Community School’s new headteacher reflects on first term in charge

Bradley Stoke Community School’s new headteacher, Sophie Francis, has completed her first term in charge since taking over the reins from Peter Lynch in September.

Photo of a female teacher wearing a dark blue jacket over a white blouse.
Sophie Francis, headteacher at Bradley Stoke Community School.

Mrs Francis was born in Bath and grew up around books and education with both her parents being first-generation university graduates. She studied English and history (Joint Honours) at the University of Birmingham, teacher training at the University of Bristol and completed a Masters in Education with the University of Exeter.

Speaking to the Journal, she said she is passionate about comprehensive education and aims is to give each student “the very best opportunities to be the best they can be”.

She continued:

“Schools are so much more than bricks and mortar and should be so much more than exam factories – our responsibility is not only to provide the best education we can, but also to support students’ long-term health and wellbeing.”

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Reflecting on her career path to date, which has included spells at Gordano School (Portishead) and Wellsway School (Keynsham), she said:

“From twenty years’ experience in the classroom and of school leadership in good and outstanding schools across North Somerset and Bath & North East Somerset, I know that a successful and happy school depends on the community working together.”

“Some of the highlights of my first term at BSCS have been the events where we’ve been able to welcome parents in, such as Celebration Assemblies in our Primary Phase; Year 6 Open Evening; Welcome to Year 12 and Year 13 Futures Evening and Meet the Tutor Evening. The great uptake of parents taking these opportunities to come in shows the commitment of families to supporting this partnership and the warmth of staff on these events shows the commitment of our staff to providing the best experience for the young people in our care.”


Mrs Francis first visited BSCS in 2006 when it had just Years 7 and 8 and says she could see even then that there was “something special” about the school community.

She continued:

“My first term has only confirmed this – I have been struck by the politeness and enthusiasm of the students and the dedication of the staff. It really isn’t every school where students ask you how your day has gone in the corridor as you walk past!”

Looking ahead to potential challenges facing the education sector, Mrs Francis said:

“There are challenges ahead in education for all schools, and BSCS is no different – constraints with funding, staff recruitment and getting attendance back to pre-Pandemic levels, but I have every confidence that BSCS is in a great position to ride this storm and continue to provide a great experience for learners in our care.”

“One of the strengths of the school is its pastoral care from Reception through to Year 13, and the amazing provision for students’ wider development – such as the extensive enrichment programme and Character Education journey, with world class careers provision.”

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Mrs Francis said it was a pleasure to meet representatives of local organisations at the recent Business Breakfast held at the school. She also praised the “great take up” the school had seen for its first Enrichment Day of the academic year, with students going far and wide, such as London – to visit museums and take part in a landmark walking tour, walking at Cheddar Gorge, and team building at Mojo Active.

She concluded:

“Thank you to the school community for making me feel so welcome – it’s been a wonderful first term.”

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