Q&A with Abbeywood's new associate head

Published on: 15 Jan 2015

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FV: Tell us about your role at Abbeywood
DH: My new role as Associate Headteacher at Abbeywood Community school involves working with all members of the school community to build on the many strengths to delivery the very best educational experience for our students. Also working closely with parents/carers and the local community to ensure Abbeywood is placed at the heart of the local area and is the first school of choice for families in the surrounding community.

FV: Where did you teach before coming here and what was your subject?
DH: I was Deputy Headteacher for 6 years previously at The John Bentley School in Calne in Wiltshire, also an 11-18 community comprehensive. Prior to that I have worked in a range of schools in Wiltshire, Kent, Cambridgeshire and Bristol, as well as Moscow and Cairo! My subject background is Geography.

FV: How do you think Abbeywood will compare with a school in Wiltshire?
DH: Despite the obvious contrast between the urban and rural settings I think the two schools are very similar in that that have a very cohesive school community which is rightly proud and optimistic about the future, as well as a very strong local community which is fully behind their local school to ensure it delivers the high quality education our children deserve.

FV: What attracted you to Abbeywood?
The moment I stepped into the school I was struck by the warm and purposeful atmosphere. Abbeywood is a school with a genuine sense of commitment to making sure every student is cared for and where there is a real focus on ensuring each all can succeed. I have a profound belief in making sure every young person has the very best opportunities to become a confident life-long learner and positive citizen.

FV: What are the biggest challenges you will have?
DH: It’s always a challenge starting in a new school and initially my biggest challenge will be getting to know the staff, students and parents well. Like all schools, Abbeywood has to continually adapt its curriculum to meet the needs of its students and ensure the quality of teaching is the best it can be - this will be my area of focus this year.

FV: What were your first impressions of your new colleagues and the students?
DH: The staff at Abbeywood are passionate, energetic and deeply caring and it is clear for any visitor that the strength of the Abbeywood community is build around mutual respect between staff and students.

FV: What would you wish to achieve at Abbeywood?
DH: To build upon the many strengths of the school as ‘measured’ by every single Abbeywood student fulfilling their potential as happy, confident and responsible young adults.

FV: Tell us a bit about yourself … family, interests
DH: I live in Bath with my partner Jennie, and two sons Kieran (9) and Daniel (6). I am a big rugby union fan and also a keen skier, hill walker and I love to travel. I have lived and worked abroad and to date have visited 46 countries. Planned trips this year (2015) include skiing in Bulgaria and later in the year a visit to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. I am also a keen cook.

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