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Tyrone Myton, new Deputy Principal of Richmond Park Academy, talks to Governor Mona Adams

posted 11 Aug 2017, 05:47 by Web Admin   [ updated 16 Aug 2017, 03:36 ]
Tyrone Myton
From September, Richmond Park Academy will have a new Deputy Principal, yet another educationalist with an impressive track record. But when Tyrone Myton graduated from Roehampton University with a BSc Hons in sports science and business studies, he had his sights set on a future as a professional footballer and not the classroom. In promising style, he played for a clutch of top semi-professional teams, among them one of the oldest in the world, Corinthian Casuals. During his time with them, he achieved a sporting highlight and was selected to kick the round ball on the hallowed turf of the new Wembley in one of the stadium's first matches. When his budding sports future was fractured by injury, he started coaching youngsters, got badly bitten by the teaching bug and began a PGCE at St Mary's College, Twickenham.

Tyrone Myton's teaching skills were honed in a secondary school in Streatham where, for the next eight years, he rose through the ranks - from PE teacher to Head of Department to Director of Sport to Associate Assistant Head. He says: 'During my last year when I was in charge of whole school data and Year 11s, the school posted the best figures ever, 85% A*-C including English and maths plus a progress score in the top 10% of schools nationally. And, yes, I was proud of that result for the students and teachers, because I believe a teacher is someone who not only supports you but helps you to understand that the only person who can capture your potential is you. I've always worked with that in mind because it doesn't just apply to students, it applies to teachers too'.

His next job was as Assistant Head in charge of achievement in a west Wimbledon secondary. It was a school, Mr Myton observed, which had underperformed for a decade. '60% of the kids were not getting five A*-C GCSEs, including English and maths. Three weeks after I got there, Ofsted reported that the school 'requires improvement'. Post that report, a new leadership focus was established and we all knew we had a challenge on our hands, but challenge motivates. The mandate was to turn the place around, to use joined up thinking to make it a solidly good school'. Four years later, Mr Myton - now the single Deputy Head in a school of approximately 1000 students - reported marked progress. '65% of our students were now achieving five GCSEs at A*-C including English and maths and when Ofsted returned in 2015, the school was rated 'good'.

So what brought this successful deputy head to RPA? 'I had worked with your Principal, Paul Mundy-Castle, in west Wimbledon and when I saw his ad for the deputy headship here, I was very keen to be part of his team because we had already worked so successfully together. Impressions on my first visit to RPA? They say the first taste is with the eye. I thought the campus was amazing, the students friendly and polite, the staff dedicated and enthusiastic - and the atmosphere was very welcoming. It is so important for a school and its students to look good, important for them to take pride in their appearance, take pride in their uniform and demonstrate respect both for their school and for the local community. That's what local parents, visitors and stakeholders see first'.

Although he doesn't join us officially until September, Tyrone Myton has already been into RPA several times since his appointment. One of the things he has looked at is the school data, his speciality, so that he can begin to assess the story it is revealing 'Data doesn't provide answers,' he says, 'but it can highlight clearly what questions you need to be asking. What is striking me is that the potential I've already seen throughout the school and the overall data doesn’t, in some subject areas, link to the results one might expect'. Mr Myton thinks that the reason could simply lie within a daily routine of raised expectations and a reassessment, perhaps, of whole school culture. Whatever the reason, he is looking forward to meeting and working with his new colleagues to find that missing link. 'The school', he says, 'is going through a period of change and the excitement of the development potential here is what made me want this job. It is important to challenge at every level, regardless of student ability and background. We need to make sure that, as teachers, we are delivering at the very highest level and that the curriculum is tailored to need'.

The new Deputy Principal underlines how important it is for students to recognise and embrace at every level the challenges which educational success requires. He says 'With the right mix of hard work, ownership by students of personal success, top quality teaching, tutoring, intervention and extended learning, GCSE achievement is a given. When students progress to A-levels, to university degrees, to doctorates, they begin to realise just how important those GSCE exams - although not, in retrospect, as academically challenging - were to the underpinning of future success and how important it had been for them to get the best possible grades. I am convinced that, once we get the process right - and there is always something you can do to make things better - the outcomes will take care of themselves because outcomes are only the end game. The process is where success lies'.

To end this interview, I asked Mr Myton if he could describe RPA in three words. 'Yes', he said, without hesitation, 'a sleeping giant'.