THE acting head of Kennet School has sent out a strong message about the school’s future following Paul Dick’s retirement.
Deputy head Gemma Piper has taken the reins from Mr Dick and will serve as acting executive headteacher until the end of the school year.
Stepping into the role, Mrs Piper said she was excited and “honoured to have the backing of the staff and governors to take on the role in the interim”.
She said: “I have huge respect for the team around me, but I’m acutely aware of the challenges ahead of us and I’m going to impart everyone with the opportunity to excel for our pupils’ sake.”
Mrs Piper has worked with Mr Dick for the last three years, serving as one of the school’s three deputy heads and raising standards leader.
She won’t be fully out of the former headteacher’s shadow however, as Mr Dick will be working behind the scenes at Kennet and its sponsored school, Whitelands Park Primary.
Describing Mr Dick as “inspirational and tenacious”, Mrs Piper said that she and her predecessor were similar in many ways – having some differences, but working well as a team.
She said: “I’m looking forward to continuing working in the background a bit with him.
“I’m really keen to be able to give our school the confidence in our own ability.”
On her outlook for Kennet, she said: “For me, school is about leaving with the best life chances and that’s the challenge for Kennet School going forward.
“That’s the significant goal that I have and I will be driving incredibly hard to deliver that for all our community.”
Using the British Olympic motto of ‘better never stops’, Mrs Piper said that Kennet needed to maintain and even improve its high standards.
She said: “In the next two terms this school needs to go up and keep moving from strength to strength.”
The school has its sights on the national education award from the Schools, Students and Teachers Network.
“I’m pushing the team to secure that award, so there will be a big drive for that; and, of course, the most important thing is to provide amazing results in the summer,” Mrs Piper said.
While striving for greatness, Mrs Piper said she was aware of the challenges facing Kennet and education in general.
“There are many challenges for all schools, for which we are very well positioned to stand up tall,” she said.
“Kennet will be strong and will be the best school, there’s no two ways about that.
“That’s been the case with Mr Dick and for the next two terms that’s going to be the same with me, and that’s the message that’s going to staff, parents and pupils.”