New Cooks Spinney head on a mission to make school “Outstanding”

There’s no better inspiration to pushing a school forward than your own young daughter.

Stuart Pope is the new head of school at Cooks Spinney Primary School, in Cooks Spinney, Harlow, where his daughter Jessica is in Year 1.

He is on a mission, along with his partners at the Burnt Mill Academy Co-operative Trust, to turn Cooks Spinney into an outstanding school.

He said: “I want my daughter to have an outstanding primary education. There’s no better way of achieving that than making it happen myself.”

The school has seen lots of changes over recent years, successfully coming out of special measures in 2010, combining the infants and juniors into a primary in 2012 and then converting to an academy. In 2013, Ofsted recognised the positive journey and upgraded it to “requires improvement”.

Mr Pope, a former Burnt Mill Academy student, believes the foundations are now in place to achieve great things.

He said: “Becoming a part of the BMA Trust means we are able to pool all of our resources and talents and share one vision.

“There has already been an effect on behaviour management and teaching and learning continues to improve. As a leadership team, we have continued to monitor things and support people in improving parts of their practise. We are in a very good position as lots of aspects across the school are now consistent and we are giving as broad and balanced a curriculum as possible.”

The school joined the BMA Trust on December 1 and became a part of the family which includes Burnt Mill Academy, Roydon Primary School, Freshwaters Primary Academy and Little Parndon Primary School.

The links with the Ofsted-rated outstanding secondary school means the primaries are able to now offer lessons in music and sport with expert teachers, out of reach for most primary schools. Backroom support of finance and HR is now also available to the primaries from Burnt Mill.

Mr Pope said: “Leaders from all BMA Trust schools share a vision and steps to success. Our goal is to be outstanding and we will support each other to get there. Lots of our teachers have already been out on training courses to take our teaching from good to outstanding. If we are going to develop, we must use the skills of everyone here.

cookspope“We are very aware we can always do better. We want to be better this year than last, but next year we will want to be better still. It’s a really exciting time.”

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