Andy Hodgkinson, Sweyne Park School

I received the Secondary Headteacher of the Year Award in 2014. I was nominated by our Chair of Governors, and the assessors noted the work I had done to open the first Sixth Form for the town of Rayleigh, and the other work I had done behind the scenes, by way of schoolto-school support.

I believe the assessors were also impressed by the buy-in and loyalty, of both staff and pupils, to our School’s vision, when they visited.

Winning this Award has been a personal highlight of my career, but, in terms of the wider community, we have not looked to publicise this, but rather, it has been business as usual, as there is certainly no sense of complacency and there is still much work to do! However, the response from both staff and pupils, after the Awards Ceremony, was very positive, and I believe it was a powerful validation of all the work staff, pupils and governors do on a daily basis to make the School what it is today. This has further engendered a true sense of pride which in turn spurs everyone on to do even better.

Opening a new Sixth Form was a huge undertaking, and our first set of results needed to improve as we tried to be too inclusive, something, ironically, which is very much in keeping with our ethos. However, our second set of results were greatly improved and, in particular, with both years, we achieved excellent destinations, including our first Rayleigh pupil going to Cambridge to study Natural Sciences! We are especially proud that some of our Deaf pupils, were able to join the Sixth Form and from there progress to University.

In 2015, we were amongst the first group of schools to be awarded the DfE Regional Character Award, reflecting our strong emphasis on ethos and culture as a school. Most recently, in 2017 we formed a Multi-Academy Trust to support a local primary school which also has a unit for Deaf pupils. This is proving to be a very successful venture and an exciting step for both our schools going forward.

Andy Hodgkinson
Sweyne Park School
Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School, 2014