Saturday, January 26, 2013
NEW high school principal Simon Fox is hoping to put an “entertaining” week of snow chaos behind him and get on with the business of running his school.
His aim is to build on the achievements of the previous head and make sure every one of the 920 pupils at Flegg High School, Martham, achieves education success.
This week the first-time head was relishing his “one in a million” role at the helm of one of the county’s best-performing high schools, and keen to spread the word about how well it was doing.
Since starting as principal earlier this month he has faced a testing week of snow dilemmas triggering a flurry of very public decisions about whether to open or not - the results of which were “open to discussion.”
“It was certainly entertaining and interesting,” he said. “But at the end of the day every decision you make is a big one because it has to do with education. Luckily the set-up here is very good.”
The 34-year-old said his aim was to garner more regional acclaim for the school, taken from an Ofsted rated “satisfactory” to “good with outstanding features” in three years by the previous head Russell Boulton, now - coincidentally - head at Wymondham where Dr Fox was vice principal.
Dr Fox, said: “It’s about finding the school that fits you and making sure that you fit the school. It has an excellent reputation. The students stand out and have an incredibly strong sense of leadership. They are very involved in the way the school moves forward and a school is about everyone in it.
“The other thing is that it has incredible staff. The students and the staff really sell the school well. The previous principal has moved the school on hugely. It has become a fantastic place to learn. Some schools go through ups and downs and cycles and the school is at the top of its cycle. The drive now is to build on that. A huge amount has been done and that has made my job easier.”
Nevertheless he has pledged to bring a “slightly different focus” making students aware of new job opportunities and how to work towards them.
“It’s a bit of a one in a million for me. Usually you walk into a school and get a feeling for the things that aren’t quite right but all of us being interviewed found it difficult to talk about things that needed to improve. If there is something that is really wrong you worry about where that came from. Flegg is in a really strong position. People can give you a whole long list of strengths but they really struggle to come up with weaknesses. One of the things that frustrates me is that people I spoke to really did not know much about the school. People regionally are not aware of its strengths. It is a fantastic place to work and learn.
“The challenge is to build on this fantastic practice and spread it around the region.”
Essex born Dr Fox, who lives with his wife near Acle, moved to Norfolk to study for a Phd in plant virology at the John Innes Centre. He still teaches science in order to maintain a connection with the classroom. Overall education should be “a broad and balanced” experience, he added.