I am pleased to accept the role of acting Headmaster and I look forward to working with all of you in the coming terms. During the summer, significant efforts were made to find the best approach for Headfort during this period of transition. I would like to take the opportunity to discuss some of the plans which will hopefully see the school prosper in the near future.
There have been many improvements recently, particularly to the fabric of the building, but as a long-standing member of staff and former pupil, I am satisfied that all the good things about the “old” Headfort are not disappearing. The staff, with the board’s support, will endeavour to make subtle improvements over time but the essence of Headfort will remain.
As acting Headmaster, my focus will be on all aspects of school life and to ensure that the needs of every pupil will be met. I will lead the academic staff and also be responsible for the creative and sporting pursuits of each pupil’s life. Obviously, I won’t do all of this on my own, I will rely on all the dedicated members of staff working throughout the school.
Headfort is growing and I welcome and encourage the support that Fiona Hesnan will offer me in my new role and see this as a positive opportunity to provide the best for all at Headfort. I am confident, based on my past experience, that we will have a strong working relationship. Any concerns about control and boundaries I feel are unwarranted; it has been outlined how all of this will work and which areas each of us will prioritise.
On the academic front, Mary Kelly and Tracey Maree have been appointed to new positions. They will assist me in ensuring that academic standards are maintained and that each pupil is getting the most from their time in the classroom. This structure supports me in the management of academic matters and affords me the time and the flexibility to solely focus on my priority – managing all aspects of school life. One of Headfort’s great strengths has always been the freedom given to members of staff to do a good job. This flexibility will not be lost but will be nurtured in a more organised fashion.
Staying with matters of the classroom, I would take the opportunity to explain how the junior forms (4th, 3rd and 2nd) are structured. Absolutely nothing is going to change. It has always been the tradition at Headfort that the junior forms see a little more of one teacher rather than the spread of teachers further up the school. What we’ve always tried to do is have Maths, English and probably one other subject taught by their form teacher (this would account for about one third of their classes) and they would travel around the school to have other subjects with a variety of teachers. We’ve done this for a long time and will continue to do it next year.
Moving from academic issues, a large part of my brief will be to look after the pastoral needs of all the pupils. This is something that every member of staff does innately and is a particular responsibility for matron’s department. I, along with Michael Bolton (Head of Boarding) and Fiona, will work very closely with the matrons on all aspects concerning the dorms and the health and wellbeing of the children. A happy, healthy child prospers in all areas of school life.
I look forward to the year ahead. It is an exciting time for Headfort and I am keen to build strong working relationships between the staff, board and parents. A large part of the refurbishment will be complete and lots of new children will be starting their Headfort careers. I hope what’s left of the holidays is nice and restful; lots of energy will be required for the term ahead.