New head’s confidence in school to regain reputation

FELIXSTOWE: New head Rob Cawley is absolutely confident that Orwell High School will turn the corner and see its exam results improve and its reputation in the community blossom.

He has taken over as executive head running both Felixstowe’s Deben and Orwell high schools and knows it will be a tough job but is determined to succeed for the benefit of all pupils at both schools.

While Deben, a “gaining ground” school, has improved enormously in the two years since he took over there, he now wants to bring Orwell “up a notch or two” in line – ready hopefully for when they officially join as an academy.

For Orwell it’s been a difficult year since the former head Peter Tomkins, corporate service director Jackie Spillane and IT manager Brian Wadsworth were suspended and an investigation launched into allegations about their behaviour.

“What has impressed me in my first few days at Orwell has been the tremendous hard work which is taking place in the school – amazing work being done by staff and students,” said Mr Cawley.

“It has been a difficult year but the school, under new head of school Pat Doyle, who has worked extremely hard, has carried on working and working hard and that’s a great testament to everyone involved.

“Now they just want to put what has happened behind them, focus on the future and have some good news for a change.

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“There is an incredible buzz about both schools – something positive and exciting is about to happen and people are excited about the future and what we need now is some certainty.”

Mr Cawley accepts that GCSE and A level results are the public face of a school and Orwell’s last year, particularly in core subjects English and Maths, put it among the worst-performing schools in the county.

“I think this year will be very different because such an enormous amount of work has gone on already and I think that effort will make a big difference, there is no doubt about it,” he said.

“It’s my job to make sure that continues into next year.

“We have some fantastic staff with lots of energy and there are really brilliant opportunities for students – as there are at Deben, too – and we will be looking to improve these further and to take the results up a notch each year.”

There will be closer working between the two schools, and more staff and students crossing between the sites to take advantage of the benefits of the two campuses.

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