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On a pathway to excellence? Mona Adams talks to our new man at AET

posted 28 Feb 2017, 06:52 by Michele Colt   [ updated 17 Mar 2017, 02:34 by Phil Broughton ]
John King OBE is AET's new Regional Educational Adviser for East England and London. In other words, he is now our man at AET - and I can report
that he's no run-of-the-mill educationalist. His vast and varied background of educational involvement reveals a story of experience, of leadership, of commitment, of progress building and of forensic examination of the status quo.  

There are several chapters in John King's personal educational journey. For seventeen years he's been head of various secondary schools, presiding - in one of them - over 4 consecutive outstanding Ofsteds and lifting another out of difficulties to that top outstanding rating.  Among a list of high-profile jobs, he has acted as adviser to the Department for Education (DfE), was one of the original London Challenge consultants, was appointed Acting Head of Improvement in a borough in the capital, worked for the National College of School Leadership and was subsequently consultant to various county councils.   

He joined AET in October and began his involvement with us straight off the starting blocks, sharing and supporting  Paul Mundy-Castle's determination to imbue throughout RPA the reality that educational excellence is there for the taking. He is, and I quote 'delighted to be working at RPA which is a very exciting place'.  

But just what do AET and this new regional representative have to offer us?   Let's have a look, through John King's microscope, at some of the nitty gritty bits of this partnership and assess their potency. 

Fact: because we are part of the AET family of schools, visits to outstanding campuses - both primary and secondary  -  can be easily arranged and best practice shared. Fact: AET is on hand to broker school- to- school support at local and regional levels.  
Fact: RPA has recently adopted the AET maths curriculum and leading practitioners from the partnership's central team have joined forces with teachers in our English, science and maths departments, where they are working in tandem to maintain teaching and learning at the highest level.   
Fact: John King and Paul Mundy-Castle meet once a fortnight to review the school development plan, oversee regular inspections of teaching and learning targets, attainment outcomes, attendance data and student behaviour.  
Fact: AET also provides backroom support too  - in areas like finance, HR, site management, governor best practice, et al.  

Although John King has been with us for only a few months, I was curious to know if he had formed any impressions of RPA.  He evidently had. 'Let me tell you about the students first.They are the most important.They are well behaved, eager to learn, welcoming, open and confident. Our job as partners is to use our expertise to discover, register and build on their individual talents by providing a stimulating, exciting and differentiated curriculum with challenging but realistic targets tailored to individual needs. And the teachers?  I firmly believe that every teacher has the right to be outstanding and one of our joint partnership goals is to ensure that more of the academy's potentially outstanding teachers get to that level ASAP. The governors are ambitious for the school and are both determined and committed to seeing it reach its potential.   I would also like to register that the new Principal is a really good appointment.  He is an inspired, challenging, focused and determined leader who has already made changes which are producing results.

You ask if outstanding is within the academy's reach. With the quality of students here, we can be outstanding in the near future. I won't give a date, but definitely, without doubt, in the near future'.   

I had one last question for JK.  In three words, how would he describe RPA? There followed a long thoughtful pause. 'OK', he said,' I'll give you five. On a pathway to excellence'.  

I think we can definitely work with that ...