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Posted on: 14/01/2019

What does a Principal with no students do?

I started my countdown to opening with over 900 days to go! And now there are only 213 left... Let me explain. I was appointed as the Principal Designate for the Deanery in December 2016. To begin with I worked on the Deanery project about a day a week, as I was still working as a consultant in Bristol, supporting schools with maths and leadership help. Last January (2018), I began working on a much more regular basis for the Deanery and come September 2018 I was full time. It is usual for a Principal to be in place for a brand-new school for a year before opening, so they can get all the things in place that are needed to open a school. I have had a bit longer to prepare for our opening, so I really hope I do not forget anything! I have the most wonderful group of people supporting me to get ready, so I think I should be ok. There are so many things to think about when you open a brand-new school. In this preparation phase we have tried to include young people and local people as often as possible when we have been making decisions about the school. First the Governors and I chose the logo and next came the uniform. I am really lucky to have been invited to work in St Mary Redcliffe and Temple school in Bristol for a day a week, so have been able to talk to their students about all the decisions we have taken so far. In fact, it is volunteers from their student council who are modelling the Deanery’s uniform on our website. Apart from working in Bristol (usually on a Wednesday), I seem to have spent most of the rest of my time either on the building site or working out of various coffee shops in Swindon. If I am not meeting the wonderful construction company (BAM construction – more about them later), then I can be found either writing policies or meeting prospective students and parents while drinking ‘skinny flat white’ coffee and trying to avoid eating too many croissants! ‘Office work’ for me includes answering hundreds of emails asking questions about the school, either from prospective parents or staff who are really excited about possibly working at the school. Policies are very important too, so I have worked really closely with the Governors to make sure we have all the right policies in place ready for opening. I must admit though, I am trying not to spend too much time in my office this year as I think it is much more important to be out building relationships with people who we can work with in the future. Meetings with the team from BAM construction are usually particularly important. I have had to chose colours for everything, including the toilet doors (very important); I have chosen science desks, plug sockets, carpet colours, reception desk styles and locker designs. You would be surprised how long every single decision takes, as there is so much to think about and consider. Luckily, we have had huge support from BAM construction, who are building the Deanery. Richard, the project manager and Cat, the design manager have done a fantastic job, helping me make all the critical decisions, and Jack has been the favourite tour guide with local primary school groups! We have also had amazing help from the architects that have designed the school, and I cannot wait to show you the finishing touches they have planned. So, what are we doing now? We are working really hard with the Department for Education to get the final things in place ready for opening. Of course, we are making sure we have all the right policies and procedures in place; Sue, our construction consultant is helping with all the purchasing of equipment and furniture and is helping me choose our caterers (a very important job); Colin, our education consultant, is working hard to make sure lots of community groups come and use the wonderful facilities we have and is also helping me with staff recruitment. I am focusing on staff recruitment and also visiting lots more primary schools to talk to staff and students there, as we are already planning recruitment of new students for our second year of opening, 2020! So, in answer to the question that lots of people have asked me, “what does a Principal with no students do?”, I hope I have given you some idea. I must admit though, whilst this stage is very exciting and a huge privilege (to have the chance to choose and plan everything in detail), this Principal would much rather be a ‘Principal with students’ and so I am particularly excited to see that the countdown now seems to be racing down at an ever accelerating rate! Read More
Posted on: 16/07/2018

Wanted! Two Community member School governors!

The Deanery school opens to pupils in September 2019. It will be an 11-18 Church of England Academy with a strong Christian ethos. Sited in Wichelstowe (by Waitrose), the school will serve families from across Swindon. The Christian ethos will be central. In practice, this means that love for God and God’s love for all people, whether or not they have a religious faith commitment, will shape every part of the school’s life. We are committed to creating an environment where every child matters, can thrive and achieve their God-given potential. The Board of Governors is already working hard to ensure that the school is a great success. Being a Governor is a rewarding and effective way of making a voluntary contribution to your community and to the lives of local young people. Community Governors are appointed by the Governing Body to represent community interests. They live or work in the community served by the school. Have you got? An interest in our children’s future and a commitment to the vision of The Deanery School (see our website for more details: ) Time, energy and enthusiasm A desire to make a difference Readiness to accept responsibility An ability to work as a team An appetite to ask questions, listen and learn If the answer to these questions is yes, you could have what it takes to join one of the largest volunteer groups in the country, working with others to get the best for our children. If you are interested in becoming a community governor, please submit a written application of no more than 200 words, detailing why you want the position and what skills and experiences you have to help make The Deanery School a success to: Clerk to the Governors, deanery.clerk@bristoldiocese.org by Friday 27 July 2018. Interviews will be held w/c 3 September 2018. If you have any questions about the role, please email deanery.clerk@bristoldiocese.orgRead More
Posted on: 30/05/2018

