New headteacher at Aspatria's Richmond Hill School
Last updated at 20:44, Thursday, 17 September 2009
PUPILS at an Aspatria school have given a warm welcome to their new headteacher.
James Blackwell, headteacher of Richmond Hill Primary School, took over last week.
He said: “I am looking forward to this next year, it is a really exiting challenge for me.”
Mr Blackwell led Frizington Primary School for four-and-a-half years.
This January the school was described as “outstanding” by Ofsted inspectors.
He has pledged to raise standards at Richmond Hill, which has around 170 pupils on roll.
“Richmond Hill has just had an Ofsted and was judged as satisfactory overall,” he said. “The challenge is to ensure the school is good with outstanding features for the next. I will be focusing on raising attainment and achievement and developing the profile of the school in the community.
“But it is about remembering what the school stands for and what it is about rather than always looking at standards.”
Aspatria has warmly welcomed Mr Blackwell, of Gilcrux, into his post.
“I have had a lovely welcome from the parents,” he said.
Mr Blackwell, 32, graduated with a degree in education and music from Leeds University 10 years ago.
He began his teaching career at an inner city school in Manchester and became one of the youngest headteachers in the country when he was appointed at Frizington.
But rural schools in Cumbria face their own particular challenges.
He said: “There are immense problems with things like transport and opportunities. Rural schools particularly struggle with the government agenda – it’s a one size fits all. And more often than not, it does not fit for Cumbria.”
Mr Blackwell claims education has always been his vocation.
“It has always been my passion,” he added.
He said he was looking forward to working with his team of around 20 staff.
He added: “The school has a really young and vibrant staff who are very keen to do well and are committed to the children.
“Plus our children are lovely and are well-motivated.”
Other plans in the pipeline include introducing residential trips for the pupils, Christmas and harvest performances and bringing back the Richmond Hill’s Got Talent show that was launched last year.
Mr Blackwell said he and the team will also be reworking the curriculum ahead of planned government changes, ensuring opportunities for cross curricular project working and enterprise opportunities.
Richmond Hill’s former headteacher, Barry Dickinson, retired last year after 23 years at the helm.
First published at 19:35, Thursday, 17 September 2009
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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