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Brandles School

Part of Larwood Academy Trust

HeadTeachers Blog

We are entering my final couple of weeks as Head at Brandles and there is absolutely no doubt that the past five years have been some of the most remarkable and rewarding of my career in education.

A couple of hundred young men – many of whom are now young adults – have passed through our doors in that time and are now making their way in the world.

It has been a privilege to get to know each one of them and their families.

I do believe that it is the right time for me to make a move, although it was not a decision I made lightly.

Head teachers may be described as control freaks – but age is one thing that I have no control over and if I am going to embark on a new journey in education, I need to be young enough to have the energy to throw my ‘everything’ into it.

I have experienced the full range of emotions, foremost among them sadness that I will be leaving this place, where I have worked with so many amazing people, both as colleagues and students.

Of course, I am excited about the future, as I know I can move on to the next chapter in my life secure in the knowledge that Brandles school is in the best place it has ever been, with great staff, amazing students, and extremely supportive parents.  I have also got to get out of the way of Mr Smith, so he can assume the leadership of Brandles and take it from strength to strength.  I know he will do a fantastic job and I wish him and his team every success.

Martin Bertulis who was the Challenge Partner Lead and an Ofsted Inspector for five years wrote the following about Brandles.

“Brandles is one of the most inspirational schools I have visited.”

And over the lockdown period, we received many messages of support from our parents; an example of one is shared below:

“To the most dedicated, approachable, inspirational and genuinely caring school staff that we’ve ever come across. We just wanted to say that you’re all doing such an AMAZING job and that goes to all of you from Leadership to teaching staff, pastoral team and admin you all go above and beyond as always. You’ve made such a huge positive difference to our boy and on our family life, S is a different child to when he first arrived at your gates three years ago. We’ve never seen him so happy and settled. Please keep smiling, keep safe and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts and thank you for taking the time to phone and check we are doing okay, it means such a lot. We know we always have your support.”

Those two quotes are just a couple of examples of a legacy of which the whole school community should be extremely proud.

I would like to thank all the teaching and support staff, Sean Trimble as CEO of the Trust, and the Trustees for their time, emotional investment, and hard work; everything achieved at Brandles is a team effort.

With regards to the young men of Brandles, I will miss the daily interaction.  We have cultivated an ethos where the individual is encouraged to be just that, an individual.  One size fits all is definitely not our approach at Brandles.

All the students at Brandles School give the place its distinct flavour, and while they have made their mark on us, I hope we have made a lasting impression on them.

Indeed, one of the real pleasures in this job is meeting ex-students who come back to tell us of their personal successes and how much they miss the school.

Goodbye and good luck to the Brandles team, students, and families.  I wish you all a fond farewell and every success in the future.