State of the art new school for Swindon region reaches construction milestone

A 'last bolt' ceremony took placeat The Deanery CE Academy at Wichelstowe near Swindon, one of the UK's most ambitious and pioneering senior schools which is due to open in September 2019. The event was attended by the new Principal, Miss Linda Culling and Mr Andy Hamer, Capital Project Manager at the Government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), and representatives from BAM construction. The ceremony celebrated the building of the new school reaching the final stage of steelwork construction and marks another milestone in the development of this exciting project. "The opening of the Deanery CE Academy is especially exciting and significant for Swindon, as it offers the only dedicated Church of England secondary provision in the town and surrounding area," said Miss Culling. Miss Culling added: “The innovative and challenging curriculum will nurture confident, secure, imaginative and selfless students. At the same time, the school will become the heart of the new community of Wichelstowe with regular events and the hire of sports facilities." The school will feature national-standard sporting, creative arts and educational facilities and will open for 210 Year 7 girls and boys growing year by year to a school of more than 1,400 pupils from Year 7 to Year 13. There are plans to open an adjacent primary school in September 2020. This is a new educational approach for a school, which will be unique in the Swindon area. It will blend a rigorous academic programme with a focus on the whole child and outstanding opportunities in sports, leadership, and the creative and performing arts. Through these activities they will learn key life skills such as communication, exploration, discernment and perseverance. The Deanery CE Academy is the newest member of the Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust (DBAT). The Trust was established in June 2012, with the aim of supporting schools within the Bristol Diocese who wish to benefit from greater independence, operational innovation, consistent school improvement and substantial cost savings through economies of scale. During the past six years, the Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust (DBAT) has grown steadily to comprise eleven schools across the region, with more schools planning to join.Read More
Posted on: 22/09/2017

Bishop of Swindon blesses site of Swindon’s new Church of England Secondary Academy

The Rt Revd Dr Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon, has blessed the construction site of The Deanery Church of England Academy, on the Wichelstowe development. After the blessing, the Bishop cut turf from the site of the school’s auditorium using a silver spade. Sixty people attended the event including; John Swainston, CEO of the Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust, Richard Parker, Chair of the Trust’s Board of Directors and The Deanery’s Shadow Local Board of Governors, Cllr Fionuala Foley, Cabinet Member for Children’s Service and School Attainment, David Hayley Director for Children’s Services, Neil Dorrington Construction Director for the project from BAM Construction, a number of Local Ward Members and Stephen Harcourt, Chair of Wroughton Parish Council. They were joined by headteachers and pupils from East Wichel Primary School, South Marston CE Academy, St Francis CE Primary, Oliver Tompkins CE Junior School, Tadpole Farm CE Academy, King William Street CE Primary School and Bishopstone CE Primary. The pupils came mainly from the current Year 5, who will be some of the first pupils to attend the Academy when it opens in September 2019. Also attending were Elisabeth Gilpin, headteacher of the outstanding St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School in Bristol, a key partner in the development of the school, Revd Clive Deverell, the Swindon Area Dean and Linda Culling, The Deanery’s Principal Designate. The cutting of the turf symbolised not only the beginning of the construction of The Deanery but the real start of activity on the next phase of the Wichelstowe development. With work on road and canal infrastructure due to commence this autumn and construction of the Hall and Woodhouse pub/restaurant and the first houses scheduled for early in 2018, things are really beginning to move forward The £26.5 million Academy will be built by BAM construction. The Deanery will have enhanced sports and arts facilities as well as specialist suites for science, and design technology. In addition to meeting the need created by the new development, as the first Church of England Secondary School in Swindon, The Deanery will increase choice for parents across the Borough.Read More

15 Blog Posts found - Showing 10-15

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