Meet the Headteacher - four of the regions top headteachers

Meet the Headteacher - we asked four of the regions top headteachers what makes their school so special...

St Pius X Preparatory School

Name of school and location:St Pius X Preparatory School and Oak House Nursery Name of head: Bridgeen BanksWhat are the vital ingredients for a great education? Enthusiastic staff who love children and want to motivate pupils to enjoy learning.What makes your school so special?Every child is recognised and accepted. Our pupils know they have to work very hard and perform to their ultimate ability academically –but they also know that they will have lots of fun and a very happy time.What made you want to teach?I knew from the age of six that I wanted to teach, thanks to the brilliant teacher I had that year. Brief career and personal history:I originally taught history, PE and social studies in a large high school in Manchester. I joined St Pius X as a classroom teacher in September 1983 and became head in January 1987.Describe your approach to educating young people? It is vitally important to take a real interest in each pupil. They need to know that you genuinely like them and want to get to know them as individuals.What's the most satisfying aspect of the job?Seeing the children develop during their time here and reaching their full potential.Who inspired you and why? One of the teachers from my old convent prep school.Your best and worst subjects when you were at school? English was my best subject and art my worst.

www.stpiusx.co.uk

Highfield Priory SchoolName of school and location: Highfield PriorySchool, an Independent day school for boysand girls from six months to eleven years.Name of head: Jeremy DukeWhat are the vital ingredients for a greateducation? A great education is one whichensures excellence in the core subjects whileencouraging a child to realise his or her potentialacross a wide variety of other disciplines whichshould include: Music, Art, Drama, ModernLanguages, Sport and Outdoor Pursuits.What makes your school so special?Highfield is the top preparatory school inLancashire (Sunday Times Top 100 PreparatorySchools) as a result of its academic excellencebut Highfield is special because it is about somuch more. At Highfield we strive to educatethe whole child, giving them all opportunitiesthat help them to discover their gifts andtalents. We place a great deal of emphasis onself discovery and self confidence. We work ontheir elocution and public speaking skills toensure that they are able to be proud of whothey are and are able to present themselves asconfident individuals. Specialist teachers andfacilities help them to recognise and realise theirpotential in a variety of fields, most notably inScience, Modern Languages, Sport, Art, Musicand Drama.What made you want to teach? Teachingchildren is different every day and offers newchallenges and surprises on a regular basis. It isincredibly rewarding to watch children learn,discover new talents, forge lifelong friendshipsand become confident, witty, intelligentindividuals. And, of course, with the Early Years,never knowing what they are going to say next!Brief career and personal history: Teaching ina variety of Independent and State schoolsacross the Primary and Secondary age rangehas given me a broad view of education. It hashelped me to realise the importance ofpreparing children, not just for the nextacademic challenge but for life. Working in acity and living, as I do, on the edge of the LakeDistrict has had an influence on my approach toeducation. I aim to give our pupils anunderstanding and appreciation of the GreatOutdoors. To this end we take our pupilsorienteering, on adventure holidays and we arein the process of developing our woodland areainto an outdoor education facility where thechildren can study wild flowers, mini beastsand birds and enjoy den building andperforming in an outdoor theatre. I feel veryprivileged to live in such a beautiful area withmy wife, three children and my dog. Havingthree children in the primary age group givesme a real insight into some of the challengesthat face families on a daily basis and helpsme to understand a variety of educationalissues from a parent's point of view.Who inspired you and why? The children.Being in Education for over 15 years hasbrought me into contact with children whoare striving to overcome personal or physicaldifficulties, or who are simply struggling withtheir daily work. Children always inspire andsurprise me by their determination, at such ayoung age, to rise to meet a challenge and toovercome any obstacles placed in their way.Many adults, myself included, can learn fromtheir resilience and positive approach to life.What is the most satisfying aspect ofthe job? Sharing in the children's successand their achievements while they are at theschool and when they return as 'old' boys andgirls who are flourishing at their next schoolas a result of their education at HighfieldPriory School.www.highfieldpriory.co.uk

