BSCS creates new Associate Headteacher role

Dave Baker, Bradley Stoke Community School

Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) has announced the creation of an ‘Associate Headteacher’ role, to ensure that there is clear leadership in the school on a day-to-day basis while Executive Headteacher Dave Baker (pictured) splits his time between BSCS and the struggling Abbeywood Community School in Stoke Gifford.

Mr Baker took on the leadership of Abbeywood in early October, after the previous headteacher resigned for personal reasons. The school, which moved to new £30m premises at the beginning of the current academic year, was served notice to improve after an inspection by Ofsted in October 2010.

A monitoring inspection in May 2011 concluded that the school was making “satisfactory progress in addressing the issues for improvement and in raising the pupils’ achievement.”

An article in the Bristol Evening Post this week said Abbeywood is now:

“… waiting the arrival of Government inspectors who will decide whether the school is providing a satisfactory standard of education or requires special measures.”

Mr Baker told the paper he has seen clear signs of improvement, adding:

“There has been progress since the notice to improve was given. Things are moving in the right direction. It’s a matter of whether they have moved far enough.”

With Mr Baker spending a lot of time over in Stoke Gifford, governors at BSCS have decided to shift former Deputy Headteacher Jenny Sutton Kirby to the role of Associate Headteacher.

Other BSCS staff have taken on additional responsibilities and “there will be some extra roles to ensure that there is capacity to embed further outstanding practice”, according to a statement in the latest school newsletter.

Mr Baker acknowledged to the Evening Post that some parents at BSCS have concerns about his dual headship but he points out that “the sharing of information is not all one way and each school can learn from the other”.

BSCS has also announced this week that it continues to make “excellent progress” towards the school converting to become an academy on 1st January 2012. An academy trust has now been registered – named the ‘Olympus Academy Trust’ after the Concorde engine which was designed and built locally.

According to the Evening Post, if Ofsted chooses to put Abbeywood into special measures, Education Secretary Michael Gove is likely to want to see it turned into an academy.

There would be scope for other schools to convert and join the Olympus trust but Mr Baker insists his involvement in Abbeywood is not “academy by the back door”, telling the paper:

“The governors are focused on the Ofsted outcome. We will look at future options after that.”

Related link: Schools in Bradley Stoke (The Journal)

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