New headteacher plans to build on success at St John Fisher Catholic High School in Harrogate

New headteacher at St John Fisher Catholic High School Rob Pritchard. (S)
New headteacher at St John Fisher Catholic High School Rob Pritchard. (S)
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St John Fisher Catholic High School will have more than the usual new arrivals next week, as the fresh-faced students will be joined by a newly-appointed headteacher.

Rob Pritchard, a former senior inspector with Ofsted and a headteacher at two other schools, will be joining the school with the new term.

Though he has already visited the school several times, he said he is looking forward to starting properly and continuing the school’s highly regarded track record.

“With the results it is getting it has a fantastic base of teaching and learning and the extra curriculum as well, and what we want to do is make sure the youngsters that go to the school get the education they deserve,” he said.

“The government has given us lots of changes to the curriculum at GCSE and A level, so implementing some of the reforms means there will be challenges for everybody, not just St John Fisher.

“But I value the things it already does in the arts and sport, it is about valuing that and rising to the challenges the government has given us.

“Mainly I am looking forward to working with the young people who have lots of potential and it is building on the success it has already got with the challenges we all face in education.”

Mr Pritchard read chemistry at the University of Sheffield, theology at the University of Wales, Lampeter, and carried out his post graduate studies at the University of Leeds.

During his time as a headteacher he worked at Holy Family Catholic High School in Carlton before moving on to St Mary’s Catholic High School, Menston near Leeds.

This experience, in addition to his time as an Ofsted inspector, will no doubt have an impact on his approach to the future of St John Fisher.

He said: “The base of the school’s success is high quality classroom practice, and what I want to do is build on that success.

“The experience I have with Ofsted and in previous headships will go towards that.

“When you get to the mid 80 per cent mark in English and maths it is challenging to continue that high quality performance, but I’m confident that we will be able to do it.”

Aside from taking the school forward in terms of results and good practice, continuing its already respected pedigree, Mr Pritchard will be focusing on the school atmosphere and environment as well.

This, he said, will be part of the wider team approach to the future of St John Fisher, and will be an early project.

“The obvious thing at St John Fisher is the infrastructure of the building, so I will be working with the diocese to see what we can do with the building,” he said.

“I have met with the senior leadership team and we are getting together to look at the priorities for next year to face the challenges all schools have, so it is hopefully going to be a team approach taking the school forward.”