Exciting times ahead for Mangotsfield
Published on: 09 Oct 2015
MANGOTSFIELD School is embarking on an exciting future as an academy with a new head teacher.
Dave Spence has taken the helm at the school this term as it joins the Castle School Education Trust.
The change will mean closer working with Downend School, whose executive head William Roberts now also assumes that role at Mangotsfield.
But Mr Roberts, who was in charge at the school on Rodway Hill last term following the retirement of Richard Badley, and Mr Spence say the two secondaries will remain distinctive.
“There will still be a healthy rivalry, especially when we play each other at football,” said Mr Roberts.
“They are different schools with a different flavour and we won’t be moving students between backwards and forwards. My role as executive head will be to make sure we are sharing ideas and strengths.
“Some changes that have proved successful at Downend can be brought to Mangotsfield, while the experience that Mr Spence brings from his role as vice principal at Bristol Metropolitan Academy in Fishponds around raising achievement and tracking student progress will benefit both Mangotsfield and Downend Schools.”
Mr Roberts also chairs the South Gloucestershire Education Partnership, which aims to improve standards across the area by ensuring that the various multi-academy trusts and local authority schools continue to work together for the benefit of young people and their families.
“There is a good choice of schools in the area and we want parents to have a choice,” he said.
“We were very pleased to have a huge turnout of families at both Downend and Mangotsfield Open Evenings in September.
“Many students have achieved great success at Mangotsfield, but we need to make sure that every child makes as much progress as they can and reaches their potential.”
The link through CSET, sharing back-office functions such as IT and HR, would save money that could be spent on the children, he added.
Mr Spence said he had been hugely impressed by the students, staff and parents during his first few weeks at Mangotsfield. His aim is to build confidence at the school, which has had two “requires improvement” judgements from Ofsted in recent years, and to restore its reputation.
“The appetite for change is there from staff and students. They have responded very positively to messages around aspiration and potential. The new leadership team has a more visible presence and there is a real buzz and energy around the school,” he said.
Communication at all levels, including with partner primary schools and with families, is a high priority for the new head teacher, who said he was thrilled to be joining a school with such a strong community ethos.
Mr Spence has worked in various schools around Bristol. His wife is also a teacher and they have three school-age daughters. His degree is in modern languages.
Introducing himself to parents in a newsletter, he said: “I am driven by the desire to improve children’s life chances and by the belief that the purpose of us as teachers and leaders is to instil the belief in all students, regardless of background, that anything is possible.
“I am confident that Mangotsfield can grow in stature and reputation over the years to come, becoming a truly exceptional local school as well as a top performing school nationally.”