In the words of Martin Luther King, we ‘have a dream’!
It is our firm belief that every child and young person can achieve, no matter what their starting point. All the students who attend The Boulevard Academy, with help and support, can aspire to gain the qualifications and life skills they need to achieve their aspirations and ambitions. When they leave school, no pathway should be closed down because they were never given the chance to realise their dreams.
We recognise this is not always easily achieved. The Boulevard Academy serves a community with high levels of disadvantage but with most families who want the best for their children. We have high expectations for The Boulevard Academy and, since opening in September 2013, have a strong track record of appointing and retaining outstanding staff who share our vision. We work with parents and carers who want only the best for their children and recognise what we are trying to achieve and how we are doing this.
We are inordinately proud that Ofsted also acknowledged the value and quality of our vision and what we are doing to achieve it when, in May 2015, at its first inspection, the academy was judged to be outstanding in every area.
After four years since opening, we are now entering the next stage of the academy’s development, confident we are building on the strongest foundations and remain true to our vision.
As a school education professional, it’s not often you get the chance to realise your vision for a new school. The is what The Boulevard Academy has been for me.
As a secondary school English and history teacher, a school senior leader, a local authority senior officer, director of education and children’s services, I have spent 35 years working in and with a wide range of schools both in the UK and in the Middle and Far East, mostly in disadvantaged areas. When I ‘retired’ in 2009, I decided to offer my services as a school governor – I am currently chair of two secondary schools and a National Leader of Governance. I also continued my professional involvement in education as an independent consultant, working with individual and groups of schools across the Yorkshire and Humber region and the North East.
In 2012, in a private capacity I was offered the chance to become the lead sponsor for one of the first free schools, that was to become The Boulevard Academy. I worked with Mike Hawkins and Joan Irving, as the original members, to set up the school and, crucially, appoint the right person who shared our vision to become our first principal. Since his appointment in December 2012, Andy Grace and I have worked together to realise our dream – and put it into practice.
The Academy opened in September 2013. In May 2015, at its first inspection, Ofsted judged the school to be outstanding in all areas. We are inordinately proud of this but, more to the point, we are proud and privileged to serve a vibrant local community. Increasingly, parents and students are putting their faith and confidence in the Academy and what we aspire to achieve – so much so that the academy is now significantly over-subscribed.
While Mike and Joan have moved on, I continue to chair the academy’s Executive Board and remain a trust member. Working now with Neil Tomlin and Steve Barker as members, with Andy, my colleague governors and all the staff, we continue to live the dream and bring it to life.
I started out in a small firm in Beverley straight after university , then moved and became on Office Manager in a York based practice, where I became qualified. After nearly 10 years of working in York, I came back to Beverley.
In 2008 I Joined Nick Auton at Finnies and became a shareholder and Director. In the middle of all this I got married and had 2 children.
My role has diversified from being a business start up specialist and has evolved in to looking after established firms and giving tax advice.
Also I am heavily involved in the community, I am a Treasurer for a local Disability Transport Charity called Motorvation. I give free advice to the Boulevard Academy in Hull and assist on the member board. And finally I have just taken on the Chairman's Role for the Elloughton Cum Brough Scouts.
I first became involved in the Boulevard Academy through a friend and client Carol White, her passion for the school caught my attention and I could not wait to get involved and help with such a unique and modern thinking school.
My original plans to become a journalist fell by the wayside when I tool a six-week temporary job in Housing Benefit for Coventry City Council when my daughter was a toddler. This began a thirty year career focussed on how people in housing need can be enabled to access good quality, affordable homes that meet their needs.
Somewhere along the way, I became interested in how all public services should (but frequently don't) work together, so although the same families need good housing, cheap and efficient transport, great education for their children and first class medical care, those public sector providers rarely, if ever, communicate with each other or consider how their work might help (or hinder) other services.
My interest in secondary education comes from a consideration of how the world outside the school gates impacts on students' learning, and how Boulevard can lead the way in working across the public sector in Hull to improve its pupils educational opportunities by involving other agencies to address some of the problems that might prevent some young people from meeting their potential.