Bright future for college
The new principal of a community school hopes to improve attainment and continue the progress made by his predecessor.
Mr Danny Smith (49) took over as the principal of Dukeries College, Ollerton, at the beginning of term, replacing Mr Lewis Walker who retired last year.
Mr Smith said: “It has been an interesting start. What attracted me to the Dukeries College was that it is unique.
“I do not know of any other school that has the same community ethos. It is a very special place.”
Mr Smith is originally from Birmingham. He studied biology at East Anglia University and said he fell into teaching almost by accident in 1979.
He said: “I was between jobs after initially working in conservation. There was a short-term vacancy teaching at a school in Shoreditch in London.
“I found that I liked it, and was committed to it, and two years later I trained fully as science teacher at the University of Nottingham.”
Mr Smith has taught at nine schools including two in central London, which he said was challenging.
He also taught at the Colonel Frank Seely School, Calverton, as well as schools in Derbyshire.
He was the head at the Wilsthorpe Business and Enterprise College, Long Eaton, for seven years, his first headship after qualifying in 1999.
Mr Smith said the 1,200-pupil Dukeries College was similar to his last school in that it was a genuine, suburban comprehensive school.
He said he wanted the best staff, teaching and the best facilities, particularly in light of the Building Schools for the Future scheme that will see millions of pounds being spent on the refurbishment, or complete rebuild of schools.
He will be seeking clarity on what exactly would be happening to the Dukeries College, one of eight north Nottinghamshire schools set for a revamp.
He said: “Whatever we get, we do not want to lose the wonderful facilities, but improve them, and maintain our excellent links with the community.”
He said attainment standards were improving and last year’s GCSE results were the school’s best ever.
He said the school’s contextual value added score for girls, which compares pupils’ exam results with those of other similar pupils who had similar prior attainment, was outstanding. He said the boys’ score was satisfactory but needed improvement.
He said he based the way he ran the school on the principles of respecting education, each other, different cultures, and the environment.
Mr Smith said: “My first impressions are very positive.
“The students are polite and pleasant, and the staff have tremendous energy, and work very hard. It was the right decision and is the right place for me.”
Mr Smith enjoys walking in the Peak District, and is a former captain of Nottingham Casuals rugby union team.
He lives in Nottingham with his wife, Mrs Marian Smith, who is studying for a PhD in young people’s perception of information at Loughborough University.
They have a son, Tom (21) studying biology at Birmingham University, and two daughters, Josie (18) and Katherine (12).
More by this authorPeter Harris