Hurstpierpoint College

Hurstpierpoint College has a proud, some might say rugged, tradition dating back to 1849. Its headmaster Tim Manly is establishing a new 21st Century ethos.

Hurstpierpoint College has a proud, some might say rugged, tradition dating back to 1849. Its headmaster Tim Manly is establishing a new 21st Century ethos.

The College is, says its head Tim Manly, well placed. It has good road links with the rest of Sussex, Brighton is “just far enough” away to be reachable without becoming a distraction and London is just an hour away in the other direction.But Mr Manly feels that it is ideally placed in a deeper way than that. After six years at the helm, he thinks he is well into achieving his vision of a truly modern public school.He brought with him a fresh set of ideas on how to revitalise the school which have already borne fruit. Since his arrival, 70 per cent of the teaching staff are new. Hurst now accepts more girls, Latin and Greek are back on the curriculum, the school has some magnificent new buildings and the International Baccalaureate starts in September.The plan was to keep the best of the school’s traditions, its love of sport and friendly atmosphere, and to build on them to become a more inclusive institution, where the second,  third, fourth, fifth and sixth XVs or XIs are just as important as the first team.Mr Manly wants to build a school where every pupil is stretched to achieve their full potential. He introduced a challenge grade system to ensure that every pupil and teacher knows what they are aiming for, to ensure they achieve the very best they can.He said: “It didn’t matter whether they were an A* child, a B-grade child, a C-grade child, underperformance was the enemy and reaching their potential was key. Ensuring the staff knew what every child’s potential was going to be was just as important as setting the expectations right for the children themselves. “In Years 7, 8 and 9, increasingly you want to see and to enable children to take on responsibility for their own learning and for shaping their own futures and to instil a sense that they are working not just to keep their parents happy, not just to keep the teachers off their backs but they are working for themselves.”It is obvious that this vision of developing children to their full potential in a positive child-friendly way is what drives the head. “I want the children here to finish on a Friday evening feeling absolutely shattered but really pleased with what they’ve done and to be able to say to mum and dad, yes I had a really good week. I want them to feel they have achieved something and they have really done it to the best of their ability and they haven’t been marginalised or left to drift.“We have two great mantras here: no-one on the bench and no-one beneath the radar.“I’ll never put a child in a position where they are uncomfortable. I will take a child out of their comfort zone but they can always expect support and quality coaching because there’s nothing worse than being put out onto that rugby pitch or onto that stage thinking I don’t know what to do. That’s humiliating and you must never, never, do that to a child.”Already well into building his vision of Hurst as a public school of today and for tomorrow, Mr Manly’s latest plans are to introduce the International Baccalaureate in September as an alternative to A-levels in the Sixth Form; to continue to develop the school’s facilities, millions are being spent on buildings and equipment, and to help to make the school and its pupils more outward-facing. The IB will start in September which, in itself will make the school more outward-facing as the qualification is more international in nature and is likely to attract students from overseas too.But Mr Manly plans more to help the students meet the outside world including more joint ventures with state schools such as Warden Park in Cuckfield and the  Littlehampton Academy.He said: “I’m hoping to build better links with Littlehampton Academy that I’m connected with. We already have great links with Warden Park which is a superb state school. And that’s good because we do a joint drama venture with them. I’m keen to do more things like that so the pupils get a greater sense of the wider world. When asked to sum up his vision of education he states: “It’s not about shortcuts, it’s not about shrugging your shoulders and saying they don’t fit, it’s not about culling them out, it’s about saying, ‘Right these are the children we’ve got, we’re going to love them and, my God, we’re going to do the best by them and we’re going to encourage them to do the best by us, because that way we’re all going to be successful, aren’t we?’”

ABOUT THE HEADTim Manly joined Hurst in January 2005 from Oakham School where he was Deputy Head. He formerly taught at Sevenoaks School having entered teaching after six years in commerce in London. He is married to Henny and they have four children, two boys and two girls aged 11 to17 who all attend the school. He has a BA in Classics from Oxford University, a PGCE from Cambridge University and an MSc in Industrial Relations from the London School of Economics.For more on Hurstpierpoint College visit its website: www.hppc.co.uk

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