Gareth Roscoe reflects on his first 100 days in the job – and a few changes

The new headteacher of Park School in Barnstaple has gone ‘back to basics’ during his first 100 days in the job.

Gareth Roscoe marks his ‘century’ at the school on Wednesday (February 10) and has already introduced some ideas.

These include a new emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) in every lesson, while staff are also paying even greater attention to presentation and expectations of work.

In September he introduced a new, school-wide system to review and monitor student progress, then in January a new marking, assessment and feedback policy to help students spend more time reflecting on their work.

Mr Roscoe says he has been using his first 100 days in the job to speak to staff and students at Park as well as their families, because he did not want to make any hasty changes.

Strong tradition

He visited Park before applying for the job and said he was impressed by the welcome as well as the polite and courteous students.

“But I was also bowled over by the traditions of the school. It dates back over a century and those traditions seem to be rooted in the DNA of the place, in the bricks and mortar,” he said.

“People I met had strong allegiances to the school and, of course, my predecessor David Atton gave many years of service to Park.

“It is all about harnessing that history and tradition whilst looking to the future.”

He has a great deal invested in the school: One daughter is already a student and his younger daughter hopes to start in the new academic year. His wife, also a teacher, is covering maternity leave for two days a week.

Along with a rigorous academic approach, the Park curriculum will be changing to include an expansion of the performing arts with dance offered as a separate subject for the first time as opposed to part of the PE curriculum.

Road trip

Now Mr Roscoe is planning a road trip to meet other heads at local primary schools. Park has also linked up with the Jurassic Coast Teaching School Alliance based at Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis

“I want us to work in an open and cooperative way at The Park,” said Mr Roscoe.

“Staff and students at deserve the best and by linking with other schools we can deliver this. But I also want to work collectively with a range of other schools to provide the best educational opportunities for as many young people as possible.”