New Norwich School head master backs more control for teachers

The new headmaster of a Norwich independent school says a move towards giving teachers control over their state-funded schools is 'a step in the right direction'.

The increasing number of academies and the opening of the country's first free schools this September – including one in the city – has seen headteachers, teachers and governors take over a range of responsibilities previously held by their local authorities.

It marks a move towards a management model more akin to independent schools and for Steffan Griffiths, who has just started his first term as headmaster at Norwich School, it is a positive development.

The former Eton College teacher said: 'The provision of autonomy to school leaders, free from political interference, for me, is a step in the right direction. I would definitely want schools to be led by the teachers who have experience of and expertise in dealing with young people.'

Mr Griffiths said it was up to the government to ensure other schools were not disadvantaged but said that was not a reason not to 'look for new schools that would look to aspire to excellence'.

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He said the recent batch of record results for the county's academies was a sign the new model – which allowed schools to cater for their particular pupils – could bring about positive changes.

'Teachers are a valuable resource and when you give them circumstances in which they can thrive, you can achieve startling results,' he said.

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Mr Griffiths joined Norwich School this summer from Magdalen College School in Oxford where his was deputy head. He said he was lucky to have taken over a school which was 'full of confidence and full of happiness' and was running well.

He acknowledged it was a tough time for independent schools – with some experiencing a dip in pupil numbers because of the recession – but was confident parents would continue to invest in good schools. The headmaster hopes to build on his school's successes and further strengthen its links with the community.

Mr Griffiths, who moved to Norfolk with his wife and young children on August 1, said: 'I'm very struck by how proud a county Norfolk is, how proud a city Norwich is and how proud a school Norwich School is. There is a cultural vibrancy about the city and I'm looking at exploring how the school can contribute to and benefit from that.'

One of the headmaster's first tasks at the Norwich Cathedral-based school, which will hold its open day on Saturday, is to shadow a pupil in each year to see what their day is like.

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