New Head, New Vision for Pewsey Vale School
Neil Pritchard, the new headteacher at Pewsey Vale School, is experiencing a very busy first term. As well as the pressures of a new job, his son, baby Austin, was born only weeks ago!
Neil is, however, no stranger to the school. In fact, he was Pewsey’s Deputy Head from 2007 to 2011 when he left to become Deputy at Bitterne Park School, Southampton.
Originally from South Wales, Neil says he chose teaching as a career because of a defining moment in his young life. He was helped through a bereavement by a technology teacher who involved him in assisting with lower school technology classes. “I found it was something I really enjoyed,” Neil told marlborough.news.
As a result, he studied Industrial Design and Technology with Education at Loughborough University.
Now he’s back in Pewsey. “I had such fond memories of the students, the staff, parents, governors and the community here. It’s a school with great potential. I want to make a difference and knowing the school as I do I hope this will be possible.”
Term began by working with staff and governors to create a new shared vision for the school with key priorities. This led to a new Behaviour and Learning Policy, making expectations to the whole school community absolutely clear. Students who have trouble following the policy are supported or are given an after school detention to reflect on their behaviour and to complete work.
“I support people making mistakes as long as they learn from them, ”says Neil,” and the students have welcomed the changes.”
“I also want to build on the success of recent exam results and improve the quality of learning and teaching in that order. I strongly believe in a holistic approach to education where personalised learning is at the forefront.”
“As a small school we can facilitate this and treat every student as an individual. Our staff know each young person and their families very well. They encourage everyone to develop and flourish in all areas of school life and beyond.”
Neil also has plans to increase the numbers of students at the school. “We are a small school and I embrace this, but I do want to grow the school.”
He also wants the school to be more outward facing and involved in the community. “Members of the community attended the school’s Remembrance Day Service. At the Presentation Evening last week there were a significant number of guests from local businesses to support our students.”
“The local Rotary Club will be supporting the mock interview process later in the year and we have increased our links and partnerships with local primary schools.”
“We have also increased our links with Marlborough College who offer a sixth form bursary each year and shared educational experiences.”
“We are a school at the heart of the community, a beacon of excellence in a rural setting,” says Neil. “Although the first term has been busy, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I am pleased and proud of the way the school has responded.”
The next community event for the school is the Carol Service on December 19th in St. John the Baptist Church, Pewsey. Please contact the school if you are interested in attending.