Headteacher Designate’s Speech
Thursday 29th June 2017
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Before I begin, I am sure you would like to join me in thanking Jasmine and James again for their wonderful speeches. It is not easy to stand up and speak to so many adults at such a young age so I’m sure you’ll all agree they did fantastically well.
As the slide says, in somewhat of a spoiler alert, my name is Jon Beck and I will be the new Headteacher of Testbourne Community School from September. It’s an absolute privilege to be able to personally welcome you, the parents of our new Year 7 intake, to this important event and to our wonderful school.
As a parent of three children myself, one of whom has autism, I know that you have entrusted us with one of the most rewarding and important jobs in the world – to educate your children and ensure their wellbeing and progress. With this in mind, I aim to give you a flavour of what I am about as an educator and leader so that you leave here with some certainty of what the future holds. I cannot, at this stage, answer all of the questions you will be thinking but the fact that your children and I begin our journeys together is such an exciting prospect.
I know that you will want to know a little of my background. I have been teaching for 19 years, half of which has been as a Senior Leader. Most recently, as many of you know, I was the Senior Deputy Headteacher at The Hamble School on the outskirts of Southampton. The Hamble School has been on a substantial journey culminating in a judgement of ‘Good’ overall and ‘Outstanding’ for its Leadership and Management under the new and significantly more challenging OFSTED framework. I have been fortunate to work in a number of different roles at a variety of schools in various stages of development. I feel very honoured to be able to bring the wide range and depth of experience that these experiences have given me to Testbourne Community School.
You will no doubt be wondering what my core philosophies are as these will have a direct influence on the education of your children. I hold a strong belief in the power of education to change children’s lives and the rights of the child to receive the highest quality education. I am dedicated to providing opportunities for students to excel academically and to develop and excel in their other areas of interest. I believe that school is not only about children gaining excellent exam results but also about them enjoying and valuing their experience of education. This passion for education is built in a foundation of excellent teaching and learning that inspires children and helps them to develop the skills required to become effective learners now and in the future.
School is not just about exam results –we are not factory farming children. I want our children to develop as people as well as learners. I believe that they should be happy, safe and well looked after so we will build on our strengths and continue to develop as a school to provide the best quality pastoral care possible. I also believe in developing children as human beings and instilling in them the qualities of kindness, thoughtfulness, responsibility and courteousness. I am a traditional person in many ways and believe that respect is fundamental quality that I want our students to develop. Not just respect for their peers and the adults they encounter but, importantly, respect for themselves.
One of my core beliefs as an educator is that I believe in having the highest expectations – of uniform, of behaviour, of achievement, of attendance. I have learnt from experience that if we raise the bar of expectation for our students, they invariably rise to meet those expectations and the delight and pride they take in doing so is incredibly rewarding. A word you will often hear me using is “excellence.” I would urge your children to do everything to the best of their ability. They are accountable to themselves in the end and it’s their own conscience they have to satisfy. They have to live with the actions they have chosen to take or not take and the decisions that they make so they should make sure that they can sleep well at night.
I would like to reassure parents that my aspirations do not mean wholesale changes to Testbourne Community School. I am very keen to preserve and build on the many existing strengths of the school – it is an Outstanding school after all. For example, I understand the importance of the word Community in the school’s name and want to build upon and further develop the community aspect of the school’s work with the help of parents and carers.
My allotted time is coming to an end – the first measure of a new Headteacher is to see if they can keep to time – so I think I would like to close with some thoughts about the importance of you, the parents and carers of our new Year 7 intake. In my experience, the most important people in ensuring a successful school experience for your children are you. To ensure your child is safe, happy and successful we must work as partners in their education. We hope that parents will engage with us – come to events, communicate with us if there are difficulties and so on; trust our professionalism and support us in implementing our policies on issues such as behaviour and uniform.
In return I will give you and your children the passion, dedication and hard work that they deserve and will use my skills and experience to inspire the wonderful team of staff here to do the same.
As part of our partnership, I want to stress that I am always happy to listen to parents, children and staff and welcome any comments at the end of the evening.
Thank you for coming this evening. I genuinely look forward to seeing you all in September to begin our journey together.