Highfield Priory SchoolName of school and location: Highfield Priory School, an Independent day school for boys and girls from six months to eleven years.Name of head: Jeremy DukeWhat are the vital ingredients for a great education? A great education is one which ensures excellence in the core subjects while encouraging a child to realise his or her potential across a wide variety of other disciplines which should include: Music, Art, Drama, Modern Languages, Sport and Outdoor Pursuits.What makes your school so special?Highfield is the top preparatory school in Lancashire (Sunday Times Top 100 Preparatory Schools) as a result of its academic excellence but Highfield is special because it is about so much more. At Highfield we strive to educate the whole child, giving them all opportunities that help them to discover their gifts and talents. We place a great deal of emphasis on self discovery and self confidence. We work on their elocution and public speaking skills to ensure that they are able to be proud of who they are and are able to present themselves as confident individuals. Specialist teachers and facilities help them to recognise and realise their potential in a variety of fields, most notably in Science, Modern Languages, Sport, Art, Music and Drama.What made you want to teach? Teaching children is different every day and offers new challenges and surprises on a regular basis. It is incredibly rewarding to watch children learn, discover new talents, forge life long friendships and become confident, witty, intelligent individuals. And, of course, with the Early Years,never knowing what they are going to say next!Brief career and personal history: Teaching in a variety of Independent and State schools across the Primary and Secondary age range has given me a broad view of education. It has helped me to realise the importance of preparing children, not just for the next academic challenge but for life. Working in a city and living, as I do, on the edge of the Lake District has had an influence on my approach to education. I aim to give our pupils an understanding and appreciation of the Great Outdoors. To this end we take our pupils orienteering, on adventure holidays and we are in the process of developing our woodland area into an outdoor education facility where the children can study wild flowers, mini beasts and birds and enjoy den building and performing in an outdoor theatre. I feel very privileged to live in such a beautiful area with my wife, three children and my dog. Having three children in the primary age group gives me a real insight into some of the challenges that face families on a daily basis and helpsme to understand a variety of educational issues from a parent's point of view.Who inspired you and why? The children. Being in Education for over 15 years hasbrought me into contact with children who are striving to overcome personal or physical difficulties, or who are simply struggling with their daily work. Children always inspire and surprise me by their determination, at such a young age, to rise to meet a challenge and to overcome any obstacles placed in their way. Many adults, myself included, can learn from their resilience and positive approach to life.What is the most satisfying aspect of the job? Sharing in the children's success and their achievements while they are at the school and when they return as 'old' boys and girls who are flourishing at their next school as a result of their education at Highfield Priory School.www.highfieldpriory.co.uk

Kirkham Grammar School

Name of school and location: Kirkham Grammar School, Ribby Road, Kirkham, Preston

Name of head: Mr Douglas Walker

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What are the vital ingredients for a great education? As Headmaster of Kirkham Grammar School set in its own grounds in the market town of Kirkham I have enjoyed nine years at the helm of a lovely school. It was clear when I applied for the post here that the ethos of the school matched my own educational philosophy.

What makes your school so special?

I firmly believe that this must be matched by a supportive environment and Kirkham's family atmosphere provides this. I have also believed strongly in the key balance between a strong academic culture in a school but additionally a wide variety of extra-curricular opportunity in schools.

What made you want to teach?

It is fair to say that my own wish to teach came from a desire to go further in my love of history, my subject, and the opportunity to be involved with youngsters out of class often on the games field.

Brief career and personal history:

This all round education has always been at the centre of what I have enjoyed in education and the current trend in schools to the overbearing statistical target culture is destroying the bedrock of what I see as central to the successful culture of the English school system.

Describe your approach to educating young people? Young people need challenges and the chance to find things they enjoy and excel in. When they find this, the self-esteem gained gives such a boost to their progress generally. Whatever it is the school must endeavour to nurture this and they will generate enthusiasm and commitment which will have more impact than any statistics or paper based target.

Who inspired you and why? Personally I found my enthusiasm in the study of History, Geography and English but found the sciences a mystery to me. A love of reading about the past has stayed with me and I particularly enjoy historical literature.

Your best and worst subjects when you were at school? As a young man I also enjoyed sport and was fortunate enough to play a number of times of Twickenham for my University but these were very much in the amateur days when sport was a pastime and not the big business it has become today.

www.kirkhamgrammar.co.uk

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