Jeremy Hughes - Headteacher

Have you always worked in teaching/schools?

Yes, I trained at Redland Teacher training college, but I have also worked in hospitality and as ambulance crew.

Why did you go into teaching?

Growing up I wanted to either be an armoured Police Officer or a Teacher. In my teens I volunteered as a Cub Scout Leader and realised I really loved working with children.

What was your career path through teaching?

In the ‘old days’, the career path for teachers was limited – Teacher, TLR, Deputy and then Headship, which suited me but not everyone. Now there are more options for teachers to develop, with pay spines allowing staff to stay in classroom teaching and routes into SEN provision and pastoral care. I feel there is a much better range of opportunities for staff now.

Why did you choose Educate Together?

Before joining the Trust as a Head, I was working as a consultant with several different schools and Multi Academy Trusts. The ethos intrigued me – it is different and looks more at making a rounded child as opposed to a narrow view of progress.

Coming from a traditional school environment with uniforms and surnames, I wanted to see if the Educate Together approach was the ‘right’ way and if it worked. I was surprised at how quickly non-uniform and first names became normal; it only took a few days before I stopped giving it a second thought.

I was in a unique position, through my consultancy work, I worked with the Central Team and did stints of mentoring and support work across three of the Trusts schools, so I saw, first-hand how much staff within the Trust are committed to the values and ethos. As a Head, I genuinely enjoy working within a Trust where staff truly work with the children in mind: there is a strong focus on making each child a good citizen and sparking their interest in the world and enabling them to have an impact on the world and their communities.

“Educate Together Academy Trust is a forward-thinking trust full of people who care about their pupils and use the ethos and values to make a real impact on children.”

Jeremy Hughes, Headteacher

What is different about the role of a Headteacher in a new school?

There is often the perception that working in a new building with low pupil numbers will allow the Head to ‘ease’ into the job. In reality, there is little capacity and few people to delegate to, so you need to have a broad range of knowledge about things like SEN, English, Maths and admin and buildings. Expect a large variety of tasks until you have built your team – It can be tough.

However, this is a unique opportunity for a leader to shape the school and set the atmosphere within the ETAT ethos and principles, which is really exciting!

Being able to build and recruit your staf team is a privilege and you can recruit people who share and respect your values, planning which skills you need. That is a real benefit, as a Head.

The work environment is a pleasure, as spaces have been designed with modern education practice in mind. Each building is diferent, but they are all light, spacious and have excellent facilities which the school community and staf help to develop.

What excites you about the future?

Of course, I always look forward to travelling in my holidays, but also seeing the school, its pupils and staf change as it grows.

Any other thoughts?

ETAT is a forward-thinking trust full of people who care about their pupils and use the ethos and values to make a real impact on children.

For more information about the Swindon, Abbey Farm Educate Together School please contact us on 0117 379 0119 or info@abbeyfarmet.org.uk

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