WATCH: New principal on joining Great Academy Ashton

A secondary school in Ashton has brought in 2021 with a new principal at the helm.

David Waugh has taken on the role at Great Academy Ashton this month and says how excited he is to support the 1,280 young people in his care.

During his career, Mr Waugh has worked in various school leadership roles across the Midlands and North West of England. Alongside his commitment to education, he has chaired various national networks including the Association of School and College Leaders. 

He leaves a CEO and Headteacher post at The TRUE Learning Partnership & Poynton High School, in Stockport, to join Great Academy Ashton and is excited to bring his experiences of school transformation to be of great benefit to both the school and the surrounding community in Ashton.

Mr Waugh said: “We are working in very interesting times with so much continuous change to the education landscape. However, fundamentally, our jobs are to ensure every young person is inspired to achieve as best they can and are celebrated for that achievement. It takes great skill, resilience and horizon-scanning system leadership to ensure that we stay true to our core values and beliefs and not get moved off course. 

"I believe that Great Academy Ashton is a brilliant school and I will bring every aspect of my experience to bear in order to ensure that every student and every member of staff is the best they possibly can be. We will transform our young people to be the best possible version of themselves. Great Academy Ashton is a great school, filled with great staff and great inspirational students. It is a privilege to serve them and our community”. 

The academy on Broadoak Road was given a 'requires improvement' rating by Ofsted following its latest inspection in June 2019.

But the school’s leadership team, including governors and trustees, were said to be a strength of the school – firmly accounting and placing the best interests of students at the centre of all they do.

Mr Waugh (pictured), who is from Newcastle upon Tyne, hopes to build on some great work that is already underway at the school.

“At this moment in time we are fortunate enough to be able to establish a great range of resources to manage the learning of our students through this pandemic," he added.

"Staff have been excellent in adapting to this new normal by implementing some really strong adjustments; for example, 100-minute lessons, which were born out of the need to reduce student interaction and movement, leading to great depth and mastery of learning. 

“Teachers timetables are running as usual on Microsoft Teams and we have a range of evidence-based assessments for pupils who are working with this new multimedia approach." 

The academy, part of the Great Academies Education Trust, has been supported with further investment to ensure their pupils have access to high-quality remote education if they need it.

The school has already been provided with 130 additional laptops, a range of data devices and have launched a new EdTech Artificial Intelligent personalised learning software solution, which can be used to identify the main problems and obstacles students face while learning, helping to improve the efficiency of education. 

There are a further 450 laptops due to arrive this month, funded by the Trust and to further support all students access seamlessly learning that is being extensively provided. 

Reflecting on his values for this academic year, Mr Waugh said: "I see education as a triangle between our school, child and home, it's a partnership. One of the things that really does make Great Academy Ashton stand out is the genuine interest in the individual. Our emphasis is about the individual’s performance and everything we do is about making sure students reach the best of their abilities.

"Everybody works together with a shared sense of value. Our school can strengthen the beating heart of this community as we produce academically and vocationally qualified confident citizens." 

Watch the principal discuss his priorities for the coming months, past experience and how impressed he's been by staff and students at the school in the video at the top of the page. 

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