Profile of TCA's Associate Principal Richard Scott
Thomas Clarkson Academy’s newly appointed Associate Principal, Richard Scott, believes he and his staff have a ‘moral purpose’ to ensure that all of their students have the best learning, life chances and motivation possible. He has previously worked in urban schools facing challenging circumstances and has implemented strategies to make real and sustained changes to young people’s education and career expectations.
He is very clear that, as it is the only state school in Wisbech, Thomas Clarkson Academy should offer the same opportunities, support and motivation as any other school in the country, challenging outdated expectations and giving students the tools and impetus to progress to high education and rewarding careers.
Richard joined the school as a Vice Principal 18 months ago, at the same time as his long-time colleague, Anne Hill assumed her role as Principal. Now he is stepping up to the Associate Principal post while Anne is continuing to provide support and guidance as Executive Principal for the Brooke Weston Trust. The pair worked closely to bring about sustained change at their previous ‘challenging’ school in Northampton, moving it from ‘Requires Improvement’ to a ‘Good’ judgement at Ofsted. They complement each other’s working styles and share a vision to build on the positive changes already implemented at Thomas Clarkson Academy.
Richard, a history specialist, said: ‘I expect to see a great deal of continuity because the school is starting to show strengths and improvements but there is still work to do. Inevitably I may do things in a different way at times, but the important thing is taking Thomas Clarkson Academy from RI to Good and to establish and embed good practice. It is not about a quick fix but putting long term processes and systems in place.
‘Improving teaching and learning is our number one focus; by having the right teachers teaching the most appropriate groups, making sure the curriculum is targeted and delivering high quality education from the moment students arrive in Year 7.’
He joined the profession in 1997 rising rapidly to leadership positions and is realistic about the challenges and schedule for change facing Thomas Clarkson Academy: ‘What l enjoyed previously was the impact I was making in a very deprived area of Northampton. The context here is not the same so my job is to make sure that what we do matches the context of the school.
‘The thing that I am most proud of to date is that Thomas Clarkson Academy has been taken out of a category and is negotiating the first steps of ongoing improvement. You see greater positivity and community engagement and therefore better attitudes from students. The effect filters through to the strength of teachers applying for jobs, so we are at the start of a positive cycle of improvement.
‘I bring resilience and a moral purpose to the role. The schools that I have taught in and the career choices I have made have been about balancing injustice and ensuring that all students can have the same opportunity to succeed as every other child through high quality education. We can create a better, fairer society by giving students equal opportunities to fulfil their potential.’
Richard heads up a strong team of senior leaders at the Academy, a team which was praised by Ofsted following an inspection in November. Leadership was judged to be good, with inspectors noting that senior leaders ‘have used their experience of successful school improvement in other schools to provide a sharp focus on improving this school’. They also commented that ‘leaders are passionate about improving the life chances of pupils’.