As the new academic year has begun, I’m delighted to be enjoying my first as the principal of Melksham Oak Community School. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself to our school’s wonderful community.
Over the coming weeks, I will be writing a series of blog posts outlining my vision for the school and the path to making Melksham Oak the finest school in the area. But first, I would like to tell you a bit more about myself.
Before joining Melksham Oak, I was principal at John O'Gaunt School in Hungerford where I enjoyed four successful years in the role. In June of this year, the school was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted — the first time it had received such a positive rating for 20 years. I am confident that, through my experience, passion, and endeavour, I can replicate this success at Melksham Oak.
During my 21-year career, I have progressed through a variety of positions at many different types of school, including an ‘outstanding’ inner-city comprehensive school with 1,600 students. The experience of progressing from my early years as a history teacher to becoming a headteacher will be invaluable as I build upon the excellent teaching staff already at our school.
Outside of work, I am a family man. I have been married to the lovely Louise for 17 years, and we have two children together — Georgia (17), who is studying for her A-levels, and Isobel (12), who is currently in year 8. Together, we have lived in Salisbury for 10 years with our two cocker spaniels, Millie and Martha.
In my spare time, I love travelling with my family, and we enjoy skiing trips as often as possible. Both our daughters have skied since the age of 4, and Georgia now snowboards as well. I am also passionate about sport and cycle regularly. When it comes to viewing, I’ll watch almost anything, but I have a particular love of rugby and cricket.
Melksham Oak’s Vice Principals
At this time, I’d also like to introduce my two vice principals: Mel Pelling and Will Ruscoe.
Having started her working life in leisure management, Mel left her job to pursue a career in teaching. She quickly ascended through the ranks, excelling as an English teacher in South Gloucestershire and head of English faculty in Somerset before becoming an assistant headteacher in Gloucestershire and finally joining Melksham Oak as vice principal. Mel is passionate about helping students to achieve their very best and fulfil their potential.
Outside of school, Mel enjoys spending time with her family: her husband, John; daughter Maddy, aged 13; and son Tommy, aged 10. She also has a passion for the arts — theatre, reading, film, live concerts — as well as quizzing, walking, and Strictly Come Dancing.
Will began his career in education as a geography teacher at The Stonehenge School in Amesbury. During his time at the school, he became head of geography and progress leader for years 10 and 11. In 2010, Will moved to The John Bentley School in Calne, where he was head of year until being appointed assistant headteacher in 2013 and then joining Melksham Oak.
Outside of school, Will’s passions are sport and fitness. Although there’s not a sport he doesn’t enjoy, Will’s favourites are rugby, cricket, and football, and he is a season ticket holder for Bath Rugby. Will also enjoys keeping fit himself, and has taken on a variety of impressive physical challenges. He ran the London Marathon in 2014 and, in 2016, walked the 105km perimeter of the Isle of Wight in 24 hours. Two years later, Will walked the 100km Thames Pathway from Putney, London to Henley, again in 24 hours. When he’s not pushing himself to his physical limits, Will spends time with his wife, Ali, who is a PE teacher, and his three children, Sophie (10), Jonty (7), and Austin (6).
Look Out for Further Updates
As I previously mentioned, you can expect to see a series of blogs published on the school website over the coming weeks. Some of the topics will include:
- Implementing New Melksham Oak School Values
- Believing in Values-based Education
- Nurturing and Further Enhancing Our Staff
- Engaging the Community to Continue Our Progress
The publication of these blog posts is the beginning of our school’s increased focus on improving communication with our community. This will primarily be done through our school website and our social media channels. So, if you don’t already, please take this opportunity to follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.
As I begin my headship, I will also be doing a lot to learn more about Melksham Oak Community School, our students, their families, and the community so that I can steer the school in the right direction.
If you have any questions or queries, I would love to hear them, so please contact the school on 01225 792700.
I look forward to meeting you all.