Making Best Better at RPA
At Richmond Park Academy we are constantly looking for ways of making what we do even better. As part of exciting new developments led by interim Headteacher, Tracey O'Brien, two of the Academy's Assistant Vice Principals, Jack Costello (recipient of a prestigious national teaching award) and James Cook ( Director of Humanities and one of our outstanding teachers) have been given additional responsibility - and Mark Hartley, Head of Barnes Primary School, has been invited to join the academy's leadership team. He will be with us for 2-3 days a week until the end of the summer term and his appointment will be funded by our partners, the Academies Enterprise Trust.
Mark's educational experience is manifold. As well as working widely in the primary sector, he has during his Headship at Barnes Primary - delivered professional development on the teaching of writing at secondary level to Christ's School, Holland Park, Richmond Park Academy and to the Central Foundation School in Hackney. He is an Ofsted inspector and has a diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties. His book 'The Art of Teaching Writing - a complete resource file for 7 to 12 year olds hailed in the Guardian by Professor Peter Mortimore as 'amazing - the fruit of so much thought and hard work' - was published by Routledge in 2013.
Tracey O'Brien is looking forward to collaborating with Mark. She says: 'This is a wonderful opportunity to further strengthen local links, to incorporate local expertise into our leadership team and to enable news of what we do here to be shared at first hand by a headteacher of an outstanding local primary, many of whose students are now being educated at RPA' . The senior leadership team is also keen to make maximum use of this injection of local talent. Jack Costello says: 'I have had the pleasure of working with Barnes Primary pupils as part of my year 7 transition programme 'Life in a day at RPA'. Exchanging good educational practices with this local Headteacher so that we can jointly raise standards to benefit all local children is, I know, a goal we share'.
When I spoke to Mark recently, he revealed that he was both excited and enthusiastic about the next couple of terms. 'I am looking forward to getting to know Richmond Park Academy better from the inside, to being part of Tracey's leadership team and to investigating how best I can contribute to raising standards. My prime motivation in taking on this assignment is not personal. I will not, for example, be applying for the Headship vacancy. First and foremost, I will use what skills I have to absorb the messages that the student progress data is revealing, to listen to colleagues and students and to use all that information to help improve teaching and learning across the board. I need people to see that I have something to offer. I don't know at this moment what form my contribution might take and it would be ill-judged to try to guess before I've got to know the school better and consulted with my new colleagues. Ask me again in a couple of weeks' time and I will be able to tell you. What I can tell you now is that RPA is an academy with significant potential and, during my 25 or so weeks there, I will focus - with Tracey and her leadership team - on building that potential'.