After seven fantastic, memorable years, I left my role as Director of Sport after being encouraged to join Hamble Community Sports College with the prospect of whole school leadership, (Educational Technology, ICT and IT Services). Within two years, I had been invited onto the leadership team, married and started a family. With the arrival of our second child and promotion to Vice Principal (Teaching, Learning, Reporting and Assessment) at The Wellington Academy in January 2013, I stepped back from coaching football with Southampton FC Academy after nine seasons.
I joined The Wellington Academy “at a difficult time,” with the educational provision being described as “in a considerable state of disarray.” Our Ofsted inspection in January 2014 resulted in a “requires improvement” judgement, which represented “considerable progress” given our starting point a year earlier. Two years later, the Academy was celebrating, having secured it’s “Best ever” results. 50% of students achieved 5A*-C including English and Maths. In English 68% of students made expected progress and in Mathematics, 76% of students made expected progress, taking the school from bottom of Wiltshire’s 2014 Performance Tables in all headline measures, to now being the local school of choice for our community. Through a relentless focus on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, the Academy improved from the 85th to the 45th percentile nationally, for a significantly below average cohort. At GCE, the number of students achieving A*-A grades rose from 11% to 27% and students achieving A*-B rose from 27% to 47%. With hindsight, this represented signitifcant gains for the school and also placed significant demands of the staff.
In March 2016, Ofsted returned and judged the Academy a ‘Good School’ with notably key findings.
Leaders have nurtured a culture of higher aspiration, so that expectations of what pupils can and should achieve are higher.
Improvements in the quality of teaching are as a result of leaders’ actions to share the best practice across the school and hold staff accountable for the progress that pupils make.Ofsted 2016
Whilst working at The Wellington Academy, I secured a role with Ofqual as Subject Expert (GCE and GCSE Physical Education ) and Lead Reviewer for GCSE. I continued to work with ASCL and presented to senior colleagues on Leadership of Data (2012-15) and at the Deputy Head Teachers Conference (2015).
By now, our family was now five strong, with the additions of Harry, Freya and Olly.
In May 2016, I accepted a new challenge as Headteacher at OneSchool’s Hindhead Campus. As Headteacher, I led a successful Material Change Inspection, oversaw two significant buildings projects, reorganised the staffing and administration structures, led a full inspection and overseen improving students outcomes for three consecutive years. And as busy as we were, we still found time to organise Southern Rocks 2018, a national, grass roots professional development event.
The opening line of our inspection report a worthy acknowledgement of the effort of everyone involved at the school.
Focus School Hindhead Campus benefits from outstanding leadership, management and governance which have driven forward substantial improvements within a short period of time.
The school’s leadership and management are outstanding. This judgement is made despite the fact that the quality of education is not yet outstanding, because of the substantial and decisive impact on school improvement already made by senior leaders most of whom have not yet been in post for a full year.SIS Inspection Report
Though this report is clearly important, it was the views of our parents and students that matter most to me professionally. In the space of little under a year, our NPS score had improved markedly, at their highest in the school’s history.
Professionally, I continued to pursue my interest in Organisational Management and Coaching and Mentoring, eventually qualifying as a Level 5 Coach in December 2019.
With a very positive Inspection Report coinciding with our eldest moving to Secondary school, we accepted a new edventure overseas. In April 2019, we made our way overseas to the Middle East. It was steep and exciting personal and professional journey however regrettably, our overseas experience did not work for us as a family and we looked to returned to Southampton for the start of the school year. I immediately returned to the classroom as a full-time teacher.
Two years full-time teaching was supplemented with international Headteacher Coaching and a significant investment in the design and development of RememberMore, “a digital flash card system that boosts learning and reduces teacher workload.” We launched RememberMore in April 2021 and currently support more than 300 classrooms daily.
September 2021 brought forward a new edventure and a return to school leadership, Deputy Head Academic Boundary Oak School. Invitations to present at ResearchEd National Conference, Surrey and Berkshire ResearchEd. A Sec-Ed article in 2019 that led to an invitation to write a nine-part series reporting on the applied benefits of test enhanced learning and retrieval practice. An featured article in HMWK magazine: Test-Enhanced Learning: A Model For Retrieval Practice and a podcast with Dr Tom Perry and Helen Webb “A teacher’s guide to retrieval practice” currently settled in the top five of Sec-Ed’s most downloaded rankings. In August 2022 Crown House Publishing announced the release date for Test-Enhanced Learning: A practical guide to improving academic outcomes for all students.
2022 – the edventure continues.
Here we are in early 2023 and the book is released, articles with hwrkmagazine.co.uk and School Management Plus, podcast invitations from Greenshaw Learning Trust and Friends Book Club, TTRadio and TDape, and delivered professional learning. Most recently, a return to Researched and published article in Impact From The Chartered College of Teaching.
2023 – The education work focused on curriculum development and a side journey exploring the confluence of nutrition, wellness and habits.
This academic year has seen the deployment of a Year 5-9 curriculum redesign at the Boundary Oak School seeking greater curriculum continuity and depth within subjects and greater pupil agency – as the school continues to grow. Evidence so far is very positive, improved pupil survey scores, improved pupil behaviour data especially in Year 9 and happier staff too. Outdoor Learning is going from strength to strength. Modern Foreign Languages is building capacity in lower Year 5-6 and the Year 7 introduction to all-three languages is improving successful, moving to a language focus after the autumn term. The small group SEND focus has been well received. The ‘Pupil Tracker’ project, bringing academic attainment and intervention information to the staff via the class register continues.Lastly, 2024 curriculum work has started.