Head: our no-nonsense regime is paying dividends for school

Published on: 06 Feb 2013

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Head: our no-nonsense regime is paying dividends for school

The head of Abbeywood Community School says his no-nonsense approach to behaviour along with the school’s partnership with Bradley Stoke Community School is beginning to pay dividends.Dave Baker

The school was in special measures just over a year ago but since Dave Baker took over, there has been a sharp improvement in both the performance of the school and attitudes.

Mr Baker is now preparing to formalise the link with Bradley Stoke under the Olympus Academy Trust.

The bow tie-wearing head, who is executive head of both schools, told Filtonvoice that change was necessary - and this has raised expectations of both staff and students.

He said: "Until last year, many teachers were simply firefighting in lessons, dealing with behaviour, mobile phones, bags in the wrong place, uniform and so on. Now we’ve got a lot of this sorted and one teacher told me: ‘This is the first time I’ve been able to teach properly’.

"It all starts with the basics and things like enforcing our uniform policies.

"This means students look smart and no longer look intimidating.

"With mobile phones not allowed, there is a whole different atmosphere now, leading to better social interaction between the students.

"The school is a calmer place now and we have raised our game in the classroom."

The school will have a visit from Ofsted before the end of the summer term but Mr Baker points to the general improvements in the school along with early successes in GCSE results which, he says, will give the school a good chance of a favourable report from the inspectors.

Mr Baker said that although the school fell short (47%) of their 55% target for 5 A*-C including English and Maths, he pointed to the "fiasco" over the English GCSE in which students who sat the exam in the summer were marked more strictly than those who sat it in the winter.

He also said that although running two schools is a huge job, he has introduced "clarity of roles" for senior staff members which means he has a more over-arching role with associate heads in position in each school.

However he said there were clear benefits from sharing experiences and students were being given greater access to enrichment activities as a result.

Mr Baker has been head of Bradley Stoke since it opened in 2005 and succeeded Ann Duff at Abbeywood in November 2011.

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