New principal keen to create school where children thrive

NEW BEGINNING Joy Waeland is the new principal of Ark Dickens Primary Academy
NEW BEGINNING Joy Waeland is the new principal of Ark Dickens Primary Academy

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A Portsmouth primary school’s new principal has said she will try to create ‘an environment where all children can thrive’.

Joy Waelend, who started at Ark Dickens Primary Academy last week, said she was looking forward to leading the school on its journey to excellence.

She said: ‘I want to create an environment where all children can thrive – not just academically, but personally, whether that be through art, history, sport or developing any other talent they may have.

‘I want to make sure that every child who leaves Ark Dickens does so ready for secondary school and, beyond that, university or a career of their choice.’

An experienced head with a track record of improving schools, Ms Waelend was most recently headteacher at St Jude’s, which went from a satisfactory Ofsted rating to good less than two years after she took up the role. In its report, Ofsted praised her leadership as ‘inspirational and far-sighted’.

Ms Waelend said her first steps will be developing teaching and leadership at the school: ‘Ark Dickens already has a number of great strengths, including a very good inclusion and special needs team and some outstanding senior leaders. In my previous headships, I’ve found that distributing leadership to teachers and giving them ownership over a specific area of the school has meant that they can really focus on developing and improving that area.

‘When combined with a real focus on teaching and learning, it is a very powerful method for improving a school quickly.’

Ark Dickens Primary Academy is a member of Ark, a network of high-performing schools in Portsmouth, Birmingham, Hastings and London, which also includes Ark Ayrton Primary Academy and Charter Academy.

Ms Waelend said: ‘I’ve worked closely with Ark Ayrton in the past, so I know the impact Ark has had on its schools. Ark’s vision
 – to provide every child with the tools they need – permeates everything they do.’

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