Successful start to school year for new head

Dan Watts, new headteacher at the Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis

THE new headteacher at the Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis is coming to the end of a successful first half term.

Dan Watts has been quick to get stuck into school life since taking over as headteacher from Dr Richard Steward in September.

Highlights of his first half term have included joining pupils on their annual trip to Carey Camp, as well as successful educational visits and supporting the school’s sports teams at competitive events.

There is also lots to look forward to after refreshing over the half term break, such as musical performances and Christmas events, including the school’s annual Christmas carol service at St Michael’s Parish Church, and PTFA fundraisers including festive movie screenings.

Mr Watts has a 22-year career in teaching and this is his second headteacher post, having moved from an academy in Warwickshire. He is now living just across the East Devon border with his wife and two daughters, who are attending Woodroffe.

He has thanked the students, staff and parents for the warm welcome and message of support he has received, commenting: “The interest expressed in the direction for the school shows a community that both supports its local school and takes an interest in the education of its young people.”

Mr Watts said the students had embraced changes made under new leadership very quickly, adding: “With change comes a degree of anxiety and uncertainty, but we want to ensure stability whole also being mindful of future opportunities and continued improvements at Woodroffe.”

Maintaining high standards

Keen to uphold the school’s outstanding reputation, he added: “Woodroffe has seen a lot of success in the local area, which is of benefit to the community, but it’s also integral to the wider educational landscape and plays an important role in ensuring education moves in a positive direction. We want to do what’s best for our community, but also the wider educational community.

“Maintaining our high standards and the educational success, safeguarding and wellbeing of our students is of primary importance and our main focus.”

Commenting on the school’s curriculum, he added: “The curriculum at Woodroffe is broad, balanced and ambitious for our students. Besides promoting equality of access and experience, we are committed to ensuring all students excel whilst they are with us.

“The curriculum, in response to the characteristics of our intake, enables students to build knowledge, develop skills and apply their learning across many different contexts, all supported by a robust and consistent approach to assessment.

“Students study high quality, nationally recognised qualifications that ensure they are prepared for the next steps in their lives, whether that is further study at college or university, apprenticeships or work. However, our offer seeks to not only provide outstanding academic opportunities but to develop the whole child.

“Our curriculum is delivered by professionals with well-developed subject/disciplinary expertise. They use their deep pedagogical knowledge to ensure lessons are challenging, relevant and engaging and build in students the same passion for learning that they possess.

“Staff are committed to supporting students to develop the basics – reading, writing, oracy and numeracy, they always demand high standards and relentlessly promote the value of enquiry, challenge and application in lessons.

“Ultimately our students will leave us as resilient, lifelong learners able to cope with changing contexts and well prepared to move into further education, employment or training.

“The impact and influence of Woodroffe students can be tracked far and wide, extending beyond the locality and providing a positive influence across a range of disciplines.”

Presentation for local organisations

AS well as maintaining the school’s high education standards, Mr Watts is also keen to see Woodroffe become more integrated with the Lyme Regis community, and is inviting representatives from all local organisations to an open evening and presentation on future engagement with the local community on Friday, November 22.

The event will be held in the school hall from 6pm to 7pm and refreshments will be provided.

This is a free event but spaces are limited so local organisations interested in attending should reserve a place by November 7 by contact Racheal Rattenbury by calling 01297 446826 or email events@woodroffe.dorset.sch.uk

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