In most schools the arrival of a new Head is treated with a certain amount of caution yet it has been my good fortune to come to a community which is incredibly friendly and underpinned by an excellent ethos and outstanding values.
Upon appointment I made it absolutely clear that my ambitions for this School are boundless. Simply vying to be the best independent School in this part of Lancashire is not enough. It was very clear to me that we have the potential to be a real leader in the North and to exert an extraordinarily positive influence over the Fylde Coast and beyond. Rossall has an illustrious history and stunning location. Our iconic buildings and varied curriculum set us apart from our competitors. Other schools promote internationalism as a ‘bolt-on’ whereas here at Rossall it is an intrinsic part of who we are. The extraordinary strength of this community is reflected in our confident, accomplished, courageous, aspirant and compassionate and fun loving boys and girls.
Routinely, visitors to Rossall tell me just how impressed they are by our boys and girls. There is no doubting that our pupils benefit from being part of an intellectually aspirant and culturally dynamic community. They have countless opportunities to explore their interests and to develop their skills. They are nurtured within a pastorally supportive environment which focuses huge attention upon each individual whilst ensuring a vibrant and inclusive School community.
Parents understand that the decision to send their son or daughter to Rossall does not represent a compromise between wellbeing/happiness and/or the desire to realise academic potential. The beauty of Rossall is that it offers both within a School community which cherishes tradition but yet is resolutely committed to offering a modern and progressive education.
I am delighted that what we offer resonates with the people of Lancashire and beyond. Applications to Rossall have risen dramatically over recent times and it is tremendously reassuring to know that we will begin the next academic year in a stronger place than ever before.
All outstanding Schools are dependent upon the quality of their staff. It is all very well investing in buildings but, ultimately, schools which fail to focus upon recruiting top quality staff short-change pupils and parents. In this regard, good fortune has shone upon us. Outstanding practitioners from across the UK and beyond are professionally investing in the ambition of Rossall. We have had an unprecedented number of applications for key positions and we have had the luxury of choosing between any number of highly accomplished candidates. I could not be more thrilled with the staff that we have recruited for next year and it is very clear to me that our children are very fortunate that Rossall is currently perceived by excellent teachers to be riding high.
I am delighted to announce the following new appointments:
Director of Sixth Form: Mr Stephen Prest
Currently Head of Sixth Form at Bury Grammar Schools, Stephen Prest was previously Head of Lower Sixth Form at Brentwood School in Essex. He is a highly respected teacher of politics who routinely achieves outstanding results. He was educated at Loreto College Manchester and read Politics at Essex University. He has completed an MA in Education Studies.
Stephen has an impeccable track record both pastorally and academically. He is consistently outstanding in terms of his solicitude for each and every student and he has an enviable ability to inspire and motivate Sixth Formers. His knowledge of university admissions/careers is encylopaedic and he has high aspirations for all pupils. This is a key appointment and I am delighted that Stephen is so keen to be part of Rossall moving forward. He has local ties to the area and his mother is a Church of England minister here on the Fylde. Stephen is a rugby player and he is very keen to play a key role within the rugby set up here at School.
Head of Lower School: Mrs Catherine Stacker
Catherine hails from Wigan and has a formidable background as an academic high flier. She studied Mathematics and Statistics at Newcastle University before completing her PGCE at St Mary’s Twickenham. She taught in several maintained schools in London before moving to Australia where she became Head of Year 12, and MYP Co-ordinator at St Paul’s Grammar School in Cranebrook. She also leads IB Mathematics Workshops for other teachers. Catherine is highly engaging and will bring with her a wealth of experience. She will provide outstanding leadership for Lower School (Years 7-9) and I am thrilled that we have managed to convince her to make the big move home.
Head of Economics and Business – Mr Adam Pogonowski
Adam is a high flier who was headboy of Queen Ethelburga’s College in York before going on to read law at Cambridge University. He contributed to the student newspaper Varsity whilst serving as the editor of the Cambridge Student Law Review. He has a diploma in law from the University of Poitiers and initially worked for MPW in Cambridge whilst pursuing a political career. He is currently an examiner for AQA, Pre-U and CIE as well as teaching Economics at Cheadle Hulme School. He impressed our students with his enthusiasm, high energy and absolute clarity. Adam represents an exciting addition to the common room and he is keen to become involved with Oxbridge preparation.
Head of Physics – Andrew Millington
Andrew read Physics at Bristol University before completing his PGCE at Oxford. Initially, he worked as a geophysicist before deciding to enter the teaching profession. He taught at Ryde High School before moving on to Sherborne. He was Head of Physics at Warwick School for twelve years before moving on to Bloxham. His wife comes from the North West and it is our good fortune that they have decided to relocate back to this part of the world.
Second in Maths – Mr Alex Shaw
Alex holds a Physics Degree from Oxford University having achieved straight ‘A’s at Ryton Comprehensive School. He is currently a teacher of Mathematics and ICT Coordinator at Jumeirah College in Dubai. Alex impressed us hugely upon interview and look forward to welcoming him to Rossall.
Teacher of PE – Sophie Oliver
Sophie studied sports and exercise science at Liverpool John Moores University having previously attended Arnold School. She spent a year at Stonyhurst before becoming a teacher of PE at Accrington Academy. Sophie comes to us with glowing references and a highly impressive work ethic.
There will be more announcements to make but I hope that this provides a little flavour of what is to come in September 2019! Of course, next term we welcome our new Director of Performing Arts, David Newell.
In other news, I am delighted to announce that from September 2019 all boys and girls in the Senior School will be equipped with an Apple iPad. These devices will be supplied by the School and they will be carefully controlled by the School’s own device management software. We will be providing all parents with more details about the School’s 1:1 Mobile Learning Project in due course.
Digital technology will never replace outstanding teaching and is it not the educational panacea that some advocates claim. However, it is important that we move with the times and embrace the many advantages that such devices offer. These advantages include:
- The opportunity for pupils to work collaboratively in real time via Google Apps for education.
- Google Classroom provides an opportunity for parents to monitor homework much more easily.
- Tablets are powerful administrative tools which help pupils and teachers to manage workflow effectively.
- They are superb research tools – the digital age has brought about a democratisation of knowledge which means that young people now have the world at their fingertips.
- Educational software companies are providing evermore sophisticated Apps which serve to make learning more engaging.
- iPads along with Apple TV/Smart TVs will reduce the amount of hardware needed within each classroom and drastically reduce the amount of photocopying carried out within the School.
- As Educational publishers move to producing online resources, pupils will have substantially fewer textbooks to lug around.
- Digital technology is an important feature of the modern workplace and we need to be responsive to the needs of our boys and girls in this regard.
Dina Porovic will lead an information evening about this exciting new project early next term and we will be producing very clear information and guidance in the runup to September 2019.