The new headteacher at Milford Haven School has returned to his Pembrokeshire roots ready to ensure school spirit goes further than just bricks and mortar.
Rod Francis said he wanted to see the continuing improvements at the school, which jumped up two grades in the school banding results released in December.
He said: “I want to build on the recent successes of the school and continue to get better and better. I am really impressed with what I have seen here so far, and the school’s good reputation is partly why I applied for the post.”
Mr Francis began his teaching career in Swansea, where he held teaching posts in four schools, including acting headteacher at Birchgrove School.
He later took over a failing inner city school, turning it into an improving school, before joining the Swansea advisory service which aimed to improve 15 schools in the area, and has since been recognised as one of the highest achieving authorities in Wales.
Mr Francis said: “The majority of the work was about raising aspirations and expectations, it wasn’t just about pupils turning up in the morning.”
He added: “It’s the students that are central to the school – they are our future, and it is up to us to make sure they get the best possible education from the best possible teachers. And from what I have seen, there are outstanding staff here at Milford Haven.
“With more than 180 pupils, our sixth form is growing and I am sure that young people in the area feel that this is a school that they can come to and be successful in. The head boy and head girl are a prime example of that, you only have to listen to them speaking to realise the quality of young people that we have in the area.”
Mr Francis said he was also keen to build more links with the local community.
He said: “We will look to build partnerships with community groups and local businesses, so that pupils can get experience and we can share what we do as well.”
He added: “I also want to encourage more recognition of pupils’ achievements, because I want everybody to recognise just how much our pupils can do, and make sure that their aspirations are as high as possible.”
Mr Francis, who grew up in Pembrokeshire, and was a pupil at Orielton School and Bush School, said: “I feel like I have come home – but crossed the bridge this time.
“I am looking forward to working in the community – it will be my life I think. The people I have met, and the pupils, really want me to be here, and it makes me want to do my job.”