YATE’S newest head teacher is putting her sense of moral purpose into practice.
Kim Garland, who took over at Brimsham Green School this term, said she knows the job will be a challenging one but she is determined to improve pupils’ aspirations and give them the best possible start to adulthood.
“I know I am going to face challenges every day but I am really excited about it,” she said. “I have a sense of moral purpose about it and that is what drives you on.”
Ms Garland, 39, comes to Brimsham from Redland Green School in Bristol which she helped to establish in 2006 before becoming deputy head teacher from 2008.
She has worked in education since 1995 including as an advisor to the local authority in Berkshire and at a special educational needs school in Devon.
“Working with lots of different schools has impressed on me the local context of a school so that you can adapt and personalise what you do,” she said. “Brimsham has a genuine community feel at the school.
Students are incredibly supportive of each other and they know teachers are here to help.
“Already it is very inclusive, something that is very important to me, and as staff I think it is our duty to teach more than just subjects.
"We want students to leave school not just with qualifications but the skills to be successful and to be ready for whatever life throws at them. It is about that moral purpose.”
Ms Garland, who takes over from Alun Williams who left last summer, has spent the term getting to know the school, its staff, students and parents.
“Without exception they have been genuinely welcoming and it is great to feel part of a new team,” she said. “I want to raise the aspirations of students, that is definitely a priority.
"Many of our students should be considering university as a route through. It won’t be the right decision for all but we should enable them to be in a position where they can.
“I am aiming to exceed expectations and challenging them all the time.”
Ms Garland said she intended to ensure sixth form provision was an ‘attractive offer’ and equipped students for the next stage in life.
After GCSE results dipped last year, she said staff were feeling confident about this summer’s exams.
“The English department was incredibly disappointed by the results but they have responded in a very positive way,” she said. “I have looked at grades from December and we are on track to be as successful as 2011.”