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Teaching Awards 2012 winner - East

Vic Goddard
Passmores Academy

The Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School

Vic Goddard's nomination for his award is from a pupil who writes, "thank you for being the kindest headteacher with time for everybody and for not judging anyone for who they are and being able to juggle the new school and us".

Colleagues say that Mr Goddard does not know the meaning of the word "can't" and never ever gives up in his search for ways to ensure that every single young person in his care achieves their potential. Vic leads a dedicated and committed team of staff and its said "no-one leaves Passmores", staff stay at the school for many years, providing a stable and reliable education for local young people, where students and staff alike can really get to know each other and work together to achieve success for all.

Passmores has become the first school in Harlow to ever achieve Outstanding from Ofsted, in 2008. The report was a celebration of the way that Mr Goddard influenced staff, students, parents and governors to create an inclusive school which marries together an absolute commitment to high standards in the classroom with a ceaseless commitment to helping young people to navigate the often complex personal circumstances that they find themselves in.

One colleage said, "Mr Goddard is a warm and friendly person and has the most open door of any headteacher I have ever seen or experienced." The views and concerns of all staff are actively encouraged so that the entire team is fully involved in Vic's ambition - which is to make Passmores Academy as successful a school as we can possibly be. He is described as "a Head with a huge heart"

He has passionately led the commitment to "no permanent exclusions (PEs)" that has existed in Harlow since 2008. During this time the number of PEs issued by Harlow schools has fallen dramatically. The impact that this has had on the lives of thousands of young people is immense, and has had effects beyond Harlow as schools work collectively on this important project. Mr Goddard's influence goes beyond that of being simply a headteacher of one school. Through the Channel 4 documentary series "Educating Essex" which was filmed at Passmores in 2010-2011, Mr Goddard was able to rise to national status as an expert in inclusive schooling, inspirational headship and the relentless search for high standards and outcomes for young people.

Mr Goddard is described by colleagues as "an endlessly compassionate and tolerant man". He is a passionate advocate of the "No child left behind" policy introduced in the US in the 1990s - and his career is testament to this conviction.

Students share the staff's admiration of Vic telling Teaching Awards judges, "we're his family", "he's all round lovely" "we enjoy coming to school," "He pushes us to do our best." They all have a "POP" (Proud of Passmores) card and told judges that he is 100% committed to ensuring students are proud of the school.

Governors told us that Vic has a passion for the school and its students and that young people feel safe at the school. He is very involved in all aspects of the school's life, including performing in productions and at karaoke evenings and refereeing basketball.

Passmore's superb new Academy buildings were largely planned by Vic and his staff and Vic drove forward the building programme. The space is inspirational for students and has a huge impact on well-being and sense of school community.

The school's results have risen significantly during the time of Vic's headship at Passmores. 5A*-C have risen from 67% in 2006 to 84% in 2011, & 5A*-C including English & maths have increased from 35% to 50% during the same period.

Vic clearly sets staff stringent targets but he does this by setting a climate for success and encouraging high expectations. He is a superb team leader and all staff members contribute fully to the success of the school.

Much has already been said above about Vic's management skills, colleagues say. "He treats us all as family, and his caring approach is allied to a strong strategic vision." "He's very real, not afraid to show his emotions." "You want to work with him, to be alongside him." And parents agree, one parent said, "He's a great leader. I'm so proud of him and what he's given my children."

In the words of Stephen Drew's endorsement: "Staff are made to feel that regardless of their position in the organisation they have the right to be the leader at some point and make decisions that will influence the course and progress of the school. Staff are not constrained by hierarchies from speaking their mind and engaging with the process of leadership and management."

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  • Very very well done

    I met you at the NCSL conference and really loved the keynote speech that you gave. It showed just what the TV show did; you are a man that lives and breathes your job. If anyone wanted to see what moral purpose looks like then 5 minutes with you and they have seen it in abundance. Thank you for helping the profession stand up and be proud.

    Posted: July 15, 2012 at 21:06 PM | Author:Siobhan